Friday, 15 February 2013

Introverts and Extroverts

As part of my personal development, I dip into the Company's database of e-books to broaden my own knowledge.  The first book that caught my eye today is Nancy Ancowitz's 'Self Promotion for Introverts: The quiet guide to getting ahead'.  In the introduction, she lists the difference between introverts and extroverts.

Looking at the list, I am definitely an introvert, which is borne out by my MBTI scores on the intraversion / extraversion scale.  I used to be even more introverted in uni but have since learnt to talk a little bit more.

Get energy from “down time”Get energy from people contact
Think before speaking or actingThink out loud
Listen moreTalk more
Speak more softlySpeak faster and louder
Are more inclined to make deep conversationAre more inclined to make chitchat
Prefer to speak with one or two people at a timePrefer to work the room
Wait to be approached in social situationsInitiate conversations in social situations
Are typically reservedAre typically active and expressive
Enjoy working alone or with one personEnjoy working in a group
Know a lot about a few topicsKnow a little about a lot of topics
Are reflective and appear more calmAre more energetic
Are more detail orientedPrefer faster, less complicated tasks
Need more personal spaceEnjoy more people contact—the more the merrier
Are more private and hesitant about self-disclosureAre more readily open
Have a few deep interestsHave many interests

Society seems to value extroverts more than introverts.  Hence I arm myself with the necessary tools to promote myself, and well, generally be a more pleasant person to be around :).  Susan Cain in her TED talk makes an interesting point that when introverts do get to leadership positions, followers intuitively sense that they are there because of their deep belief in the cause and not for themselves.  In fact, followers sense the introverted leader will much rather be home alone, or in this case 'office alone', with their own thoughts but are compelled to be leaders by the courage of their conviction.

That's true for me.  I prefer not to speak, but to listen attentively.... there was one work interaction which led to a deeper connection between me and my Indian teammate S.  J, my ex boss, usually starts our fortnightly work meeting with work or personal highlights and lowlights.  S shared that she had been in hospital for a week but she is ok now.  My antenna immediately went up, and I pinged her to ask how she is.  From her hestitant and slow responses on IM (she is normally an open and chatty person), I deduced that she had just suffered a miscarriage, then told her "You and husband must be very sad to lose baby".  S was initially taken aback.... she was silent for a long while, then said yes I m right, but how did I know.... we spoke for a while more and shared our traditional medicine (me: traditional chinese medicine, S: india ayurvedic medicine) remedies for women who miscarry.

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