Jordan is an extrovert. As a leader he cares deeply about team spirit and he is proud of the energetic and fun working environment that he has created. But today he is sitting across from me, clearly agitated. “I just don’t know what to do about Christopher, he’s driving me crazy – he is just so slow! I am wondering if it wouldn’t be better if I just let him go.” “Is his work-pace too slow or too deep?” I ask, “because if it is too deep, this may be something you need to work on as a manager, and not necessarily Christopher’s fault
Understanding the nuances of the communication and working styles of their team is something many leaders struggle with. If you are an extrovert leader what could you do differently to better understand and motivate your more introverted reports?
When Jordan delegates work to his reports, it is in his own extrovert way. He meets with them and talks a lot about the project overview. There is some brainstorming and not much is written down. He is also not too directive, because he himself likes to be able to use his imagination when solving problems. He expects to hear back from his reports regularly to discuss projects and how they are progressing. He is not too concerned about getting all of the details correct the first time around as these can be ironed out as work progresses.
However when he sets tasks for Christopher, who is an introvert, something does not gel. Jordan doubts Christopher is really committed to his work; he shows no sign of being interested, he does not engage in discussions and when he does, it seems it is only to ask negative questions. Then he disappears behind his desk and Jordan does not know what he is doing or indeed if he is working on the project at all. When a task is completed, Jordan has to wade through piles of unnecessary details to find what he really wants.
Is Christopher really the wrong person for the position, or is something else happening here?