We all know there are two personality styles that are polar opposites of each others, right?
I wish it were that simple.
Introversion and extroversion are on a line, a continuum. That means there are shades and nuisances to how much each person displays either extroversion or introversion behavior.
Sometimes people will be strongly to one side or the other on that continuum, but often people exhibit mixed tendencies, especially in a trusted group setting where there is rapport among the members. For example, an introvert might be shy around new people, but very gregarious around his mastermind group where he’s been brainstorming for six months.
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An introvert gets energy by being alone, and expends energy when in a group setting, like a mastermind group. Being an introvert doesn’t mean a person is shy; it means he needs quiet time alone to process the outcome of the mastermind group meetings and recharge his batteries before he wants to get back into the group mode again. He finds it helpful to talk through a problem with the group, but he likes to have thought through the problem on his own first.
An extrovert gains energy when she is out in the world, especially brainstorming with a group of people. She’s excited to share ideas and to process her thoughts verbally in the group. She often gets her best ideas while talking through a problem with others. Sometimes as she’s talking, she comes up with her own solutions before the group brainstorms together. The act of talking clarifies and organizes things in her mind.
An introvert needs quiet time, even a minute or two, to collect his thoughts and reactions to a given problem or situation. Giving the entire group a few minutes to write down their ideas on their own, before sharing, can give the introvert the space he needs to process.
On the other hand, the extrovert needs time to talk out loud, to process her thoughts while she’s actively communicating with others. Knowing this, you can allow the extrovert a few minutes more during her Hot Seat to explain her situation: she just might find clarity or even solve her problem herself, simply by talking openly about it.
Between meetings, give each of these types a way to communicate with the entire group, possibly through an online message forum. The extrovert will appreciate the ongoing connection to the group and the introvert can take his time to process internally, then communicate at his leisure.
It’s not possible to pigeon-hole someone and label them as “all introvert” or “all extrovert,” but there are tendencies to one side or the other that you can (and should!) pay attention to:
As a mastermind group facilitator, being aware of these two personality types and giving each what they need will foster a tight, powerful group.