Episode 8

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Published on:

28th Jul 2022

Introvert vs Extrovert ... who leads best?

In this episode of How To Take The Lead we talk about what it’s like to be an introvert or an extrovert as a leader. We talk about the positives, the challenges and your role as a leader in supporting others to thrive.

In this episode we share our thoughts, experiences and learning, including:

·       06:29 – challenges for extroverts 

·       10:43 – how you get your energy as an extrovert

·       15:22 – confidence and introvertism

·       22:30 – who makes a better leader

·       39:56 – top takeaways for introverts and extroverts

As always we share our top takeaways including ensuring you understand your own behaviours, as well as creating space for your team by being aware of the impacts. We also ask you not to make assumptions about people because you have labelled them an introvert or extrovert.

In this episode we recommend the book Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain.

If you enjoyed this episode why not subscribe to the podcast. We would love it if you left us a rating or review and feel free to share the link to this episode with anyone else you think would find it interesting, using #HowToTakeTheLead

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You can find out more about Lee Griffith via www.sundayskies.com and about Carrie-Ann Wade at www.cats-pajamas.co.uk

Get social with us via:

Lee on LinkedInTwitter and Instagram.

Carrie-Ann on LinkedInTwitter and Instagram.

Transcript
Lee:

oh, bloody hell, just go and play your toys and let us get on with the work.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm getting real insight now into how introverts

Carrie-Ann:

think about us extroverts.

Lee:

Hello, welcome to another week in the British heat wave that is just

Lee:

slowly killing us at the minute.

Carrie-Ann:

Oh, sweltering, sweltering, I feel like I'm melting into my chair.

Carrie-Ann:

I've done it again.

Carrie-Ann:

Moaned about the weather.

Carrie-Ann:

It's too hot.

Carrie-Ann:

It's too cold.

Carrie-Ann:

It's definitely too hot right now.

Lee:

Yes, we are both, thankfully you can't see us, because we are

Lee:

just short of sitting here in our bra and pants talking to each.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Carrie-Ann:

It's like at school, when you forget your PE kit, you gotta

Carrie-Ann:

do it in your vest and pants.

Carrie-Ann:

You know, I wouldn't be adverse to a vest and pants day this week it is so hot.

Lee:

Anyway, today's episode, we are going to be talking about leading

Lee:

as an introvert or extrovert.

Lee:

So if you followed us in any way, shape or form, you can probably

Lee:

guess where we fall on the spectrum.

Lee:

I'm definitely team introvert, Carrie Ann's team extrovert.

Lee:

So the things that we do are different.

Lee:

We behave differently, what makes us tick is different.

Lee:

We have some similarities as well, but our inner workings

Lee:

can be quite different at times.

Lee:

And I suppose we wanted to explore what that might mean from a leadership

Lee:

perspective, whether you are introvert or extrovert, what awareness you might need,

Lee:

how you might have to adapt your approach.

Lee:

And what the advantages and disadvantages are of being that way.

Lee:

So Carrie Ann start us off as an extrovert.

Lee:

I know you don't often like to go first, but what does

Lee:

being an extrovert mean to you?

Carrie-Ann:

What does being an extrovert mean to me?

Carrie-Ann:

Well, I guess it's an interesting one because in having to reflect a bit more

Carrie-Ann:

knowing this conversation was coming up, I just started to think a lot about myself

Carrie-Ann:

and what, typically what an extrovert would be categorized as, or perceived

Carrie-Ann:

as which is usually on the plus side.

Carrie-Ann:

So I'm gonna go with some pluses, you know, very sociable, confident

Carrie-Ann:

person, outgoing, enthusiastic.

Carrie-Ann:

Probably someone who's willing to step up and take the lead,

Carrie-Ann:

cuz they feel quite comfortable and confident in that position.

Carrie-Ann:

Definitely from an extrovert's point of view, I would say wanting

Carrie-Ann:

to talk out problems talk things through to reach a solution for sure.

Carrie-Ann:

But I think in saying those things, there are obviously some downsides

Carrie-Ann:

because the flip side of all of those things is you can be perceived

Carrie-Ann:

as the negative versions of those.

Carrie-Ann:

So potentially loud overbearing someone who maybe doesn't let

Carrie-Ann:

other people have the space to share and contribute their ideas.

Carrie-Ann:

So that was where I started off in my thinking.

Carrie-Ann:

And then obviously that got me to think more about me and how I fit into all

Carrie-Ann:

of that and how that feels for me.

Carrie-Ann:

And I guess from the point of view of, of some of those traits I absolutely agree

Carrie-Ann:

with them and I see them in myself, but I think it's interesting because sometimes

Carrie-Ann:

circumstance, I think can dictate how much of my extroverted nature is in play.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think the ones for me, probably that I often can wrestle with

Carrie-Ann:

a bit is around the confidence.

Carrie-Ann:

So I'm sure there'd be people who would know me, who would just think I'm a

Carrie-Ann:

completely confident person, happy to put myself out there, but there are

Carrie-Ann:

lots of occasions in work life and normal life where actually, I don't

Carrie-Ann:

feel that confident, but maybe it is my extroverted nature, which helps me put

Carrie-Ann:

on a bit more of a facade and wing it a bit and to, and to get through that.

Carrie-Ann:

But some of those preconceptions of what being an extrovert really means

Carrie-Ann:

can sometimes I think have pitfalls for you because people make assumptions

Carrie-Ann:

that you are like that all the time.

Carrie-Ann:

And I'm sure when, when we talk about what it feels like to be an introvert,

Carrie-Ann:

there'll be times when you'll explain that you are not always coming across

Carrie-Ann:

as somebody who's introverted in nature.

Carrie-Ann:

So you hosting this podcast, for example, is probably something

Carrie-Ann:

that many people would think an introvert wouldn't do, but you are

Carrie-Ann:

there comfortably doing it, but that

Lee:

but not getting a word in edgeways.

Carrie-Ann:

I love it.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Carrie-Ann:

Not getting a word in with me being such an extrovert.

Carrie-Ann:

I love that is brilliant.

Carrie-Ann:

So that was where I started off thinking about what are some

Carrie-Ann:

of the traits of extroverts and how are extroverts perceived?

Lee:

What do you think are your most prominent extrovert traits?

Carrie-Ann:

Oh, my most prominent traits, I would definitely say, and I I'm saying

Carrie-Ann:

this from a leadership space, I guess.

Carrie-Ann:

Wanting to talk things out to reach a solution.

Carrie-Ann:

I definitely would say something that for me feels quite important and

Carrie-Ann:

something that I do quite a lot in my team with people that I work with.

Carrie-Ann:

I would definitely say that one's there.

Carrie-Ann:

I would definitely say in terms of prominent traits for me I feel like I

Carrie-Ann:

like to come up with ideas and then I get over excited and then I share them.

Carrie-Ann:

And then I it's almost like I can't stop sharing them and I have to consider

Carrie-Ann:

that other people need to have that space to come into that conversation.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think I can be quite domineering in conversations, but I also, now

Carrie-Ann:

at this age and at this point in my life, recognize that in myself.

Carrie-Ann:

So I can put things in place to balance that out.

Carrie-Ann:

I would definitely say that and being very sociable and along with that

Carrie-Ann:

comes some oversharing sometimes.

Carrie-Ann:

And I often introduce myself as an oversharer in various

Carrie-Ann:

different situations.

Lee:

You really, well, you, maybe you would wanna be a fly on the wall.

Lee:

The conversation we had Pre me hitting the record button today, but I can definitely

Lee:

confirm that Carrie-Ann is an oversharer.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, I'm so glad we weren't recording that one.

Carrie-Ann:

I think I was almost oversharing on my partner's behalf, in his

Carrie-Ann:

absence as well, which is terrible.

Carrie-Ann:

Isn't it?

Lee:

So do you think that domineering in conversations and oversharing,

Lee:

do you think they are perhaps your biggest challenges or the area that

Lee:

cause you the, the biggest challenge?

Carrie-Ann:

I guess for me in terms of the challenges and when I reflected on

Carrie-Ann:

this prior to having this conversation, I did think what are the things that I

Carrie-Ann:

have to not necessarily force myself to do, but I've had to learn to do over time

Carrie-Ann:

to maybe combat some of my extroverted characteristics and to enable others

Carrie-Ann:

to fully participate in conversations, projects and that kind of thing.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think for me, yeah, there is something about I get carried away by

Carrie-Ann:

an idea or the creativity of something.

Carrie-Ann:

And I have to remind myself to make space for other people to

Carrie-Ann:

be part of that conversation and to be able to have an opinion.

Carrie-Ann:

And I also have to remind myself that not everybody is going to react to things the

Carrie-Ann:

same way that I'm going to react to them.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think I probably react quite in the moment to something.

Carrie-Ann:

And when something happens, I almost immediately know that I've got a

Carrie-Ann:

response to that, and I'm very happy to share what that response is, but I have

Carrie-Ann:

to be very aware, particularly in a leadership context that other people

Carrie-Ann:

might need time and space to reflect on what's just happened before they can

Carrie-Ann:

formulate and articulate a response.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think over time, I've had to learn to adapt my style and my approach in

Carrie-Ann:

certain situations to be able to ensure that everybody who's part of that gets

Carrie-Ann:

the opportunity to contribute in the same way that I might be contributing myself.

Lee:

And how have you learned that, that you've even needed to do that?

Lee:

Is it through trial and error?

Lee:

Is it through specific feedback you've had.

Carrie-Ann:

I guess a bit of everything really.

Carrie-Ann:

I think definitely for me, my own personal observation.

Carrie-Ann:

So coming up through my career, I think observing.

Carrie-Ann:

There have been times where I've probably had the most air space in a room.

Carrie-Ann:

And then being able to reflect on that and thinking actually there's probably

Carrie-Ann:

people that have got even better ideas, suggestions, input than I perceive

Carrie-Ann:

myself to have and actually I've maybe not enabled them to contribute that.

Carrie-Ann:

So probably reflection and put a sense of bit feeling a bit guilty, probably

Carrie-Ann:

that actually I've taken up some space that someone else could take up.

Carrie-Ann:

Like I've had my time and it's time for someone else to have that space.

Carrie-Ann:

Really.

Carrie-Ann:

I think, through working with lots of different people in team settings as well,

Carrie-Ann:

I would say you observe how other people operate and if you are someone who's

Carrie-Ann:

willing to be adaptable and flexible, you therefore flex to enable others.

Carrie-Ann:

So I have worked in teams where my immediate leadership team for example,

Carrie-Ann:

has got somebody who's exactly like me in terms of extroverted nature.

Carrie-Ann:

And then the total opposite of me and actually having some Frank conversations

Carrie-Ann:

about, we are gonna need to deal with this situation slightly differently

Carrie-Ann:

to enable that person who is the opposite of us to go away, reflect,

Carrie-Ann:

absorb, and come back and take time.

Carrie-Ann:

So actually we need to like slow down the pace of something, for example, to enable

Carrie-Ann:

that person to be able to contribute.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think there's a lot about observing and perceiving how others are acting

Carrie-Ann:

and reacting to you in a space as well.

Carrie-Ann:

Interestingly, I'm trying to work out, I've probably subtly had feedback from

Carrie-Ann:

people that maybe I've subconsciously taken on board, but a few times when

Carrie-Ann:

I have said, I feel like I'm being too much in that space, it's been

Carrie-Ann:

quite interesting because I felt that and other people, unless they're

Carrie-Ann:

being super polite, of course have said, oh no, we haven't noticed that.

Carrie-Ann:

But I dunno whether that's because I'm so aware of it that I moderate it.

Lee:

So I've heard you mention a few times that you are someone

Lee:

who thrives around people.

Lee:

Do you prefer being around introverts that you can, I suppose, hold court

Lee:

and, and get all the attention or do you need energy from other extroverts?

Lee:

How does it work?

Carrie-Ann:

It is a weird one and I think that's a really

Carrie-Ann:

important point to make as well.

Carrie-Ann:

That sometimes when we talk about being extroverted, it isn't necessarily

Carrie-Ann:

all about your personality traits.

Carrie-Ann:

It is about where you get that energy from to enable you to feel

Carrie-Ann:

creative, motivated, productive.

Carrie-Ann:

And for me, I definitely feel at my most productive and motivated when

Carrie-Ann:

I am working with other people.

Carrie-Ann:

So you are right I do thrive on the energy of others.

Carrie-Ann:

That's not to say that I couldn't operate solo and in my own space and by myself,

Carrie-Ann:

but I do find that more of a challenge.

Carrie-Ann:

If I had to do that 24 7, I would find that really challenging for sure.

Carrie-Ann:

But for me, I guess I like a mix because I think if you are all extroverts

Carrie-Ann:

in a room, it's really hard work.

Carrie-Ann:

it's definitely feels like really hard work.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think it can sometimes create a sort of unhealthy competitive nature.

Carrie-Ann:

If you are just surrounded by people who are exactly like you from

Carrie-Ann:

that extroverted point of view.

Carrie-Ann:

So for me, I think it's a mix of the energies and actually sometimes I

Carrie-Ann:

would much prefer to be around more introverts than extroverts, not to

Carrie-Ann:

hold court and be center of attention, but actually to practice that point,

Carrie-Ann:

I was making about moderating myself a bit and sometimes like, yeah, I'm

Carrie-Ann:

operating like too high energy and I need to be grounded a bit more.

Carrie-Ann:

So actually being around more introverted people by nature can help with that.

Carrie-Ann:

So, I think, I wouldn't say I prefer extroverts to introverts in

Carrie-Ann:

terms of who I get my energy from.

Carrie-Ann:

It's definitely a mix of both.

Carrie-Ann:

And I would probably say in an ideal world, I wouldn't want to

Carrie-Ann:

be surrounded by all extroverts.

Carrie-Ann:

I think that would feel too challenging and exhausting.

Lee:

The one of the things I always reflect is obviously my introverted

Lee:

nature of working with you extroverted.

Lee:

But I do think that brings a really nice blend into the way that we work.

Lee:

So I am a planner and I like to get organized and stuff.

Lee:

You're a winger,, we've talked about this before.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, I, I love you so much for being a planner.

Carrie-Ann:

Lee, thank you for being a planner.

Lee:

So, but you can do all the talking for us when we are in social situations.

Lee:

So it's like, I think like ying to my ying to my yang or whatever

Lee:

the other way, yang to my ying.

Carrie-Ann:

I do think like if you get that right mix, it can be

Carrie-Ann:

a really powerful combination.

Carrie-Ann:

And that's not to say that a group of introverts working together are

Carrie-Ann:

not gonna also have like a level of success and extroverts the same.

Carrie-Ann:

But I do think it is about getting that balance.

Carrie-Ann:

And, and I think that's outside of even like, are you

Carrie-Ann:

an extrovert or an introvert?

Carrie-Ann:

Just like you say, what are you good at?

Carrie-Ann:

And some of that will potentially be dictated by that extrovert introvert

Carrie-Ann:

conversation, but some of it will be about skillset and experience.

Carrie-Ann:

So yeah, I like to think we are a perfect balance and blend Lee.

Carrie-Ann:

So lovely Lee, we have heard plenty from me, unsurprisingly about what it

Carrie-Ann:

feels like to be an extrovert by nature.

Carrie-Ann:

So I am of course, as well, the listeners be interested in as

Carrie-Ann:

a self-proclaimed introvert.

Carrie-Ann:

What makes you tick?

Carrie-Ann:

Come on, tell me what is it that makes you tick

Lee:

What makes me tick?

Lee:

I think for me, I like space to think and plan.

Lee:

I love a plan.

Lee:

I mean, I have plans for my plans.

Lee:

I'm one of those kind of people and listening and understanding I do not

Lee:

like to just talk for talking sake but I will tell you when you were talking

Lee:

about extrovertism and confidence, I think the reason the whole construct

Lee:

of introvert extrovert can be a bit of a touchy subject for some is around

Lee:

the word confidence that's associated.

Lee:

So whilst do you think, or you mentioned that extroverts can be seen as overly

Lee:

confident and that doesn't always mean I'm often tarnished with the, oh, well

Lee:

you're shy or unconfident because I'm quiet and I, I think they swap out the

Lee:

word introvert for unconfident or shy.

Lee:

And I think that could be really damaging to particularly people who

Lee:

are introverted because it, it does make them perhaps withdraw even more.

Lee:

If they are tarnished with those things.

Lee:

I'm far from an unconfident person.

Lee:

And in my career, I've always been very confident.

Lee:

I'm a confident in my opinions.

Lee:

I'm confident in my expertise in the work that I give.

Lee:

I just don't talk about it or shout about it, or don't feel like I

Lee:

need to pipe up every two seconds.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah,

Lee:

Sorry.

Lee:

soap box straight away.

Carrie-Ann:

soapbox moment, straight away, confident, straight on that soapbox.

Carrie-Ann:

And I, I think you are right that confidence piece is that tricky thing

Carrie-Ann:

that Muddy's the, water's a bit, when you talk about being an extrovert or an

Carrie-Ann:

introvert, because of those assumptions, that all introverts are not confident

Carrie-Ann:

and all extroverts are overly confident.

Carrie-Ann:

And actually it's definitely not that straightforward.

Carrie-Ann:

It's really good of you to highlight that point, I think

Carrie-Ann:

Lee, but what does make you tick?

Carrie-Ann:

Come on.

Carrie-Ann:

You've not answered the question.

Lee:

make me tick?

Lee:

Well, I think what makes me tick is potentially different

Lee:

to what makes me an introvert.

Lee:

So there's stuff that I enjoy, but I suppose the common thread of it

Lee:

is that I like to take my time.

Lee:

I like to perhaps do reflection on my own or work in smaller groups.

Lee:

I can get my energy sapped if I'm around too many people for too larger time.

Lee:

And I've had to learn over my career how to really balance that because I

Lee:

could burn out quite quickly trying to keep up with these blooming extrovert.

Carrie-Ann:

I know we're a pain aren't we.

Lee:

So yeah, I.

Lee:

Think for me, it's that thinking time and reflection piece.

Lee:

That's the, I think and listening, I would say the things that set us

Lee:

apart and certainly I think are some of the superpowers that I utilize.

Carrie-Ann:

Brilliant.

Carrie-Ann:

So, you said super power.

Carrie-Ann:

So would you consider those to be your sort of most prominent introverted traits?

Carrie-Ann:

If we're going to use labels, you're listening.

Carrie-Ann:

Your reflection, your ability to work, maybe a bit more solo and

Carrie-Ann:

not needing all of that external energy source all of the time.

Carrie-Ann:

So in terms of what you've talked about around what it's like to be an introvert,

Carrie-Ann:

what would you consider to be some of the most challenging introverted traits

Carrie-Ann:

that have cropped up for you in terms of your career and your leadership style?

Lee:

I think quietness has probably been a really big challenge for me in my career.

Lee:

Certainly getting told numerous times by people that I need to speak

Lee:

up more in meetings was something that frequently would come up in one

Lee:

to ones or in meetings itself, we haven't heard from you or whatever.

Lee:

So that sense of is my voice really being heard.

Lee:

And as I've said, I don't really talk for talking sake.

Lee:

I wasn't talking on every agenda point in a meeting for example, I

Lee:

only spoke up when I felt that I had a value to add, and it really

Lee:

stressed me out when I started to get feedback that I was perhaps too quiet.

Lee:

Because it was that thing of, oh, if, if they think this, are they

Lee:

all thinking that I'm a bit rubbish?

Lee:

Do they think I've not got anything of value to add?

Lee:

and so it was making me more self-conscious I think of it.

Lee:

But over time I learnt about being an introvert.

Lee:

It didn't have a label, really.

Lee:

When I was starting out in my career, it's only really something I've

Lee:

been aware of in maybe the last five to seven years, certainly in

Lee:

the bulk of my corporate career.

Lee:

I don't think people were really you'd use the extrovert phrase, but I don't

Lee:

think introverts were necessarily labeled.

Lee:

You were labeled shy, unconfident and all of those other things.

Lee:

So it was only as I started to learn, there are other people who

Lee:

were like this and I can better articulate who I am and what makes

Lee:

me tick that I realized it was okay.

Lee:

And I actually was still being really effective.

Lee:

And I suppose I just had a bit more of a screw you attitude.

Lee:

So I was like, right I'm not gonna stress about whether I talk up in this meeting

Lee:

or not because people were learning to listen to me when I did speak, because

Lee:

I was adding value at those points.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think it's really good to flip it into the positives as you

Carrie-Ann:

have there, cuz I think talking about introvert and extrovert, I think often.

Carrie-Ann:

It can be about the more negative side of things.

Carrie-Ann:

So those traits being, you know, you are shy, you're not confident

Carrie-Ann:

or you're overbearing, you're loud.

Carrie-Ann:

You're too confident.

Carrie-Ann:

And often I don't think people spend enough time looking at the positives

Carrie-Ann:

of having some of those traits.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think that reflection piece that you've done to be able to consider

Carrie-Ann:

that is a really important thing to do.

Carrie-Ann:

And I'm sure we'll touch on that a bit more as the episode continues, but I'm

Carrie-Ann:

gonna put you on the spot as you did with me to say, who do you prefer working

Carrie-Ann:

with the extroverts or introverts?

Lee:

It's almost like you, I, I like a bit of both, so I like being around extroverts

Lee:

because they take the pressure off of me.

Lee:

I don't, they can be really chatty and people orientated.

Lee:

They can keep a conversation going.

Lee:

I just need to be a participant rather than a driver of the conversation.

Lee:

I love the insights that an introvert or group of introverts

Lee:

can bring by observing by listening.

Lee:

But bloody hell it can be awkward if you are all in a group and no one really

Lee:

wants to go first and talk and that's that

Carrie-Ann:

Oh, that's like my idea of, I dunno if that's my idea

Carrie-Ann:

of hell or heaven, cause it I'd just be straight up like right.

Carrie-Ann:

I'll start then if nobody else wants to.

Lee:

so it is a mixture of both.

Lee:

I do think it can be overwhelming if you are surrounded by loads of

Lee:

extroverts because as you've said that competitiveness, as an introvert who's

Lee:

sitting, reflecting and watching you see that competitiveness play out and it can

Lee:

be like, oh, bloody hell, just go and play your toys and let us get on with the work.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm getting real insight now into how introverts

Carrie-Ann:

think about us extroverts.

Carrie-Ann:

This is very interesting.

Carrie-Ann:

This is very interesting.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm gonna take note of all of this for the next time we have a co-working session.

Carrie-Ann:

Lee, when you actually give me my toys to go off and play with.

Carrie-Ann:

Oh, I'll know what that's all about.

Lee:

I say that when there's a group of extroverts, I, I dunno,

Carrie-Ann:

many of us.

Lee:

What's the collective term for a group of extroverts,

Lee:

a cacophony of extrover

Carrie-Ann:

I love it.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Carrie-Ann:

Maybe that's that's one for the listeners pop in the chat any terms

Carrie-Ann:

you think would describe a group of introverts or a group of extroverts

Carrie-Ann:

based on your own experience?

Lee:

So we've talked about the pros and cons of an introvert and an extrovert,

Lee:

and we've outed some of our own characteristics in the conversation.

Lee:

Do you think there's one way or another, that is better for leading?

Carrie-Ann:

Do you know what I've been thinking about this, and it

Carrie-Ann:

was really interesting because when I was doing some research for this

Carrie-Ann:

episode, I was Googling extroverts.

Carrie-Ann:

And every time I Googled anything about extroverts, most of the searches

Carrie-Ann:

that came back were about introverts.

Carrie-Ann:

So I don't know if that is telling us something about, I know you mentioned

Carrie-Ann:

introversion seems to be something that we've talked about a lot more recently

Carrie-Ann:

that we didn't talk about maybe, you know, seven years ago or whatever.

Carrie-Ann:

So I thought that was quite interesting, cuz a lot of what came up was

Carrie-Ann:

around introverted leaders and how many great leaders are introverts.

Carrie-Ann:

So I just thought that was quite an interesting reflection, but for me I guess

Carrie-Ann:

I don't think there is one or the other way that's better, but I think if you are.

Carrie-Ann:

I dunno, severe is the wrong word to use I don't mean severe, but if

Carrie-Ann:

you are an extreme extrovert, yeah.

Carrie-Ann:

That's the word I wanted.

Carrie-Ann:

Extreme extrovert or an extreme introvert, I think it probably

Carrie-Ann:

will feel quite challenging to take on those leadership positions.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think you either need to not be that extreme, or you need to be really aware of

Carrie-Ann:

how you moderate some of your extroverted or introverted behaviors, depending

Carrie-Ann:

which one of those spectrums you are on

Carrie-Ann:

. So I think you need to really be able

Carrie-Ann:

to tone down something that might be really natural in your extroverted

Carrie-Ann:

nature to enable introverts to be able to participate more for example-

Carrie-Ann:

and I know we've talked about that already, but I would say the one thing

Carrie-Ann:

through my own career that I found quite interesting, and I've had a range

Carrie-Ann:

of leaders in my working life who've been either extroverts or introverts.

Carrie-Ann:

I do wonder if introverts are more aware of how much more effort

Carrie-Ann:

they need to make to manage some of their introverted traits.

Carrie-Ann:

And I don't want to stereotype extroverts by saying we're not aware

Carrie-Ann:

of it so we just carry on regardless.

Carrie-Ann:

But I have worked with a number of people in leadership positions who, when I've

Carrie-Ann:

complimented them on how well they've handled a situation; maybe it's like a

Carrie-Ann:

big public speaking thing or a group of really disgruntled people and I've gone,

Carrie-Ann:

oh God, you, you know, you were really brilliant I've counted more times when

Carrie-Ann:

one of those people has said to me, it's really nice of you to say that to me,

Carrie-Ann:

because I'm an introvert and I find that situation really hard and I've never had

Carrie-Ann:

somebody when I've given them feedback as a leader, say, thanks so much for

Carrie-Ann:

sharing that cause I'm an extrovert and I find being like that really difficult.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think that's just quite interesting that a lot of leaders that

Carrie-Ann:

I've worked with I probably worked with more introverted leaders, but

Carrie-Ann:

they have been more open about how challenging they find their leadership

Carrie-Ann:

position because they have to step outside of their natural way of being

Carrie-Ann:

in terms of their introverted nature.

Carrie-Ann:

Sorry.

Carrie-Ann:

That was a really long-winded and extroverted way of

Carrie-Ann:

giving you an answer lee.

Lee:

It's an interesting reflection because I think I would say that the

Lee:

majority of leaders I've worked under have also been Introverts and have

Lee:

had to actively work on certain areas.

Lee:

If I think about my peers in leadership teams, I always think

Lee:

the extroverts have been the ones that have caused the most challenge.

Lee:

And yeah, so I dunno whether that's an interesting dynamic that it

Lee:

creates in maybe a frustration that extroverts have of introverted leaders.

Lee:

For example,

Carrie-Ann:

Interesting.

Carrie-Ann:

Interesting.

Carrie-Ann:

So back to the original question, if one or the other makes a

Carrie-Ann:

better leader, I'm not sure.

Carrie-Ann:

I think you have to be a, a good balance.

Lee:

it goes back to that awareness, doesn't it?

Lee:

That awareness and, and working on it.

Lee:

And as we said, in previous episodes, any strength that you have becomes

Lee:

a weakness, if you overplay it.

Lee:

And I think absolutely is true in whether you are an introvert or extrovert.

Lee:

I think there's an assumption that extroverts are better as leaders

Lee:

possibly because they overtly have more charisma or they speak a bit more.

Lee:

So that visibility is a lot higher.

Lee:

But as you've said, some of the most successful leaders

Lee:

are, or were introverts.

Lee:

So maybe that's because they have, again, I'm not just stereotyping here there's

Lee:

evidence to say they tend to be more strategic in the way that they think, and

Lee:

that they're more likely to think through the risks rather than just take a risk.

Lee:

So maybe it's that tortoise and hare situation.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, absolutely.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think for me, it's also then about the leadership team you build up

Carrie-Ann:

around you to complement some of that.

Carrie-Ann:

And the point that we've both made that our own personal experiences have

Carrie-Ann:

been, we don't particularly like being solely in a team of introverts or

Carrie-Ann:

extroverts that we need that mix and that hopefully you can then learn to get

Carrie-Ann:

that balance right so that you actually have people that are working with you

Carrie-Ann:

that complement some of the areas that you maybe find more challenging or

Carrie-Ann:

that are more of an effort for you.

Carrie-Ann:

So you get that nice blend.

Carrie-Ann:

But I think it is about that insight to knowing, a) what makes you tick?

Carrie-Ann:

And as all the questions we've asked each other today, you probably do

Carrie-Ann:

need to ask those of yourselves to really get that insight into how

Carrie-Ann:

you can then work best as a leader, knowing what you know about yourself.

Lee:

Talking about the team dynamic that concept of the loudest person hogs the

Lee:

discussion or the person who has the most energy gets the attention, or has

Lee:

their point land more succinctly or, or with more emphasis, how can we as a

Lee:

leader, make sure we are utilizing all the superpowers of our teams and look,

Lee:

beyond that introvert extrovert veneer?

Carrie-Ann:

So I think as a leader, you have a responsibility to be a facilitator

Carrie-Ann:

mediator at all times, because it is your job to be creating the space, whatever

Carrie-Ann:

that might look like for everyone to be able to input and have a say and

Carrie-Ann:

share their thinking and their ideas.

Carrie-Ann:

So again, you have to have had that kind of observation of your own team about,

Carrie-Ann:

okay, how did these people flourish best in what environment and space can

Carrie-Ann:

I get the best out of these people?

Carrie-Ann:

And, I know the people who are in my own teams that are not gonna be the

Carrie-Ann:

people who are gonna chuck an idea in straight away into a conversation

Carrie-Ann:

they need time and space to go away.

Carrie-Ann:

But I also know that often their ideas are the ones that are really

Carrie-Ann:

brilliant because they've taken that time to, to reflect on it.

Carrie-Ann:

I think it is about that ability as a leader to make sure that you are

Carrie-Ann:

creating the time and the space for everybody, no matter where they are

Carrie-Ann:

on any of those spectrums to be able to contribute and that you know the

Carrie-Ann:

people that you work with well enough to understand how you might be able

Carrie-Ann:

to help them contribute in the way that feels most comfortable for them.

Lee:

I think there's some big organizational approaches as

Lee:

well, that need to be reviewed.

Lee:

Potentially.

Lee:

If you look at the direction of travel, say with open plan working, or if you

Lee:

look at the whole concept of let's work collaboratively or brainstorm

Lee:

as a group and all of that, that perhaps leans more into the power

Lee:

of an extrovert than an introvert.

Lee:

I think the pandemic has changed the way people are working and how organizations

Lee:

are run, but not necessarily thinking of it from a balanced viewpoint.

Lee:

I know in, I've talked about this book before and I love it quiet by

Lee:

Susan Cain and she's talking about the things that affect the workforce.

Lee:

I think she said something like up to half of your workforce could be introverted.

Lee:

And so how do you utilize them in the right way for the tasks perhaps

Lee:

that they've got as superpowers?

Lee:

How do you look at the environment that you're creating?

Lee:

She was citing evidence that said open plan offices have been found to

Lee:

reduce productivity, impair memory.

Lee:

It's been associated with higher turnover and sickness

Lee:

insecurity, lack of motivation.

Lee:

Workers are more likely to experience stress and that personal and confidential

Lee:

discussions that perhaps were being have previously are no longer happening in that

Lee:

open plan dynamic, which is actually, I suppose disabling connection in some ways.

Lee:

And I thought that was fascinating.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Carrie-Ann:

And it's really funny cuz I remember the first job I had where we went

Carrie-Ann:

to an open office environment from having your own fixed desk.

Carrie-Ann:

It was still kind of open plan, but it was more like hot desk in you

Carrie-Ann:

can sit anywhere, work with anyone.

Carrie-Ann:

You don't have your own desk.

Carrie-Ann:

This team's not got that office cordoned off, you can go in there.

Carrie-Ann:

And actually the impact it had on quite a lot of people, not having

Carrie-Ann:

their own personal space in the office that they could create and make

Carrie-Ann:

their own was actually more dramatic than I anticipated it would be.

Carrie-Ann:

And people like, where do I put my photos?

Carrie-Ann:

Where do I put my stuff that gives me a boost during the day, cause I've got

Carrie-Ann:

little postcards with sayings on that motivate me and all of that kind of stuff.

Carrie-Ann:

And I was quite surprised, but also myself thought, yeah, I'm not sure if

Carrie-Ann:

I'm keen on this just rock up anywhere, sit with anyone and I'm an extrovert.

Carrie-Ann:

So goodness knows what that might be like for people where almost the security and

Carrie-Ann:

safety of having their own personal space in the office that they've made their

Carrie-Ann:

own probably helps them in terms of how they conduct themselves in the workplace.

Lee:

Yeah, we had the same and I remember some people in management doing the

Lee:

whole, it's just things just go over it.

Lee:

And we'll give you a little locker that you can put your stuff in

Lee:

if that's the issue and failed to see why people fundamentally

Lee:

could have had a problem with it.

Lee:

But that goes back down to perhaps everyone looking through their own

Lee:

lens of what they think would be acceptable or not versus actually

Lee:

talking and engaging and understanding.

Lee:

And even how you talk and engage and understand might have to be adapted in

Lee:

different ways to get stuff out of people.

Lee:

I hate being put on the spot.

Lee:

You think of meetings, people trying to get me to come out of my shell, put you

Lee:

on the spot and now that's the worst.

Lee:

That's the worst situation for me.

Lee:

Yes, I can think on the spot, but I would feel like I've not given a

Lee:

valuable enough response than I would, if I had some time to go away

Lee:

and consider the question first.

Lee:

It's really interesting the direction of travel and who is

Lee:

driving that direction of travel, are they introverted extroverted?

Lee:

Is it really looking at what people truly want or understanding and

Lee:

digging down to the reasons behind why people perhaps are kicking back

Lee:

about some of that stuff as well?

Lee:

Very briefly, we've touched on this concept of having that awareness of

Lee:

yourself and knowing where perhaps you need to work on certain areas

Lee:

that aren't naturally given to you.

Lee:

How do you lean into those traits that aren't natural?

Lee:

So as an extrovert, how do you learn to be quiet or as an introvert,

Lee:

how do you make sure you are heard?

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, I guess there's some things around I'm sure a lot of people

Carrie-Ann:

have done things like Myers, Briggs, and other sorts of personality tests.

Carrie-Ann:

And I'm sure there'll be people rolling their eyes when we talk about them, but

Carrie-Ann:

actually doing something like that that really does highlight your personality

Carrie-Ann:

traits and where you sit on that spectrum of extrovert, introvert and various other

Carrie-Ann:

things I think is really helpful to help you gain that insight, because it probably

Carrie-Ann:

will highlight to you things that perhaps bubbling under the surface, but maybe

Carrie-Ann:

haven't, you haven't quite clicked in terms of that awareness of, so I think

Carrie-Ann:

stuff like that is, is really important to help you with that reflection piece.

Carrie-Ann:

And honestly, I have to say, I think it's practice practice, practice, practice.

Carrie-Ann:

It is about once you are aware of those things that might make you

Carrie-Ann:

a more effective leader because you're having to lean into some of

Carrie-Ann:

those traits that are less natural to you find ways to practice them.

Carrie-Ann:

And they don't have to be massive, big ways in rooms, full of people,

Carrie-Ann:

but there'll be opportunities for you to practice throughout your working

Carrie-Ann:

life taking some of that advice on.

Carrie-Ann:

So for me it would definitely be those two things, I

Carrie-Ann:

think, I dunno about you Lee?

Lee:

Well, you are right on the practice front, because if you

Lee:

look at someone like I know Steve jobs is a really famous introvert.

Lee:

Think of those amazing talks he used to give at the launch of apple upgrades

Lee:

or new developments and whatnot.

Lee:

Now we've never got the evidence.

Lee:

We've never seen what his first presentations would've looked

Lee:

like, you can bet he wasn't that finished article that we all

Lee:

saw when he became super famous.

Lee:

He probably had to really work at that and hone his craft and get to that point.

Lee:

And often when we think about, oh, you know, I'm not great at

Lee:

presenting or I don't like standing up in front of people or whatever.

Lee:

We go to that end point of it being perfect and being in a room full of

Lee:

hundreds of people and never think of the journey that each of those people

Lee:

have had to go through on their own.

Carrie-Ann:

And I've heard you talk before as well about that practice,

Carrie-Ann:

like how you can put little steps in place to practice to get to that end

Carrie-Ann:

point of being in a room of a hundred people listening to your presentation.

Carrie-Ann:

So I do think practice practicing those skills and behaviors, I think

Carrie-Ann:

is a really important part of it.

Lee:

Mm, from an introverts perspective and certainly something that i've

Lee:

learnt in my career about this whole concept of speaking up in meetings.

Lee:

I knew I wasn't necessarily gonna speak up more.

Lee:

But the likelihood of me speaking up more increased, the more prepared

Lee:

I felt about the discussion.

Lee:

So for me, I put in ways of working that allowed me to have adequate prep

Lee:

time beforehand to read the papers, to think about the questions that

Lee:

were being asked of us in the paper to look at where I think I could

Lee:

have added that value and input.

Lee:

So I would go into a meeting being really prepared.

Lee:

So that would mean I knew where, or how I could contribute.

Lee:

Afterwards, I'd always do a reflection piece.

Lee:

Were there opportunities where I could have said more was I kicking myself

Lee:

that perhaps I didn't say something and someone else got in there with

Lee:

a point that I could have made.

Lee:

I'd ask other people what they thought, what their sense was of

Lee:

what I'd said had landed in the way that I'd intended it to land.

Lee:

And I used to do a lot of work with my allies beforehand, so I would, if

Lee:

there was something I knew I had to get across or a point that I really wanted

Lee:

to make sure I landed I'd do work to talk about it with people beforehand.

Lee:

I'd get them on board.

Lee:

I'd get where they might be in the conversation.

Lee:

Sometimes it might be about influencing them to back me up on a

Lee:

point or even make the point on my behalf, because if I thought they

Lee:

had a better chance, particularly if they were an extrovert, they had

Lee:

a better chance being listened to.

Lee:

So it was that whole thing of nurturing your allies and your

Lee:

network was a really important part.

Lee:

And I could comfortably do that because I love one to one discussions with people.

Carrie-Ann:

It is really interesting because think some of what you

Carrie-Ann:

are sharing around, how you prep for being an introvert in that

Carrie-Ann:

situation is genuinely really good preparation just for being a leader.

Carrie-Ann:

Because some of that stuff, I definitely do.

Carrie-Ann:

And not because I'm introverted, but because I think that the prepping

Carrie-Ann:

people and talking about certain topics before you get into the space where

Carrie-Ann:

it's in the meeting to be able to have those people on side with you.

Carrie-Ann:

I think that they're like really good skills to have anyway.

Carrie-Ann:

So for me, it's great, cuz I feel like win-win, if you're an introvert and

Carrie-Ann:

you're headed into that leadership space, do what you do because

Carrie-Ann:

that's like a double win for me.

Carrie-Ann:

And I've also had those moments where I've interestingly thought I am going to

Carrie-Ann:

be less vocal in this meeting on purpose, because I know this is a meeting where

Carrie-Ann:

maybe the topic or whatever is something that I'm really passionate about, which

Carrie-Ann:

means I'm gonna get overexcited and want to talk lots about it and I've purposely

Carrie-Ann:

thought, no, I'm gonna sit on my hands and not share as much as maybe I have

Carrie-Ann:

done before, but then sometimes kicked myself when someone shared an idea that's

Carrie-Ann:

the same as mine and been like, oh,

Carrie-Ann:

cause I wasn't.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Carrie-Ann:

I wasn't saying anything this week, someone else has come

Carrie-Ann:

up, but then you have to go, but its about the greater good.

Carrie-Ann:

So that's great that someone else had the opportunity to say that

Carrie-Ann:

and it wasn't me and that's fine.

Lee:

And we mentioned in a previous episode, you can't change your

Lee:

personality, so you're never gonna change the fact you're an extrovert.

Lee:

I'm hardly gonna change that I'm an introvert, but it's your behaviors

Lee:

that you can change and work on.

Lee:

And I do think that again, having a coach or even some training that you

Lee:

do, but anything that can help you with that reflection piece and naming,

Lee:

this is an area that I need to work on, and this is how I'm gonna work on it

Lee:

is the only way that you're gonna see positive action in the right direction.

Carrie-Ann:

absolutely.

Carrie-Ann:

I can't agree with you more.

Lee:

So we are at the end of the discussion, but we want to

Lee:

briefly wrap up with our, how to like we do in every episode.

Lee:

So how to balance the introvert extrovert in you?

Carrie-Ann:

I think do that understanding piece take some time

Carrie-Ann:

to understand where you are on your spectrum of being an extrovert or an

Carrie-Ann:

introvert, and probably which bits of that you find most challenging.

Carrie-Ann:

So you can identify those places where you might want to put some more work in.

Carrie-Ann:

And I guess for me, from the point of being an extroverted leader, there is just

Carrie-Ann:

something for all those other extroverted leaders out there about just always

Carrie-Ann:

being conscious about creating that space for everyone that's part of your team.

Carrie-Ann:

I think that's probably been my biggest learning.

Carrie-Ann:

And so I think you have a job as a facilitator to make sure you are,

Carrie-Ann:

and a leader, of course creating that space for people to be able to

Carrie-Ann:

contribute in ways that work for them.

Carrie-Ann:

Not for you.

Lee:

Yeah, mine would be don't assume even that knowing you are an extrovert

Lee:

or I'm an introvert, don't assume what that means about our characters.

Lee:

You could hate presenting.

Lee:

I could absolutely love it.

Lee:

I don't, but I could absolutely love it, but I might just need different adaptions

Lee:

to help me work around that fact.

Lee:

I think we, we shouldn't come from this point of labeling.

Lee:

You are an introvert.

Lee:

Therefore, this means that, and I need to treat you in a certain way.

Lee:

I think that's really important.

Lee:

My final how to, just buy the book, quiet, and read it.

Lee:

Whether you are an introvert, extrovert, something in between, there's so much

Lee:

in there that gets you thinking about yourself, but also about others.

Lee:

It helped me see other people in different lights, but also

Lee:

gave me a lot to reflect on.

Lee:

Just buy it.

Carrie-Ann:

Just buy it, it's on my reading list Lee.

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About the Podcast

How to Take the Lead
Unfiltered conversations for the modern leader
How to Take the Lead is a show exploring all things leadership.

Every week we'll be exploring a different part of life as a leader, questioning everything we've ever learnt and sharing a few of our own stories along the way.

If you want to learn how to do leadership your own way, join hosts Lee Griffith (from www.sundayskies.com) and Carrie-Ann Wade (from www.cats-pajamas.co.uk) as they debunk myths, tackle stereotypes and generally put the leadership world to rights.

New episodes are released every Thursday. To get involved, share your thoughts and stories or to ask questions visit www.howtotakethelead.com or DM us via instagram, LinkedIn or twitter.

About your hosts

Lee Griffith

Profile picture for Lee Griffith
Lee Griffith is a leadership strategist and coach who works with CEOs and senior leaders to maximise their impact. A former award-winning communications and engagement director with over 20 years of experience, Lee has supported everything from major incidents to reconfigurations, turnarounds and transformations. She now runs her own company, sunday skies, and speaks regularly about how leaders can build connection and effect change through great communication and engagement. Find out more via www.sundayskies.com.

Carrie-Ann Wade

Profile picture for Carrie-Ann Wade
Carrie-Ann Wade is a communications director in the NHS with over 20 years of communications and marketing experience. She is also founder of Cat’s Pajamas Communications which focuses on mentoring communications professionals to thrive and grow in their careers. She has been named one of F:entrepreneur's #ialso100 2020 top female entrepreneurs and business leaders, and Cat’s Pajamas has been recognised in Small Business Saturday's UK #SmallBiz100, as a business with impact.
Find out more via www.cats-pajamas.co.uk