The corporate world seems to favour extroverts. However, if you only hear from the extroverts, you are likely missing out on important information.

Extroverts do their best thinking by vocalizing their thoughts. When they speak extroverts tend to care less about ‘getting it right.’ It’s just how they think through a problem.

Introverts do their best thinking without talking. They prefer having time to think before speaking. When they talk introverts tend to be more thoughtful, and tend to care more about having something thoughtful to say.

The first to speak

The problem in the difference between introverts and extroverts is when mindsets get anchored. It is human nature for your mindset to become anchored on the first thing you hear. (see my post about anchoring).

Given extroverts are often the first to speak in a meeting the ideas and direction of a conversation can become locked on their words.

Remember, though; extroverts do their best thinking out loud. What might seem like fact, may only be tossing around ideas.

Let all voices be heard

Leaders create the conditions for all voices to be heard.

Sometimes, the best insights come from the people talking the least. For me, the best way to hear all voices is to start by hearing no voices.

Some of my favourite approaches are:

  • Silent brainstorming – before sharing have everyone write down their ideas without talking
  • Fist-of-five – a silent approach to checking in with how aligned everyone is to the conversation/direction
  • Thumb voting – another silent approach to removing any bias in decisions

I do not like the approach of asking the quiet people what they think. It is often too late by the time you ask this question. Most times, asking the quiet people happens after a period of talking and debate. By the time you ask this question, the team’s mindset is already anchored.

“If you see someone talked over help them.” – Janet Gregory

Leaders create the conditions for all voices to be heard.

You’ve got this.

Building Great Teams

Building Great Teams

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