Environments extroverted introverts


Chapter 6

Extroverted Introverts are the most complex of the four types. They project a persona which may have nothing to do with their actual personality, both as a defence and as a business and career tool. Some of them are extreme introverts, to whom personal privacy and space is very important. The social persona is just the answering service and advertising material.

Like all introverts, they're often tough minded and intelligent thinkers. The persona has been evolved as a handling mechanism for dealing with other people. Introverts will always be hypersensitive of any social environment. EIs are the epitome of this characteristic, magnified compared to other introverts.

They're not hypocrites. Their persona stages performances, not soul-searching exercises, when on the job. Every facet of the performance, whether it's an interview, a presentation, or even a social dinner party, is effectively rehearsed. The suit, the conversation, and even the menu will be carefully laid out for best results.

This isn't cosmetic, it's business. EIs are excellent sales people, and this is part of the job. They're actors, but they're also very good at social situations, communications, and issue management. They're experts at personal interactions, because they're so highly sensitized.

They're also experts at their jobs. The introvert is usually in the top demographic of their profession, and the EI is no exception. The inner character is as dedicated as any pure introvert. Given the added sales and communications medium created by the extroverted persona, EIs can be very successful businessmen.

They can back up their performances with real expertise and a level of savvy which is on a par with real extroverts. Their proper environment is one which allows them to organize their work. They're meticulous in presentation, and will have a good working format for their interactions with anyone.

The most clearly identifiable difference between EIs and true extroverts is that

EIs can lack the spontaneity of the extroverts, and prefer not to go off the rails, or get distracted. They rarely sidetrack or digress, and will usually be the one in a group who drags the conversation back to the topic, after a good social chat and a reasonable period of time, if the group is enjoying the digression.

EIs can be quite inscrutable to introverts and extroverts. Introverts may consider the EI bizarre, self-contradictory, and shallow. Extroverts may see the exact opposite, a person who does their job but doesn't seem to operate the way they do, with a lot of quick contacts and fluent social interactions.

Both are right, but they've misread the EI. There's nothing random or reactive about the way the EI does business or mixes with others. The performances are all business. The various interactions are all part of a controlled pattern of both doing business and time management.

EIs can misread both introverts and extroverts equally effectively. The pure introvert is like a person with no business savvy, who hasn't bothered to get the phone put on. The extrovert is a fast moving nuisance, whose prattle can get on an EI's nerves as much as those of other introverts.

These three types are chronic misinterpreters of each other. Clashes and social friction are only prevented by the EI's persona, which will smooth over any rough patches without expressing an opinion. The problem with this response is that real social issues are never addressed. The EI will suddenly get up and move to another job, leaving nobody any the wiser about what happened in the relationship.

For good social manipulators, EIs can be clumsy. They sometimes avoid things they shouldn't, and relationships are often the first casualties. The problem is that the other people generally don't even know there's anything wrong.

EIs can be offended as easily as any introverts. When someone intrudes, however, the reaction is very different. The EI will sidestep, using the persona to defuse the immediate problem, and to set up a whole new life, if necessary, when deeply offended.

They have one common character flaw which can put them at odds with others instantly. As managers, EIs will work out a fix to a problem or start a new project based largely on their idea of how things should be done, meaning in accordance with the extroverted persona's way of doing things.

This behavior can be a real problem for staff. They often don't get the logic or rationale behind decisions. They sometimes don't know they've done anything wrong, or trodden on the EI's toes. They also find themselves left guessing about policy shifts, changes in work practices, staffing, and promotion.

The persona will work perfectly, but the other personality types are still left guessing about real motives, and can become distrustful and suspicious. The perfect performances are acknowledged by all types, even when those on the receiving end don't like the messages from those performances, but they don't have to like the results.

Even other EIs can get confused. They will go along with the EI's performances, and fit in well, but they can be as much in the dark as anyone, sometimes more so, because the performances underpin their own work and behavior. The new formats for their own performances can be highly disruptive.

Sometimes EIs can spring a whole new concept on others without any warning, if they're running things. It's a bit like being expected to learn a new language overnight. The persona has a tendency to dictate how things are done, and that can affect everyone else, when changes to normal operations are involved. On projects, it can be even tougher, a whole new mindset and objective can be created. That causes problems.

If extroverts don't understand what needs doing, if it's so tactfully phrased it's obscure, they're operating at top speed with no idea what they're supposed to be achieving. Introverts meet the changes and contradictions with a total lack of expression, but they'll be on the first plane out if they don't like it. Other EIs will exercise their own judgment, which can be very like the introverts.

This is where the EI, however good, needs an Introverted Extrovert as an interpreter. IEs can penetrate the most oblique logic, and the EI, who's decided a whole course of action without consulting anyone, will find a receptive thinker in the IE.

The mixed blessing of being good salespeople comes home to roost with EIs when the contradictions and course changes become too much for others. The IE has to sort out the mess, clarify objectives, soothe the other EIs, show them what's required, and generally babysit the temperaments of those affected.

Serious clashes can be generated if there isn't a fixer like the IE around to get things working smoothly. There's no such thing as a trivial clash with an introvert, and the damage can be irreparable. Extroverts won't tolerate obstructive, unclear logic, if they can help it. The credibility of the EI's way of doing things will be seriously doubted.

Things can get completely out of hand if the EI tries to impose their way of working on the other types, who really aren't suited to staging performances. The extroverts work best as fluent, fluid operators, running their own shows, and only needing to know what's supposed to be achieved. Introverts develop their own styles early in life, and they don't like or appreciate being told to stop using methods they know work well, and replace them with amateur theatricals, particularly in any kind of social environment.

This can cause revolutions, and real office wars far beyond the scope of the normal catfights. Introverts and extroverts will go over the EI's head, and demand action. They'll also abandon ship in droves if their demands aren't met. Even the IEs, who are reliable under normal circumstances, won't try to raise a sunken ship, if the EI has made a real blunder and they'll support the others rather than try to make a case for something they know to be a mistake.

The great vulnerability of the EI is that they don't usually take much time to penetrate the thinking of others. They don't make much effort to find out, sometimes, if the introverted part of their nature is subordinated to the extroverted persona when it's on the job making a presentation. They can miss reactions and warning signs. They put a lot of reliance on their external personality, too much, in some cases, and if that doesn't work, they're lacking in options.

Their strong points, however, are really strong. They all have some basic talent at which they excel, and if it becomes a career they will do well. They can be brilliant performers, when the internal and external characteristics are in synch. They can sell anything, and do it effectively and efficiently to any level of expectation. They can make great professional presentations, and are good at anything where their performances can work according to their scripts.

They're also good team players, almost without exception, as employees. They're as careful as introverts in their roles, and stay as focused as extroverts on results. The only qualifier to these characteristics is that they have to be able to self manage their performances. EIs are far more comfortable and fluent with control over this part of their work.

They may be actors, and good ones, but they don't necessarily take direction well in this one instance. If direction conflicts with strong instincts and experience, the EI won't like it, and probably won't put up with it. They're not hypocrites, and if offended by having their proven abilities disregarded, they can become extremely hostile. They can see direction as someone who doesn't know a damn thing about how they work, trying to tell them how to work.

This isn't insubordination, and rarely, if ever, reaches that stage, it's real professional savvy. Even the anger will be controlled, (unless they're truly furious) and they will attempt to make their points clearly and calmly, as yet another performance. EIs know how to deliver their message, and if they don't think a method is going to work, they're normally right. Other types should respect the EI's talents, but that's frequently not the case. The IE is the one who knows how to handle an EI, and the other two types should suspend judgment until the IE has had a chance to sort things out.

EIs can be highly evasive. You might never meet the real person, on the job. As introverts, they're experts at camouflage. They can fit into any environment to the extent you may not even notice they're there. They're also good at getting themselves out of situations where they don't want to be involved. This will be done so well and so convincingly that even the suspicion of evasion may never be raised.

Their social skills are extremely good, and they like to remain maneuverable in all social environments. That's actually a natural result of their way of doing things, and the maneuverability means they always have somewhere to go, and a way out. The other types could learn a bit from the EI, if they could be bothered. EIs don't get a lot of recognition for their talents from the much tougher, often combative, introverts and extroverts.

The acting is seen as pure spiel, not talent, which is really rather unfair. Given a task, the EI will do it as well as anyone, but it's the way it's done that attracts criticism. Even talented EIs are sometimes seen as mediocrities by other types, because they don't appreciate the amount of work that goes into performances like sales pitches and presentations.

EIs are real introverts, and the whole extroverted persona is a major effort. That so many of them are so good at it is an indication of a good working methodology. EIs are underrated as human assets, on a roughly 50-50 basis.

They will take advantage of being underrated, and as competitors for promotions or in business they can be lethal. They will put on a truly excellent performance at an interview or sales meeting which will quite literally blow their competition out of the water.

If you have an EI on your staff, watch how they operate. With highly experienced EIs, it's seamless. There are never any real clashes, no serious issues, and their manager is baffled by the lack of need to tell them anything about their jobs, or make any sort of comment on their performance, which is scrupulously efficient.

That's a professional EI at work. If you've got one, put them where they can operate effectively. You've got an ace in your hand.