Introvert or Extrovert: What that Means to a Supporter

Do you know what it means to be an introvert?  An extrovert?  Understanding the psychology behind these personality types will help you in your relationship, whether you are the supporter or the entrepreneur.  

An introvert is not simply someone who is shy.  And an extrovert is not just someone who is outgoing. . .it is much more interesting than that.  Belle Beth Cooper gives a good description of the two types in her article for The Fast Company:

"Introverts (or those of us with introverted tendencies) tend to recharge by spending time alone. They lose energy from being around people for long periods of time, particularly large crowds. Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy from other people. Extroverts actually find their energy is sapped when they spend too much time alone. They recharge by being social."

So what does this mean for a supporter?  Making sure you understand the needs of the entrepreneur you are supporting is very important.  There is no point in scheduling meeting after meeting for the introvert, or leaving the extrovert to work on their own for days on end.  Rhett Power, writing in Inc.com,  has a good selection of ideas for working with each type:

  • An introvert generally prefers to ease into the workday by sorting and planning alone for the first half an hour. He may want to retreat strategically during the day. Allow him to schedule "alone time," or encourage him to use a "do not disturb" signal when necessary.
     
  • An extrovert would often rather meet with people and start the day off running. He'll tend to be more productive when he can bounce ideas off others during the workday. Schedule regular brainstorming sessions or encourage him to engage with other people as needed.
     
  • An introvert may not be comfortable speaking up when a general call for ideas is given. Ask him directly (possibly before the meeting) if he has suggestions.
     
  • An extrovert may want to explain every detail of his plan immediately. Acknowledge his good ideas in front of his peers without allowing his enthusiasm to hijack the meeting.

So take the time to understand what personality type those around you are, and you will be able to help them in the most effective way.