When we think of business managers, we think of people who have a seemingly inexhaustible amount of energy. We think of people who are outspoken and commanding.
It is true that most executives and employees expect managers to fit this description, and, historically, most probably have fallen more toward the extroverted side of the scale. But there’s nothing that says managers have to talk incessantly or be overly demonstrative, or arrogant, to be effective.
Here are some things to consider if you’re an extroverted manager:
Try to Take Notice How Different People React to You
Not everyone responds well to loud, emphatic communication styles, especially if they’re introverts. They can find it downright off-putting and overwhelming and may feel as if they’re being reprimanded even when they aren’t. They may also feel embarrassed if other people are able to hear their conversations with their boss.
If it looks like the person you’re talking to feels uncomfortable and is starting to retreat, consider taking the intensity down a notch. You may think you are being enthusiastic and want to get people excited about the task at hand, but that may backfire. Sometimes, being subtler and more private is appreciated and yields better results. Employees will also likely respect you more if you are aware enough and respectful enough to know when to keep it down.
Know When to Listen
No one has all the answers, and no one can do everything alone. That’s why you have coworkers. Use their knowledge and skills. Listen to what they have to say. Half of communicating is listening, and, unfortunately, many people forget that nowadays. Remember that it’s not necessary for everything that comes into your head to come out your mouth.
Your employees will respect you much more if you take a page out of the book of introverts and decide to sit back and listen every now and then. This is especially effective when employees are proactive and want to make things happen. Also, make sure everyone is given a chance to offer ideas if they want to. Don’t gloss over someone just because they might not be assertive enough to interrupt someone. You might be missing out on valuable insights/ideas if you routinely ignore the same people.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling energized from being around people, but part of being around people is knowing when to shift the spotlight and step into the background for awhile. Ask yourself: Is this a dialogue or a monologue?
Accommodate Different Personalities
If you have any control over the matter, it’s good to have a workspace that is suited to both extroverted and introverted types. Having meeting spaces where employees can communicate effectively and other spaces where they can work in quiet is important. If you know certain people do better meeting in smaller groups, try to make that possible for them. While it’s not reasonable to create an environment that’s perfect for everyone all the time, it usually doesn’t require too much effort to make employees feel more at ease.
Don’t Let Ego Get in the Way
It can be difficult to not lose sight of things when you are given the power to make important decisions. Do your best to remember that it’s about more than you. Other people are counting on you.
Avoid letting the position fuel your ego. Most people want to feel important, but if that’s the main thing driving you, you’ll make poor decisions and lose respect in the process. Take a step back and think things through.
While many business managers are extroverts, it can be extremely beneficial for them to adopt some more introverted characteristics. It’s important to realize that constantly talking can be counterproductive and alienate employees. Know when to tone it down. In addition, listening to others is critical and doesn’t require surrendering authority.