I’m an extrovert. If there was anything such as an extra-extrovert, that’s me. I have a few ideas about how to manage extroverts. Personally, I have my good points, and I know I have my challenges. I can be a handful. If you know me and think I’m overbearing, annoying, and outrageous, you should have seen me 30 years ago. The thing is, I’m not difficult to manage, I’m easily motivated, and I can accomplish a lot.
How to Manage Extroverts
I think out loud
I know, it’s annoying. My eldest daughter does the same. Her staff has learned to let her complete her thoughts and then ask if she’s processed the information. They ask her if she has come to a conclusion before they jump to conclusions. If you cut me off, I may not come to a logical conclusion, so let me talk it out or advise me to write it down.
I need people
I get energy from being around others. There’s nothing better than brainstorming or working together on a project. I love working with a team. Use me in face-to-face situations such as training seminars, trade shows, tours, and customer service.
I like to look at the big picture and not the details. I want to know the time, not how the clock was built. This can be a problem. Don’t ask me to lead detailed projects. I will become frustrated, and you won’t get the desired results. Use me for the big picture. I excel at seeing how parts fit together, whether it’s how teams work or a process flows.
My filter is broken
I speak my mind. No, that’s not quite right. I speak whatever enters my thoughts, and often, it’s off-topic and sometimes inappropriate. Please be patient with me because my ramblings often lead to insights. To get the most from me, share what you think and how you feel.
I’m in touch with my inner 13-year-old
I’m going to write a book someday titled, “I think I’m funny, and it gets me in trouble all the time.” Let me know when I’ve taken it too far. I have a kind heart, but sometimes the importance of being funny overrides it. I’m working on this.
I want recognition
That’s part of the trying to be funny thing. I want to be center stage because that’s a form of recognition. Remember I said I’m easy to manage? Praise me for the behaviors you want me to repeat. Ask me what motivates me, and then help me get there. Recognize my accomplishments in front of my peers, and I will jump through hoops for you.
How should you manage an extrovert?
Allow them to verbally process information, recognize them, and put them with people. Don’t put them in charge of detail work. Give them big picture tasks. Understand and help them with their tendency to impatience, lack of a filter, and need to be the LOP (life of the party). Does every extrovert fit all these bullet points? Nope, but keep your eyes open, and I’ll bet you’ll find many of these traits are shared by the extroverts on your team. However, the best practice for leading anyone is to learn what motivates them, which can be as simple as asking them. How to manage extroverts begins by asking them what motivates them. What motivates you?
This is an updated post. Two friends left these comments on the original.
I think the best way to manage extroverts is to show them this list and then have a conversation about which of this behaviors are innate, which are learned, and which are truly helpful.
For example: **I think out loud.** Are you able to think in your head, or do you prefer to think out loud? Do you need other people to hear you thinking out loud, or can close the door and talk to yourself?
Consider, **I’m impatient.** This is not a trait of an extroverted person, but rather a person who prefers to be in control. Are you *able* to be patient? Do you *understand* that work takes time? Have you considered how being impatient might be disrespectful to others?
We all behave in the ways we think we’re supposed to behave, unless we stop to think about it. The best way to manage anybody is to get into a conversation about their behaviors and ask what *they* think.
Oh man, I feel like I read my own biography just now! Everything you wrote here is true about me, and I’ve thought about this a lot — my need to be Mr. Funny Guy, even when it means I say things I shouldn’t say and possibly offend someone. First, I’m offended by people who are easily offended, so not really sure how to handle that one 😛 but mostly, it’s an ego thing — I want to be noticed, I want attention, and I need that ego fed. Which, as you said, makes me very easy to handle — it doesn’t take much to feed my ego! However, I’ve found that more than a few of my bosses have not only not been interested in feeding it (which, if roles were reversed, seems so easy to me), but seem to actively want to drive my ego down. Maybe that’s good for me as a person, but man, it can really piss me off. I feel like this comment is getting really deep lol but I’m posting it anyway! FEED THE EXTROVERTS EGOS, THEY’LL LOVE YOU FOR IT!
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