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

There are 5 basic personality traits, and Extraversion and Introversion are on opposite spectrums of the varying ranges. An extrovert tends to be more engaging and seems to be the center of attention at most parties and events. Their energy level is increased when they are around other people and interacting in positive ways. However, introverts are less socially engaging and derive their energy source from reenergizing while being alone for self-reflection.

If you work for a boss who is an introvert, and you are an extrovert, that is a recipe for possible disaster in the workplace. However, if you can simply learn to understand the basic differences between both of you, then your interaction in the workplace will be more positive and productive. This article will discuss how to work more effectively with your introverted boss.

See Also: How to Work for a Perfectionist Boss

1. Realize the Need for Open-Mindedness

The first step in this process is to realize your need for open-mindedness. You cannot control how your boss reacts toward you. The only thing that you can control is your own behavior, mood and reactions to your boss and the people around you. If you want to work more effectively for your introverted boss, make every effort to realize that you must consider your boss’s point of view if you want to understand each other better.

When you understand why your introverted boss would rather send an email than interact with you in person, you can make progress in helping to draw your boss out in a positive way. Additionally, you must be open-minded to adjustments you can make regarding your own behavior to help your boss better relate to your more outgoing personality.

2. Understand Each Other's Differences

Next, you need to assess the differences in both of your personality types so that you can then make an effort to build a stronger connection and communication style with each other. Consider the following qualities of an introvert like your boss:

  • Energized during alone time
  • Analyzes problems internally
  • Organizational strategizer
  • Maintains a few close friendships

Now, as an extrovert, some of these qualities may seem quite foreign to you and your mindset is more focused in the opposite direction. Consider some of the following qualities that describe your personality:

  • Energized during social time
  • Analyzes problems externally
  • Collaborative strategizer
  • Maintains many close friendships

3. Benefits of Having an Introverted Boss

Another important factor in being more effective when you work for an introverted boss is to appreciate the benefits of working for such an individual. Seeing the value in these benefits should open your eyes to realize that you have a variety of opportunities to learn from your boss and develop and grow as a person yourself. Consider some of the following benefits of working for an introverted boss.

  • Stability – Introverted leaders are more stable individuals because they don’t take huge risks, but rather stick to effective risk management before taking risky moves.
  • Listening – These leaders are also extremely capable at actively listening to others and this will make the communication process better for you as one of their employees.
  • Reasonable – An introverted boss will be more likely to have a reasonable perspective on all issues in the workplace, rather than acting out rashly and without thinking.
  • Analytical – Additionally, introverted bosses are more analytical and are generally good at finding expedient and productive solutions to problems in the workplace.
  • Delegating – Introverted bosses see the value in having people work in areas where they’ll succeed and be productive, so they know how to effectively delegate work.

4. Annoying Habits to Avoid

In order to work more effectively with your introverted boss, you should make an effort to focus on yourself and the daily habits that you exhibit in the workplace. For example, take an honest look at what types of habits and behaviors you may have that have been annoying to your boss. Take a look at some of these habits common to extroverts that can possibly annoy an introverted boss.

  • Social Factor – If you are constantly chatting with coworkers hanging around your desk, it may not necessarily be impeding the completion of your daily work tasks. However, this outgoing display of your personality can be perceived as annoying by your boss.
  • Organization – Introverted bosses thrive in organized environments so make an effort to keep your work area organized and free from any chaos that could annoy your boss.
  • Creativity – Introverted bosses want to have their employees thrive and be creative and productive. However, focus on toning down your habit of needing to collaborate more with others when strategizing solutions. Make an effort to strategize by yourself as well.

5. Create an Effective Action Plan

Once you understand that this type of interpersonal workplace relationship requires an open-minded perspective that understands each other’s differences, you can work on creating an effective action plan. This plan must be specific to your boss, current workplace environment and daily job tasks or it will not be as effective. That means making an action plan that is more specific than simply saying you’re going to try to be more understanding of your boss’s personality. Consider the following tips for what to add to your action plan:

  • Respect – Make every effort to respect your boss’s need for privacy to recharge during the day. If your boss has the door closed, there is a reason for that. Don’t simply barge in and make your presence known in an obnoxious way. Be professional and gauge when is the most appropriate time to approach your boss, such as when the door is open or he or she seems more ready and approachable for conversation.
  • Issues – Understand that your introverted boss prefers to take the time to be alone when handling issues that need an analytical mind. Don’t constantly offer your input as that will be perceived as an affront to your boss. You can make suggestions, but again always be professional and realize that your approach must match your boss’s internalization process.
  • Goals – Realize that your introverted boss takes a very different approach toward goal-setting than you do as an extrovert. Your boss would rather take the solo approach during the brainstorming process and then bring others into the picture when he or she wants additional input. Don’t interrupt his or her creative process by interrupting before your opinion is asked for.
  • Relationships – View interpersonal relationships from your introverted boss’s perspective. Your boss has only a few close friends and those relationships energize and challenge growth and development as a person. Realize that this perception of your boss being closed off and isolated is wrong, and the isolation is not necessarily a bad thing. That is how your boss gets reenergized to continue to stay focused each day. Again, respect his or her privacy.

If you want have a more effective working relationship with your introverted boss, remember to be open-minded, understand your personality differences and create a positive and proactive action plan. During this process, when you focus on the benefits of working for an introverted boss and seek ways to limit your annoying habits, you will make the situation even easier to succeed in.

If you’re an extrovert, have you ever had to work for an introverted boss and did you experience any issues with clashing personalities? What was one of your extroverted habits that annoyed your boss the most?