Friday, July 22, 2016

Stop Calling Your Employees Introverts and/or Extroverts

Introvert and Extrovert are the most common “personality” classifications we hear from prospective clients. 

Here is why using those terms in the work place is a bad idea-

1.     Unless you are a Psychologist or Psychiatrist, we suspect you, like us, are not qualified to make a diagnosis and label someone with either of those nouns.
2.     People are much more complicated than those labels anyways. Many of us might exhibit behavioral tendencies at different times that might match either of those labels. It will typically depend on the environment or setting.
3.     Team members and employees do not want to be labeled. They want to see they can grow in a job and also know their manager, boss or team leader believes in them. A limiting behavioral tendency can be coached; a label on the other hand pigeonholes the person who was labeled.
4.     The complex matrix of behavioral tendencies that guides most of our actions, words and work styles, is very nuanced and granular.

We are not saying a manager, boss or team leaders shouldn’t know their people. We are saying the exact opposite. However, knowing your people does not mean giving them unsubstantiated labels. Not only is the label most likely inaccurate, it is demotivating to people.

People want to see a future of career growth in your organization. They want to work for and with people who truly understand them and their goals. They want to work with people who see their potential and want to cultivate that potential.

We do however, advocate using assessment tools that are predictive of behavioral tendencies in the work place.  If they are evidenced based, they can be used for selection in hiring and coaching for performance improvement.

Here are some examples of behavioral tendencies in the work place that can be measured-

Not Anxious
No Guilt
Even tempered
Not moody or irritable
No Complaints
Not paranoid or suspicious
Good Attachment
Good relations with authority figures

Notice, that in isolation some of these tendencies could be seen as introverted or extroverted. It will depend on the setting and circumstances.

There is an old saying, attributed to a number of people but most frequently to Adlai Stephenson. “Don’t just do something, stand there.”  The point being, in a number of work situations, doing and saying nothing is preferable to an irrational impulsive reaction. This learned leadership behavior does not make one an introvert. It is a learned behavior, born out of the wisdom of the discerning to think quickly as to whether words and action can make a situation worse.

Get to know your people for sure. Know their tendencies. Then coach and train them to perform, grow and excel.

By-Kenneth l. Greenberg, CEO, KLG Consultants, LLC
KLG Consultants, LLC  a Talent Acquisition and Talent Development firm based in Colorado. The firm offers custom professional development programs and skilled professionals on an outsourced and recruited for permanent hire basis, to organizations of all types and size. 

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