I’m an introvert. Go ahead. Debate me on it. Most don’t believe me. But it’s true. When I was a kid, my mom used to make me call to order pizza because I was so terrified of the phone (for those of you who call me, you’ll understand I’m still terrified). I was not popular in high school because I was so painfully shy I couldn’t talk to people (though most just thought I was stuck-up). And then Gary Kisner, the general manager for the Kansas City Fleishman-Hillard office (where I worked after I graduated), provided me with some great life lessons…and worked with me daily to pull me out of my shell.
I tell you all of this not so you’ll walk away from reading this in disbelief, but because there is an important lesson in how all of us operate, and manage, on a day-to-day basis. Yes, I’m an introvert with super high social skills, but an introvert, none-the-less.
So what does that mean? It means that I can go and go and go, but when I’ve run out of adrenaline, I’ve run out and I have to go into my cave (as my good friend Justin Brackett calls it). Usually I can make it five days and then use Saturdays as my cave time so no one is affected. But sometimes my travel schedule doesn’t allow that and I have to use reserves to get through the work ahead. And, if that happens, my networks of people are affected. Most people assume I’m mad at them and, a lot of the time, some are really disappointed that I didn’t live up to the expectations I’ve set early on in our relationship.
Extroverts, by their nature, get their energy from having other people around. Introverts get their energy from cave time. So, because I have high social skills, most people assume I get my energy from having people around. Not true. It drains me…no matter how much I like my friends, colleagues, and family. It drives my husband (who is a crazy extrovert) insane.
But what does this mean for the people you work with? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How do you deal with the opposite personalities at work every day?