“Did you contact our third party vendor about that critical issue as I asked you?” “Sure, I sent them an email last week.”
One thing I noticed hanging around developers for many years, is that the majority resent making phone calls. They’d much rather write an email than pick up the phone. From a managers point of view, it may appear ineffective to send an email and then sit on your hands for a week while waiting for a reply.
You see, most managers, sales persons (and apparently the world at large) are a part of the most popular breed of people: The extrovert. The extrovert thrive on being around other people and loves talking (on the phone and elsewhere). They love teamwork and socializing in general.
Having a minimum of extrovert behaviour is the expected norm in our society, and from kindergarden and beyond, any introvert behaviour is frowned upon. So what is an introvert then? In contrast to the extrovert, the introvert actually enjoys being alone. She needs some time for herself to charge her batteries. Also, she’s usually not so fond about talking on the phone..
So what am I saying here? Most developers are loners and misfits? Well, sort of. Except that somewhere between one third and one half of the population are introverts. They may be loners, but they are certainly not alone. That may sound like a high number to you. That’s because there are a lot of fake extroverts out there.
Having society kick you in the head all your life (including teachers, parents, other teenagers, TV-shows and magazines) insisting that there is something wrong with you if you don’t enjoy partying all night and holding long speeches in front of a crowd the next day, many introverts cave in. They start being extrovert even though it goes against their nature.
Introverts think before they take a decision. They listen before they talk. They create for the sake of creation, not fame. And they invent the most amazing things, all by themselves. They share the label of introvert with Albert Einstein, Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates, Charles Darwin, Mahatma Ghandi, Al Gore, Isaac Newton and countless more.
So the next time your employee sends an email when he obviously should have called, or says he needs some time to think something through, be grateful. You’ve got a guy on your team that is probably creative, plans things out, loves to concentrate and focus on a single task.
And given space, quiet and time to do something right, he will do just that.
Somehow the extroverts have managed to make their version of the world the norm. But wether you’re an extrovert or an introvert – you share your personality with almost half of the planet. And there’s nothing wrong with you.
Read more about introverts in Susan Cains excellent book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” or see her TED Talk.