You Might Be Surprised: Extravert or Introvert – Part I

by Ron Potter

You Might Be Suprised

Tom is a real talker.  A Scotsman by heritage he has that wonderful Scottish brogue which makes the stories even more enjoyable.  Tom will tell stories almost all the time.  They are humorous, often heartwarming, sometimes tragic but almost always educational.  It seems like each time you hear one of Tom’s stories it penetrates your thinking almost instantly or sometimes even over a few days.  But in the end, you always seem to learn something from Tom.  You always come away with the impression that Tom is very wise, knows what is going on around him, a great teacher and most of all, a real talker.

Tom was a client of mine and the president of a manufacturing company.  During one great experience I had the opportunity to ride with Tom as we went on a little road trip to visit a few of his manufacturing plants.

As we entered each plant you could see the reaction in almost everyone’s eyes as they saw Tom walk in the front door.  Tom was in the building!  We’ll be able to talk with Tom and his wisdom and answers will help solve many of the nagging issues of the day.

Off on our plant walk we would go, Tom out in front, leading the way, greeting people as he went and telling stories.  Always telling stories.  Then I saw the problem-solving discussions begin.

“Tom, we’ve been having a lot of poor quality parts delivered by that new vendor we started with a year ago.”  Tom would listen to the tale which included numbers, dollars and timing and finally he would say “I believe it’s time we shifted back to our old vendor.  Give this one notice and make the shift ASAP.”

“Tom, really great to see you.  I’ve been wanting to talk with you about the poor productivity that we’ve been getting from the third shift.  They just don’t seem to be interested in putting in the effort to keep productivity up.”  Again, Tom would listen to the numbers, dollars and timing issues and then proclaim his edict “It’s time to get the union leaders in here and read them the riot act.”

“Tom, I’m so glad you’re here.  That new piece of equipment that we ordered from German last year and waited so long to be installed is just not giving us the productivity they promised us.  What should we do?”  Tom would almost instantly respond with “Let’s get that sales guy in here and let him know that we’re done ordering equipment from his company if he doesn’t get this thing up to speed.”

And so it went.  Walking, storytelling, quick conversations, problems solved.  Then we got in Tom’s car and headed off to another plant to repeat the scene the next day.

What do you think?  Is Tom the talker an Extravert or Introvert?

Myers-Briggs would offer these quick sketches for each type:

  • Extravert
    • Communicate energy and enthusiasm
    • Respond quickly without long pauses to think
    • Focus of talk is on people and things in the external environment
  • Introvert
    • Keep energy and enthusiasm inside
    • Like to think before responding
    • Focus is on internal ideas and thoughts

So, what do you think?  Extravert or Introvert?

In our next Myers-Briggs based blog we’ll continue the story of Tom the talker.  Please join us.  You might be surprised.

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1 comment

You might be surprised: Extravert or Introvert Part II - Team Leadership Culture February 23, 2016 - 4:55 pm

[…] Spoiler alert!!!  To fully appreciate this blog take just a minute and read our last post that sets the stage for understanding Tom. […]


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