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Success Strategies for Introverts and Extraverts

By Sherrie Haynie

August 6, 2012


CPP Consultant Sherrie Haynie offers some tips to operate more efficiently if you know your preference for Extraversion or Introversion in this Training Magazine article. See below for an excerpt.

There’s been a lot of talk recently regarding the differences between introverts and extraverts. As a consultant for CPP, the publisher of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator instrument, which has been studying differences along the introversion/extraversion dichotomy since the ’70s, I concur that in the U.S. we do fail to value the gifts of those with a preference for Introversion—a failure that appears to be getting worse.

Introverts Operating in an Extraverted Environment

If you’re an introvert in an extravert environment, don’t assume people know how to communicate with you. Often, introverts need time to process before responding to a question.

Dealing with Stress as an Introvert

Depleting too much energy eventually will lead to a stressful reaction. For both introverts and extraverts, early warning signs of stress tend to manifest themselves in exaggerated forms of natural tendencies—introverts, for example, may withdraw socially. If a stressful situation continues unresolved, unconscious functions may take over, and you may find yourself acting out of character by exhibiting extreme or immature extraverted characteristics. This reaction may show up as an outburst or other outward expression—opposite to your normal calm and reserved demeanor.

Extraverts Operating in Introvert-Dominated Environments

Often, the extravert is thinking more about what he or she is planning to say next rather than listening. In a room full of extraverts, this may be necessary to get a word in edgewise. However, if you’re in a more introverted culture, it may cause friction and stress. You can sidestep much of this by practicing listening and giving feedback—pay attention to how intently you listen to others, and paraphrase their thoughts, asking for feedback regarding your accuracy.

Dealing with Stress as an Extravert

For the extravert, the early warning sign of stress is also an exaggeration of normal behaviors. As such, under stress some extraverts initially may become critical and harsh. Prolonged or extreme stress, on the other hand, results in the opposite function erupting, and you may find yourself exhibiting immature or extreme introverted behaviors, such as withdrawing socially. This makes it particularly important to recognize early warning signs because, in this state, others can’t see your internalized stress reaction—the people around you may be oblivious to the severity of your situation.


Read “Success Strategies for Introverts and Extraverts.”