When Being Outgoing Can Do You In
As I have discussed previously, extroverts rule the roost in most work places. They earn more, get more promotions, and are generally more valued than introverts because of their willingness to lead and sometimes even their charisma. So, if you’re outgoing, you’ve got it made at work. Or so you might think.
But before we get going, let’s agree on our terms.
What is an extrovert?
It is generally agreed that the definition of an extrovert is related to the source of his/her energy. Introverts get their energy from being alone; extroverts from being with people.
|A person who is outgoing tends to:||Which confers advantages at work because:|
|Like talking||You’re more likely to keep everybody in the loop|
|Enjoy being at the center of attention||You’re more likely to take on leadership roles|
|Act first before thinking||You can be great in a crisis|
|Enjoy group work||You thrive in and are committed to team endeavors|
So, all to the good, right? And generally that is the case. However, extroversion can come with its own set of pitfalls.
When being outgoing can get you into trouble
Here’s an example of when excessive extroversion might be a problem. This is a team meeting where everyone is ostensibly equal.
|You:||Okay, guys, let’s get going. Lydia (everybody’s boss) wants this solved asap.||Who died and made you King? You’ve taken the lead without knowing if the group wants you to.|
|You:||As I see it, we just need to reorganize the shift schedule. If everybody rotated through the dog shifts—6 p.m.-to-closing and Sunday afternoon—the problem would go away.||You have immediately proposed a solution but didn’t ask if anyone else had an alternative.|
|Ken (co-worker):||But I can’t ever do the last shift on Sunday because I’ve got church commitments.||If one person is objecting, is it possible others feel the same? You didn’t check.|
|You:||Okay, so you can take one of the 6-to-closing shifts.|
|Ken:||But I have to get dinner for the kids Tuesdays and Thursdays because of my wife’s double shifts.|
|You:||All right, so we can schedule around them. Once we have the rotation set up, we’ll really be acting like a team because we’ll be sharing the dog stuff as well as the good.||You are driving your solution but dressing it up as ‘good team work.’ When you are a team of one.|
|[Silence from the rest of the group]|
|You:||Okay, well you know what they say—silence is consent. I’ll circulate a draft of the new schedule and you can get back to me if there are problems.||You have assumed consent without checking. Silence is not consent.|
Two weeks later
|Lydia (the boss):||Hey, YOU told me that you’d all agreed on the new schedule. How come Jonathan didn’t show Sunday and people are calling in sick for the 6:00 to closing shift?|
|You:||I dunno. We did agree. I’ll sort it out for you.||Actually, only you agreed and you may not be able to sort this out easily.|
So, with the best intentions in the world, you have let your extrovert tendencies get in the way. The next post will analyze how to get a better result.