There will be many fewer meetings. Doesn’t that very idea immediately release weight and tension? even for extroverts? Where meetings are necessary, they would be short or shorter. Better yet, at least half of the needed meetings would be done via email, which may generate more thoughtful comments and ideas, as participants take the time to think, reflect, and validate before espousing. Downside? The extroverts might get stir-crazy needing more face time. So extroverts can go chat up others who are of similar temperament.
Can introverts become effective managers or CEOs? Of course! Jim Collins’ “level 5 leadership,” a kind of quiet leadership, is largely derived from the data of effective managers, a topic I examined more closely in an earlier entry. These people do not need the limelight; in fact, they prefer to work under the radar. They tend to be methodical, pursue data and facts, and aren’t likely to hover over others’ shoulders; after all, they themselves would like to be left alone to do their work.
I can keep on dreaming, but lacking the sci-fi writing background and skills, I should stop now. And admit that a whole world run by introverts would come to a screeching halt. For one thing, who’s going to run the stock market? After all, stock market is a major wheel in the running and growing of the economy. Yet, yet…having fewer talking heads in the media would lighten the airwaves, and the screaming “reality shows” might be replaced with teaching how to paint dreams, sewing ideas, or exploring caves!
The bottom line is: We need variety. But, I don’t feel as if there is a true embrace of “variety” in the workforce or in the society, not in the honest recognition of the different ways we think and operate.
I’ll bet that if you examine more closely and reflect a little deeper, you realize that many of the workplace performance evaluation criteria are for the most part in favor of extroverts’ predilections. For example, “The number of team projects you have participated in… and have driven to successful execution [the more conspicuously, the better],” or, “relevant professional conferences you organized or at which you have been invited to present.” This lopsided evaluation can be easily remedied. Just ask a few introverts to provide input, preferably via writing, rather than meetings. I am not saying that introverts would never be involved in meetings. I am, however, saying that by giving introverts a chance, they can bring fresh perspectives on different ways to look at the world and to operate at work. In describing “Level 5 leadership” Mr. Collins presents a textbook picture of introversion at work, but what is most surprising about his description is that he himself was so surprised by the discovery that introverts can be effective.
What are your suggestions for evaluating an introvert’s job performance?
Till next time,
Staying Sane and Charging Ahead.
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