Some people still think extroverts are the greatest leaders, while introverts can’t hold management positions. This opinion is behind the times, and your personality type can’t define your social role and lifestyle. At the same time, introverts may need some additional stimulation or some life hacks to cope with arising challenges in leadership positions. Read further to figure out how to distinguish your personality type and what you can do to be a better project manager if you’re introverted.
Are You an Extrovert, an Introvert, or Maybe an Ambivert?
Your personality type is predominantly dependent on the level of dopamine, the hormone that makes you feel good. If your organism produces a low level of dopamine, you’re more likely to search it “outside” – extroverts are fueled by interactions with other people. If you have high levels of this hormone, you’re considered to be introverted – a person who prefers to avoid any extra stimulation from the outside world because of getting overwhelmed by social interactions.
Characteristics of an Extroverted Personality Type
Let’s list only the qualities that may significantly influence the way people work and interact with others:
- Extroverts more enthusiastically deal with group tasks rather than individual assignments.
- They’re great communicators and speakers who aren’t afraid of the audience.
- They enjoy being in the centre of attention.
- They easily switch between different types of activities.
Peculiarities of an Introverted Personality Type
And here are some characteristics of introverts that have a great impact on their occupational activities:
- Introverts prefer individual tasks rather than group activities.
- They enjoy being on their own and dive into their own thoughts.
- They listen more than speak.
- They find it difficult to perform in front of the audience.
- They hate being interrupted.
Ambiverts/Omniverts – Who Are These People?
According to some researchers, two-thirds of people are ambiverts. An ambivert is a person who is somewhere in the middle between introversion and extroversion. These individuals combine characteristics that are peculiar to both personality types, some in a bigger, and some in a smaller extent. It means that they can switch between being inward-centred and outward-centred, which can help them a lot in their private and business life.
Which Personality Type Is Better?
You can’t ever say that one personality type is better or worse than another. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, which depends on the situation. Some authors believe that the outcomes of interaction depend more on your conversation partner’s personality type. This can be proven by the results of the research on 57 pizza stores that have shown that the passive employees led by extroverts demonstrate better results (outcome per store) as compared to the stores where proactive employees are led by an extroverted employer. It means that the leader’s personality type doesn’t matter in isolation and pretty much depends on the environment. Therefore, introverts can be great leaders as well.
How to Understand What Personality Type You Belong To
There are a lot of free tests that help identify the personality type. For example, in one of the articles for Harvard Business Review, the author suggests a small test to identify your personality type in just a few seconds: “indicate the extent to which each of the following words describes you, with a 5 indicating “very much so” and a 1 indicating “not at all”: assertive, talkative, bold, not reserved, and energetic. If your total score is under 10, you’re more likely to be an introvert, and if more, you’re an extrovert.
At the same time, if you don’t know whether you belong to introverts or extroverts, probably it makes no problem for you and you don’t have to bother about it at all. Or, maybe you’re an ambivert, which is really great as you can switch “between modes” depending on circumstances. Besides, there are some signs that will help you understand you’re an ambivert. As you can see, it’s pretty easy to find it out.
Why Can Project Management Be Complex for Introverts?
Before providing an answer to this question, let’s dwell upon the main responsibilities of a project manager:
- Managing teams;
- Engaging stakeholders;
- Making schedules;
- Allocating resources;
- Solving problems;
It’s clear that the list is not full but these are the core duties of any project manager. And if some of them don’t present any problem for introverts, others may be a real challenge.
So, making schedules and reports is a good occupation for an introverted project manager as there’s no rush, nobody to talk about it until it’s ready, you can do it all alone – what can be better?
On the contrary, managing team members, communicating with stakeholders and resolving urgent problems are the things that may drive them nuts. They presuppose a lot of interaction with other people, immediate reactions, firmness, and other things alike.
But it doesn’t mean the work of a project manager can’t become your cup of tea if you’re an introvert. You can be good at ordering things, scheduling, allocating, resolving time and budget constraints. And don’t deprive yourself of a chance to become a brilliant project manager if you feel uncomfortable with a crowd around you.
Apart from being sociable, a good PM should possess the following qualities that will be really helpful in this profession:
- Stress resistance,
- Sense of responsibility.
We bet you possess as least two of these character traits, don’t you?
Benefits of Being an Introvert
We have good news: being an introvert isn’t that bad! And we have at least four reasons for that.
You Stay Focused on the Topic
Extroverts are usually described as sociable people who enjoy communicating. But the other side of the coin is that they may unconsciously get out of the point when speaking. As they try to share their energy as much as possible, their ideas may bubble over, and they can lose the core of the issue.
On the contrary, introverts stay focused on the matter during the whole meeting. As they don’t like talking too much and sharing their personal issues, their speech is always reserved and on-topic.
You Resolve Issues More Quickly
Should we say introverted managers don’t enjoy communicating much and prefer working on concrete tasks in solitude? And there’s no doubt such people will do their best to resolve the problem as quickly as possible to minimize the interaction and long discussions. As distinct from introverts, extroverted PMs will spend more time getting a charge out of networking.
You Perceive Challenges More Calmly
Extroverts tend to be more emotional or at least more freely express their feelings. They’re more likely to burn out with negative or positive emotions rather than keep them. This peculiarity can decrease their productivity and efficiency when they face unexpected difficulties that require cold-bloodedness. Introverts are considered to be more reserved and can stay more focused. They wouldn’t like others seeing them anxious and helpless. So, they will tackle the issue in a more calm way.
You’re More Empathetic
Introverts can be inspired leaders thanks to empathy. It’s an ability not only to listen to someone but also ‘hear’ and sympathize. Introverted people have an inborn ability and desire to listen more than speak, which can serve as a foundation of trustful relations in the team. People enjoy being understood. Use empathy to become not only respectful but also a reliable, trustworthy, and sincere leader for your people.
Tips for Introverted Project Managers
Use Messaging Instead of Talking
As introverts avoid face-to-face interactions because it steals their energy and makes them feel uncomfortable, a great way to communicate issues to your project stakeholders is utilizing messengers and emails. There are some additional benefits of getting in touch with the help of written communication:
- You have enough time to think over your message and communicate exactly what you want to. You also have an opportunity to consider your answer and avoid embarrassing situations.
- You can address the issue when you have enough time to focus on it instead of being caught out.
Besides, the same refers to project reports. Try to cover as much as possible when creating reports to make stakeholders fully satisfied with them. In such a way, you’ll avoid additional questions and minimize communication.
Ask Questions During Project Meetings
As we know, it’s difficult for introverts to perform as public speakers. They need some time to get themselves comfortable and get used to the environment.
- So, you can start your meeting with greeting everyone and right after that encourage them either to share their concerns or ask your questions (needless to say, prepared beforehand).
- Besides, you don’t necessarily have to talk all the time – you can be silent for a while to learn everyone’s ideas on the topic, take our time to analyze them, and only after that join in.
Breakdown Big Meetings into Face-to-Face Conversations
Sometimes it’s difficult for introverts to speak in front of a big audience. So, sometimes you can have small-group or even face-to-face meetings to discuss project details. In such a way, not only will you work in a comfortable environment but also show your team you care about each of them and take an individual approach.
Make Your Individual Schedule
Not to be caught by a surprise by your project team members, make your own business schedule. Spare some hours for personal meetings and spend the rest of a working day in a comfortable environment addressing project challenges on your own. Don’t let anyone interrupt and disturb you on trifles.
Take Your Time to Resolve Project Issues
Everyone engaged in project management knows that plenty of unexpected situations can happen when nobody thinks something may go wrong. Project management is insecure against uncertainties. And of course, it’s up to you to improve the state of things, but you don’t have to do it right away. Introverted individuals highly appreciate comfort and solitude to figure out what’s what, so just listen to other team members’ opinions and isolate yourself to find the solution.
Use Modern Project Management Tools
Contemporary project management software solutions can help you not only get rid of unnecessary interpersonal interactions but also predict or resolve constraints. Here are some advantages of utilizing PM software through the example of Epicflow multi-project management tool:
- It’s capable of prioritizing tasks and projects automatically.
- It provides all necessary information according to the real-time environment and takes all alterations into account.
- It suggests efficient resource management (allocates resources and makes reallocation if some project changes occur).
- Users can communicate with one another about tasks with the help of the comment functionality.
- The system produces reports automatically.
Don’t think that Epicflow functionalities are limited by this list. If you’d like to learn more about our product, subscribe to our blog and don’t hesitate to request a demo.
Try to Go Out of Your Comfort Zone
Regardless of the fact these tips will help you be efficient and productive in the workplace, self-development is a must for any expert. You can take courses or improve your communication skills by reading additional literature. For example, in our blog, you can learn how emotional intelligence can help you become a better leader, what skills will make you a top manager in the future, and how to master public speaking and find out about the potential power of your voice and the way you can use it to be a brilliant speaker. Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone. You’ll get a lot of benefits after killing your weaknesses. At least try it. Any experience is valuable.
Are you an introvert or extrovert? How does your personality type help you in your role and how does it harm your performance?