Human Management: Leading Extroverts


Steve Jobs, Muhammad Ali, and Da Vinci were all larger-than-life personalities who left a lasting impact on the world. They are widely regarded as extroverts, characterized by their outgoing nature, love for socializing, and a natural inclination towards competitiveness and risk-taking. Managing the strengths and weaknesses of such individuals requires strong leadership and tactful handling.

In this article, we delve into the concept of extroversion and examine effective methods to manage and lead your extroverted team members.

Extroversion and Introversion: What’s the difference?

The terms “extroversion” and “introversion” were first popularized by noted psychiatrist Carl Jung in the early 20th century. These terms describe personality traits, but can also be understood in terms of how individuals derive energy from their surroundings.

For instance, introverts tend to feel energized when they spend time alone or in small groups, while extroverts thrive on socializing with others, especially in large groups. The work of Dr. Hans Eysenck sheds further light on the subject, illustrating that introverts have a high level of arousal and can easily get over-stimulated, while extroverts have a low level of arousal and seek external stimulation to stay alert and engaged.

Extroverts are often referred to as “people persons” as they thrive on social interactions, which leaves them feeling energized and enthusiastic. This natural propensity to connect with others makes them personable and enjoyable company.

Their comfort in social settings allows them to think quickly on their feet, making them successful public speakers, adept negotiators, and empathetic customer service representatives.

Extroverts are also inclined towards teamwork, enjoying the exchange of ideas and communication with others. They are more likely to be creative in a group setting, whereas introverts tend to be more creative when working alone or in small teams.

Furthermore, studies reveal that extroverts have a higher level of motivation and drive, particularly in competitive environments, making them ideal for target-driven roles such as sales.

In the workplace, extroverts encounter various obstacles, such as struggling to remain focused, particularly when working independently. Additionally, extroverts tend to be more prone to taking risks, which could lead to making unwise choices. Their enthusiasm and eagerness to commence a project may cause them to act impulsively without considering the potential consequences. Additionally, finding a healthy equilibrium between speaking and listening can be a challenge for some extroverts. Those who monopolize discussions or interrupt others may harm professional connections and miss valuable chances to learn and grow.

Human Management: Leading Extroverts

Maximize the potential of your extroverted team members using the following strategies:

Assign Group Work

Extroverts thrive in group settings, so take advantage of this by assigning them group projects whenever possible. Keep in mind that they often think out loud, so give them the freedom to express their ideas verbally during meetings.

However, be mindful of their dominance in discussions, as it may exclude other team members. Encourage active listening and remind them that others may need time to reflect.

Establish Clear Objectives and Manage Team Conflict

Extroverts perform better when they have clear goals and sufficient information. They struggle in groups with factions, according to research.

To maximize their potential, establish clear objectives and provide necessary support and resources. Use a team charter to define expectations and ensure everyone understands their roles.

Learn how to manage team conflict effectively and reach consensus as a team.

Work with Their Energy Levels

Extroverts typically feel drained when working alone, so alternate between individual and group work. This provides opportunities for them to recharge.

Consider their workspace preferences. Many extroverts prefer open and stimulating environments, while others work better in quieter spaces. Ask your extroverted team members about their preferences and accommodate accordingly.

Planning Support for Extroverted Team Members

Extroverted team members often prefer to jump right into projects, even in high-pressure situations. However, it’s important to ensure that they aren’t sacrificing proper planning and preparation.

Coach them on decision-making tools such as The Ladder of Inference and Six Thinking Hats, and ensure they have strong project management skills. Alternatively, connect them with those who possess these skills.

Avoid Multitasking

Extroverts may enjoy multitasking, but it often results in subpar work quality. Encourage them to focus on one task at a time and minimize distractions.

Motivate with Challenges and Recognition

Extroverts thrive on challenges and team competitions. Consider which upcoming projects could be turned into friendly competitions and reward your team members accordingly. Pay attention to how each individual likes to be recognized and rewarded.

Encourage Understanding Between Introverts and Extroverts

Introverts and extroverts work differently, which can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. Encourage tolerance and understanding of different working styles.

Explain to introverted team members that extroverts are enthusiastic about working with others and solving problems, not seeking attention. Similarly, make sure extroverted team members understand that introverts have valuable ideas, which they may prefer to share one-on-one or in writing.

By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each personality type, you can bridge the gap and foster a more human management style, a style that will nurture a truly thriving culture.