I sometimes say, “If it weren’t for the people, our projects would be easy.” Think about it for a moment. That’s truly the difficult portion. Things like programming are actually quite easy (said with the bias of someone who has written a lot of code), and even the more challenging bits, such as project management, are made challenging by the presence of the human beings more than anything else.
What are we to do? People are what we’re doing this all for so we can’t get rid of them. First of all, there’s an idea out there that most of us will prefer to work with people that are like us. I suspect that’s largely true. Additionally, in groups, it’s not uncommon to see the person leading the group managing based on how they would personally like to be managed, which doesn’t take into account the potential diversity of the group.
And so, I’d like to share with you this article I’d just run across on dealing with both extroverts and introverts: http://seattle.bizjournals.com/seattle/stories/2009/11/30/smallb2.html?surround=etf&ana=e_article
One thing this article talks about that I think needs a little background is the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). It’s a combination of four factors that describe the type of person you are, based on a complex assessment test (the Myers-Briggs type assessment). 10-15 years ago, it was kind of a management fad to assess people to determine the MBTI of the people in your company to figure out how best to work with each other. These tests have not gone away, but have fallen quite a bit in popularity. One complaint against them is that they are not good predictors of behavior. However, some proponents of the test claim it only illuminates a person’s tendencies and should be considered as a guideline to the person, not a set of rules. Many of today’s management strategies appear to recognize that people are individuals and do not behave in a linear fashion.
In any case, the article talks a bit about the differences in people, giving a rough list of tendencies for both extroverts and introverts. I immediately saw which list I belong to. Think of yourself, then of your coworkers/boss/employees. What types are they, do you think? Keep that question in your mind the next time you seem to be having communication problems with each other. The question of introversion versus extroversion is an oversimplification of the entire issue of personality, but it’s a start in understanding why people respond to each other the way that they do.