We again continue the discussion of leadership and the Five Factor Model (FFM), which can be remembered with the mnemonic OCEAN. Remember, skillful leaders have been shown to be high in Openness (O), Conscientiousness (C), and Extraversion (E), and low in Agreeableness (A), and Neuroticism (N). Today we will discuss extraversion.
The third personality trait of the FFM is extraversion: This refers to a person’s comfort level with external stimuli. A person high in E tends to be energetic, social, talkative, and assertive. A person low in E tends to be introverted and quiet with a preference for working alone. Extroverts can easily draw others to them, have positive personalities, can influence others, are good motivators, and are comfortable with communication. These are qualities of a skillful leader. Here are some tips to be more extroverted.
1. Recognize that this trait is a spectrum. Extraversion and introversion are not black and white. Chances are that in the right situation, with the right people, talking about the right topic, you are comfortable, social, and engaging. Tap into this and know that although you may tend towards, and prefer to be, introverted, you do have an inner extrovert in you.
2. Feel confident. Extroverts are not more confident or happier than you. They are just a different personality style. Do not let them intimidate you. You can be just as socially engaging as they. Know that introversion is not a problem to be fixed. Rather, recognize when to play to your introversion and when to make an effort to be a little more outgoing.
3. Find a group where you feel you fit. You will feel more comfortable interacting when you are with people whom you feel you have similar interests. Join such a group and make a concerted effort to interact more. Build your social confidence and then enter into more uncomfortable domains.
4. Play to your strengths. Take a moment to self-reflect. What are your strengths? Do you love animals…ask if the person has pets or talk about an upcoming adoption event. Do you love video games…if the other person is a parent, ask them their thoughts on kids and video games. Can you see how you have knowledge and interests than can contribute to a conversation?
5. Focus on what you can give, not on what you can get. Do not worry about being the most funny or engaging person in the room. Rather, focus on listening, being attentive, and contributing constructively to interactions.
Stay tuned for next week when agreeableness is discussed.