A Psychologist, Leadership Coach & Psychometric Expert’s Advice for Introverted Managers

Posted 17 January 2020 by
Melissa Summer

A psychologist, a leadership coach and a psychometric expert walk into a conference room. 

“Do you recall Pavlov?” asks the psychologist. 

“I don’t remember what he looks like…” says the psychometric expert. 

“But the name rings a bell!” the leadership coach chimes in. 

Ice breakers like jokes or puns are an easy way to break group tension when you walk into a room and don’t care for small talk (a quality of many Introverts).

All joking aside, what other advice would these experts give to managers who prefer Introversion?

Tell Them You Heard Them

“Leaders who prefer introversion value time to reflect and consider their decisions before communicating or acting on them. 

If you are an introverted leader remember to let your colleagues (especially those preferring Extraversion) know verbally (or in writing) that you’ve heard their questions or ideas and you’d like to think it through before responding to them. 

This helps extraverted people know their introverted leader has heard them and is interested in their contributions. Without knowing any better, silence could be misinterpreted.”

— Martin Boult, Psychologist and Sr. Director of Professional Services at The Myers-Briggs Company in Melbourne, Australia

More from Dr. Boult: Improving Workplace Well-being Can Boost Productivity, Reduce Turnover

Tailor Your Communication

"As a leader, communication is important. But not everyone likes to be communicated to in the same way as you. Use a range of different communication formats when you put out an important message. 

People with a preference for Extraversion may enjoy the buzz of large group presentations and meetings, but people with a preference for Introversion like written communication or one to one meetings

In addition, if you are a leader with an Introverted preference, make sure you allocate some ‘me time’ to spend by yourself, recharging your batteries. Our research has shown this is critical to the well-being of those with Introverted preferences." 

— John Hackston, Psychometric Assessment Expert and Head of Thought Leadership at The Myers Briggs Company in Oxford, England

More from John Hackston: Video Games, Executives, Brainstorming & Introversion

Request Agendas Pre-meeting and Grant Others the Same Courtesy

"As an introverted manager, you probably appreciate more than extraverted leaders time to prepare for meetings by getting the agenda beforehand. Those preferring Extraversion are more comfortable thinking on the spot, so don’t be afraid to request information or agenda’s ahead of time if they aren’t sent. 

When holding team or individual meetings, do your introverted colleagues the same favor and send out a detailed agenda ahead of time with clear expectations for the team. 

This allows those with a preferring Introversion to prepare in advance. Those with a preference for Extraversion enjoy sharing their ideas in the moment, however introverted types do their best work coming to the meeting prepared to share their thoughts."

— Sherrie Haynie, Leadership Coach and Director of Professional Services, The Myers-Briggs Company in the Sunnyvale, California

More from Sherrie Haynie: Forbes Coaches Council articles