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WORKPLACE / DEC. 20, 2016
version 12, draft 12

How to Excel as an Introvert Working for an Extroverted Boss

extroverted boss talking to introverted employee
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If you’re an introvert (like almost 50% of the population) working for an extroverted boss, you have probably experienced some issues in the workplace. You may not even realise why some behaviours bother your boss. But,  your mood, behaviour, emotional responses and general perspective are vastly different to your extroverted boss, and you need to be able to deal with this effectively.

Don’t worry, though, some of the most successful collaborations in history have been between sociable charismatic individuals and calculating, logical people like Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, for example.

If you are wondering what the definition of an introvert is, you probably aren’t one but these are some of the main characteristics:

  • They prefer solitary opposed to social activities
  • They are ruminators instead of talkers; they prefer to process problems by themselves
  • Even in public they try to seclude themselves with sunglasses or headphones
  • Introverts are often asked for advice, due to their heightened observational and listening skills. Also, their advice is usually thoughtful and planned, not blurted out for the sake of giving advice

Take a look at the following strategies and ascertain how you can implement them into your own workplace.

See Also: How to Effectively Work for an Introverted Boss When You're an Extrovert

1. Expand Your Thinking

  • Moving outside your comfort zone can facilitate personal growth
  • Try to put yourself in situations that will enable this
  • Change your perspective

The first step to excelling as an introvert working for an extroverted boss is to expand your thinking. Often, we only see the world from our own perspective, and that can cause misunderstandings in the workplace. This is especially true when you have completely different personalities. You need to find a way to think like your boss and get inside his head if you want to understand why he behaves the way he does and reacts in certain ways to issues in the workplace.

2. Learn to Take More Risks for Greater Rewards

  • Reward is inherently connected to investment
  • Embrace creativity, try to curtail analytical over-thinking
  • Even effort will be appreciated and maybe even rewarded

In addition to moving outside your comfort zone, you can excel in this type of workplace by learning to appreciate your extroverted boss’s qualities. One of the characteristics your boss’s extroversion is that he has a tendency to take more risks than you as an introvert. Taking risks will be completely out of your comfort zone. However, when your extroverted boss sees that you are making an effort to be more of a risk taker that will improve your working relationship. You’ll learn and grow in the process and further develop how you work more symbiotically with your boss.

You can take more risks by cutting down on over-analyzing decisions you need to make each day at work. Embrace the freedom of becoming more impulsive with some of your choices. If your boss has tasked you with brainstorming ideas for a new marketing campaign for one of the company’s major clients, think outside the box. Don’t only think analytically, but focus on creativity and how you can use a unique marketing campaign that gets attention and makes people think. For example, don’t use the safe bet of that your company has always chosen. Make the bold choice when it comes to the new letterhead and website even when you think it may be too risky. Spice up your Twitter marketing campaign by tweeting edgy comments that your usually introverted self would never do, but would appeal to your boss’s more risky extroverted side.

3. Develop Your Social and Leadership Skills

  • Augmenting your introverted character with extroverted characteristics will help you become a leader
  • Within appropriate boundaries try to take the lead of a team or project
  • This can potentially set you up for a future promotion

Another strategy to implement into your daily workplace routine is to become more of a team leader in the office. As an extrovert, your boss generally tends to be more of a team leader than you as an introvert. Again, the primary emphasis is on learning to change your daily habits to be able to excel and work more productively with your boss.

You can make an effort to collaborate better with your colleagues through participation in team projects and become more proactive in your participation in the projects that you are tasked with. An extrovert can usually rally people with more excitement for their ideas than introverts can. Even though being a charismatic leader may seem like a foreign idea to you, if you take steps to develop your leadership abilities while working with colleagues on team projects, your extroverted boss will notice. When your boss notices that you are trying to develop as a leader, he will be more likely to consider you for future promotions in the department.

As an introvert, you become more energised during your alone time and enjoy taking your lunch and break times by yourself, rather than socialising with your colleagues. If you want to excel in your work as a team leader for an extroverted boss, consider developing your social skills. Your extroverted boss is more energised when in the company of others. As you step outside your comfort zone and make an effort to socialise more with your coworkers, your actions will be noticed and appreciated by your boss. He will see your efforts as a gesture that you want to continue to grow and develop as a team leader.

You should also work on developing your communication skills. Introverts are usually active listeners but need to improve their ability to speak up and share their ideas, opinions and feelings to be effective leaders. If you want to excel in your work, it will benefit you to become a better communicator and learn how to share your thoughts and opinions in an effective manner.

4. Improve Your Confidence

  • Work on increasing your confidence
  • Develop your skills if you feel under qualified
  • Ask for feedback and constructive criticism

Often, extroverts are more confident than introverts; you can observe this quality in your boss and learn from it to increase your own self-confidence. Developing your personal confidence to become more secure in your own skillset and abilities at your job is another way to excel when working for an extroverted boss. Becoming more proactive in seeking out new challenges and embracing the constructive criticism of your boss will help you to develop your confidence level. The more you develop your confidence, the more your boss will notice your desire to excel in your job.

5. Eliminate Some of Your Bad Work Habits

  • Modifying your behaviour can help avoid personality conflicts with your supervisor
  • Do not become overwhelmed when things aren’t completely structured
  • Adaptability is a useful extroverted characteristic to develop

As an introvert, you are a polar opposite of your extroverted boss. At times, your dissimilar personalities will probably clash due to your differing mindsets and behaviour patterns. Sometimes, your daily habits - which are not necessarily negative - can annoy your boss. Of course, you don’t want to ignore who you are and transform into an extrovert. That would be impossible because you can’t completely change your personality. However, the point is that if you want to excel in the workplace while working for an extroverted boss, so you should consider restricting or avoiding certain introverted habits that could annoy your boss.

When it comes to structure in the workplace, try to stop freaking out when things become unstructured. No one is telling you to mess up your desk area and work in the organised chaos that your boss may feel more comfortable in. But, try to be more comfortable when things get unorganised, messy or out of control.

Regarding relationships, try to avoid always hiding at your desk when the office celebrates a birthday. Step outside your comfort zone and start interacting more with colleagues. Your boss will appreciate and notice that you are putting yourself out there. If your boss is continually inviting you to go out to lunch with him and a few other colleagues and you constantly say no because you want to be alone during your lunch break, learn to break out. Tame your continual need for solitude and make an effort to hang out with others.

 

Having completely different personalities does not have to have a negative effect on your relationship with your boss. Just by expanding your small-minded thinking, you can start a journey that will create a more symbiotic relationship with your boss. You’ll begin to appreciate your boss’s qualities and learn how to balance the dissimilarities between you. When you can embrace these differences and then act accordingly to balance them, you will have no problem trying to eliminate certain introverted habits that might annoy your boss.

If you’re an introvert who has worked for an extroverted boss, how did you learn to work better together and excel in the workplace?

See Also: Research Shows That Introverts Look Down on the Work of Extroverts

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