An Introvert’s Guide to Groups (part 2 of 7)

By Tom Davidson

Help an introvert establish themselves as an active team member and help the team get off to the best possible start. Here’s what you can do: 

Famed psychologist Carl Jung defined an “extravert” as someone who gets energy by interacting with others and an “introvert” as an individual who gets energy by being alone. In many ways, this translates into the following behaviors that often characterize the way people behave in group situations.

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Unchecked, these personality differences can put introverts in bind, preventing them from making high-quality contributions, allowing one-sided debates, and exerting their own style of leadership. Use An Introvert’s Guide to Groups to avoid this problem. 

Principle #2 – An Introvert’s Guide to Groups 

Ensure that everyone is working toward the same goal. Greek designer Alec Issigonis once said that a camel was a horse designed by a committee. One reason for this is that people differ in their perspectives in surprising ways. So it’s always prudent to make sure that everyone understands their reason for being together in the same way. By taking initiative on this fact alone, an introvert can establish himself/herself as an active team member without waiting to get their thoughts entirely together, and the act will help the team get off to the best possible start. Here’s what you can do: 

1. Ask each person to write down what they think the purpose is for the meeting, project or task force. Don’t have them speak it out loud, because all you’ll hear from are the extraverts!

2. Take turns hearing from each person while you or someone else takes notes on a white board, noting the similarities and differences as you go around.

3. Facilitate a discussion where everyone agrees on one of the statements or blends them together into a new one that captures the main ideas from each.

4. Check for consensus because for introverts, silence is NOT consent.

5. Now that you know why you’re together, make sure you have the people you need at the meeting and if some don’t need to be there, let them do something they should be working on!

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