Tuesday, June 20, 2006

USA Today article says you can learn to be an extrovert

Introverts and shy people can learn to be more sociable.
"It's a skill that can be developed." So says more than one
CEO quoted in an article in USA Today,
Not All Successful CEOs are Extroverts (from June 7th).

According to the article, 4 in 10 top executives consider themselves
shy or introverted. This was borne out in my research for
Stop Pushing Me Around: A Workplace Guide
for the Timid, Shy and Less Assertive
. In fact, Sheila Campbell,
owner of Wild Blue Yonder, admitted to "masquerading as an extrovert."

Here's another fascinating factoid from the article:

"A PsyMax study of 240 presidents, CEOs and chief operating officers found creativity to be the one trait most common to highly successful executives. Past research, not associated with PsyMax, has shown introverts to be among the most creative people."

Read the whole article here.


Anonymous Barbara C. said...

I'm not really surprised. As an introvert, I know I can't count on my social skills or popularity, so I usually try to compensate by knowing my subject really well (in work situations). Coincidentally, someone just pointed me to an essay written by an introvert...

Caring for Your Introvert

11:32 AM  
Blogger communicatrix said...

That Atlantic article is awesome, pointing out one of my favorite myths about introverts: it's not that we're shy; it's just that we need more recharge time b/w interactions that tire us. Amen!

Highly recommended for those who haven't read it.

12:44 AM  
Blogger Neil said...

Interesting article and one that rings true, I believe. From the article, “Some liken it to an out-of-body experience that lets them watch themselves be temporarily unreserved.” As a card-carrying introverted hermit, I can relate to that statement. Over the years, I’ve learned to act the role of an extrovert when I need to. Most folks who don’t know me very well would easily consider me an extrovert.

But, as the article mentions, it’s draining. I don’t think an introvert is necessarily shy. As The Atlantic article mentions, we’re simply people who draw our strength and energy from alone time. Extroverts get theirs from being with others.

Going to a networking event, club meeting or party is interesting. I dread the idea of going and grumble all the way there. When I walk I the door, I become my alter ego. I can mingle and I’m usually the guy who starts the conversation at “dead” table. I have a great time. But, when I get home, it’s “Whew! I’m so glad to be home.”

It’s not necessarily an act. It’s more a type of behavioral modification I’ve learned over the years.

Plus, I’m single and unattached, so I go to these things alone. In days gone by, I had an extroverted wife. Having an extroverted spouse can be a handy thing for an introvert.

In a similar vein, I don’t think being introverted or extroverted is inherently better or worse. The world needs both to keep balance.

6:20 PM  
Blogger The Shytrovert said...

I am both shy and introverted (hence my handle) and masquerade as an extrovert - not successfully at all times, but I'm perfecting my technique. One of the most important aspects is getting the mannerisms right. Also, seeming a little manic helps as well.

11:13 AM  

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