Career Environments for Extroverts
Of all the four types, only extroverts don't really need a career environment. They can operate anywhere. Extroverts are far more complicated than most people realize. The ease with which they handle social environments masks the fact that they quite literally create those environments, particularly in business and professional relationships.
Their social reflexes are excellent. That keeps them agile in their careers. Extroverts can literally change careers on the basis of a phone call. It's not a magic trick, it's a skill. Extroverts are expert navigators in any business environment. They know where they need to go, which is more than can be said for most people in any environment. Perhaps more importantly, they also know how to navigate businesses. Their expertise isn't cosmetic.
Few people are more conscious of their skill set than extroverts, except perhaps professional athletes. Those skills are their stock in trade, and they're very valuable commodities. The extrovert succeeds because of their ability to handle environments. All careers are open to them, but their preferences are the basis of their choice of career environment.
A real extrovert isn't some noisy windbag who's everyone's friend and the life of the party. Those are just exhibitionists, a very primitive, undeveloped type of extrovert whose social status depends on cheap tricks. Compared to the professional extrovert, they're barely at chimpanzee level.
The professional extrovert doesn't need to prove social status. Quite the opposite. They choose their social status in any given social situation as a selling point. At a business lunch, they're a well attuned, interesting, friendly person who is obviously worth knowing. At the factory floor level, even as a marauding management executive, the extrovert is a down to earth guy who does listen, and does recognize relevant points.
It's not generally recognized that professional extroverts are not merely careerists. They're also genuine professionals. They can't afford to be ignoramuses, because at the top professional level ignorance of any kind is suicide. Every rival, particularly other extroverts, will expose ignorance.
Extroverts invariably operate in a very competitive environment, specifically because they're good competitors. If they compete, they tend to win. That also means they just don't make stupid mistakes like being ignorant of relevant facts, or anything else.
At the business lunch, they'll be the one with the information nobody else has, and they'll provide a few clues to that information as a sales pitch for their own position in that environment. They don't just look like they're worth knowing, they are worth knowing. The information will be good, and useful.
On the factory floor, the extrovert, ironically, as the management representative, will literally soak up all information from the workers. This is partly because from the extrovert's professional perspective the fact that information is obviously lacking has been immediately registered.Anything management didn't know, or should have known, will be recognized.
Extroverts are no more addicted to bull than anyone else, particularly when they're the ones who have to deal with it. If there's a problem, the extrovert will not only fix the problem, they'll fix whoever or whatever caused it up the line. Extroverts don't like incompetence either.
Extroverts do things differently from the other three types because of their extra talents, not as a cover for lack of professional talent. Introverts in particular tend to be dismissive of extroverts' actual abilities, and underestimate them badly, for that reason. Extroverts, who don't understand how anyone could possibly live like an introvert, usually make the same mistake about them, seeing the lack of extroversion as a sort of disease.
Pure extroverts have some natural skills none of the other types are born with. They have an actual affinity with their career environment. Some of them, you would assume, were actually born running corporations, or selling teddy bears to the other kids in the maternity ward. They're incredibly adaptable, and they adapt at incredible speed. They fit in so well people are naturally accepting of their presence.
Extroverts could give courses to the other types in how to tune to the right mental bandwidths of the people around them. They never give off static, like introverts. They're not all over the place when the unexpected occurs, like Extroverted Introverts. Only the Introverted Extroverts are in the same ballpark, but they're not full extroverts, and take longer to adapt and adjust their tuning to situations.
Successful extroverts are always intelligent extroverts. They can be so intelligent they look like aliens, when you get them on their subject, but they overcome the fear of their abilities with their social skills. Their networking is never random, and they're always looking for other intelligent people.
This is both good networking and good organizational skills at work, and it pays off well. The extrovert, despite mythology, will listen to someone who disagrees with everything they say or do. The opposition produces a lot of information, and it's also a way of getting free advice. They can practice dealing with opposition on a hypothetical basis, and adopt other ideas if those ideas work.
The emphasis here is on if those ideas work. Extroverts are realists, in many ways. If they're wrong about something, they want to know. They expect to get things right, and will adapt as and when required to make sure they do.
The extrovert is never socially insecure in the sense that others usually are. Every social and career situation is an opportunity, and the extrovert knows how to find, and use, opportunities.
They can be extremely manipulative, and they're not above sharp practice where required. They will usually avoid anything actually underhanded or unethical, simply because it may create problems for them, if for no other reason. Their social stocktaking is highly attuned, and they're not about to lose networks and contacts on the basis of some shoddy deal.
Extroverts are not saints by definition, because of the competitive situation. They're playing to win, and wouldn't usually understand any other way of doing business. They're not jerks by definition, either, and their personal views may consider anything unethical or sleazy to be utterly unacceptable.
Some people never even recognize the personal element in extroverts. They don't even think extroverts are real people, just careerists. This is as incorrect as ignoring their professional talents. If there's ever a book written on How To Completely Misinterpret an Extrovert, those two blind spots in people's understanding of extroverts will be the main topics.
This is very relevant to career environments. Extroverts have the luxury of having talents which will succeed in any profession, but the preferences are the key to the personal position.
The interesting guy at the business lunch and the management rep on the factory floor are the same person. When talking to an extrovert, that's who you're talking to. An extrovert doesn't believe for a second that My Job Is Who I Am. The extrovert knows better. The job doesn't make them, they make the job, and they try to make it better than anyone else. Similarly, the job works for them, not them for it.
So under all that savoir faire is a real person, with knowledge, experience and opinions. If you ignore that real person, you're missing the whole person. This is the person directing the extroversion. Make sense to the person's professional software, and you'll find a genuinely interested person calling you back and asking your opinion.
Superficiality is not part of the operating procedure for extroverts. They're the ones who are truly results oriented, in any group. That greatly affects how they deal with their career environments.
Their career environment is always something they at least partly made for themselves, and if drastic renovations are required, they're the one's who'll make the renovations. The reasons for those renovations will be professionally sound, and the need for change will relate to the need for results. If they have to leave an environment, it's no major deal to them, but you can bet that it's because the environment couldn't deliver the results they wanted.
Put simply, environmentally the extrovert has to be pretty much in charge of their career from day one. They're the real self starters in the workforce, unlike anyone else. They're self motivated, self propelled, and they always have something useful in their skill set as a career asset.
Slowing them down is not a good idea, because they're always in top gear, and some don't even know what 'park' means. If frustrated, they can become very hard to handle, particularly the really talented professionals, who can prove that they're right 110% of the time.
Extroverts are far more productive if simply given objectives. Even career advisors should start with an atlas, not a road map. They can be told how to get from A to B, but before you finish telling them, you'll find they've noticed the rest of the alphabet, and started planning a tour group. Extroverts will create a horizon to go over, if there isn't one on the map.
The energy levels and need for extreme maneuverability on the part of the extrovert are exceptional. They're dedicated to high performance, and they will get picky about even minor distractions. Time management is one of their classic skills, and anything which uses time they know they could use more effectively will get on their nerves. Telling them to file business expenses could seem like the end of the world, until they figure out the quick way to do things like that.
The extrovert is in many ways right in building their own career environment. It's a realistic approach to the way they work. Their networks are important, and their use of contacts is part of their jobs more often than not. To meet goals and achieve objectives, they can custom build a good working environment, and they're better being allowed to do that.
Other people can find it impossible to even understand how the extrovert operates, let alone why. It won't occur to the extrovert, unless reminded, that they look like they're running a cross between a social club and a business college seminar 24 hours a day. That is the extrovert's preferred environment, in simple terms, and there are endless variations depending on what's being done that particular minute. An extrovert's network can look like the Yellow Pages, and that's an indication of how thorough and detailed their career environment building processes can be. Everything, and everyone, is there for a reason, even friends are part of a network, as well as being friends.
The extrovert isn't a monster, unless frustrated. Even then, unless something serious has stunted their growth, their social skills are still good, and things will run relatively seamlessly, if with a few grumbles.
Extroverts are naturally efficient in any career. They use their organizer to organize, not just catalog things they haven't done, and when they organize, they do it well. Management can usually learn a lot from watching a professional extrovert go to work on a problem, because even the problems get organized into something manageable.
The extrovert's main weakness is the extreme difference between them and the other types. It's not really their fault, in many ways. They're sometimes too different for the other types to understand. The answer is always meaningful communication.
The competitive factor is a major environmental consideration. Unlike the other types, they're regularly in competition with their own kind. With other extroverts, they can form either warring tribes or good partnerships, based on circumstances. The besetting problem is that extroverts are also natural politicians, and they can start or contribute to internal power struggles and local wars. If someone tells them it's bad for business, they'll understand it, and do something to get things working normally, unless the objective happens to be revolution. That's also a part of career environment building, and the occasional Hiroshima can be part of the process.
On the positive side, extroverts are also good at defusing situations like that, and their default position is normally positive and pro peace in the workplace. They can recognize destructive possibilities in real conflicts, and be equally energetic hosing down flammable people and issues. They're never so self centered as to be actually stupid in terms of managing crises. Their professionalism has a veto on situations like that, and the professionals will actively prevent detonations.
Extroverts respect expertise. They accumulate huge amounts of information, and have access to more through their networks. They routinely operate across a huge variety of people, including all the four types. On the personal level, they remain realists, even when highly successful.
Facts are the key to working with an extrovert. Bull, innuendo, status and psych games don't work at all. The extrovert is a strong character when necessary, knows how to drive straight through those methods, and won't be lazy about doing that, if it gets a desired result.
Extroverts should be respected for their abilities, both professional and social. Their work is valuable. All they really need is time and space in their careers. As long as they're not being restricted, they're OK.