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Michael Ullinger

Student - B.S - Computer Science, Baldwin-Wallace College

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How do you deal with introvert vs. extrovert tensions?

When I was president of my fraternity in college, I noticed a lot of tension between myself and some of the extroverts in leadership positions. They often felt that I wasn't moving fast enough, or that I couldn't make decisions effectively. As an introvert, how do you convey to people that you need time and space to make effective decisions? As an extrovert, how do you work with people that you feel aren't deciding things quickly enough? Are there other things that make you feel tension between introverts and extroverts?

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  • Wu Ted

    • +1
    Mar 18 2012: This conversation connects with my own recent life events, attending a business school as self discovered introverted leader.

    The rate decisions are made, in my own experience, has had no correlation with the distinction between introvert or extrovert; contending only with competency of the individual. The introverted face such bias of decision making 'lag' in lieu of their judgment making process, which makes incompetency all the more painstakingly obvious than with extroverts. The incompetent introvert when faced with a challenge beyond their scope reflexively pause, seeking the internal mechanisms which they find comfort in. On the flip side, the extrovert when faced with a challenge beyond their scope reflexively seek out others' opinions, which has the potential to be perceived as a form of decisiveness/competency amongst peers.

    "The most comfortable place for an introvert is not as a leader"
    Heather White
    This notion that extroverts are more 'comfortable' within a leadership role than an equally competent introvert highlights only the cultural bias to place extroverts in said roles. Familiarity begets comfort and only through repeated interactions is this achievable. So, here is the call to action to introverts everywhere; you have a voice - speak.

    The distinctions between these two leadership styles was just not made in my western studies on organizations. Until we recognize, highlight, and integrate these two polar styles synergistically - our organizations everywhere will be the poorer.

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