The Team and introverts
|Thomas Edison, an introvert.|
I love introverts. Some of my best friends are introverts.
First, it may help to define the terms. Introverts gain energy with quiet time; extraverts gain energy being with people. See, for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraversion_and_introversion To me, neither term is in favor or out of favor.
I have been talking a lot lately about the importance of the Team. That the team, as Alexander Dumas put it, be “all for one and one for all.” That everyone on the team is pulling for team success, and not so much for individual success. That everyone on the team recognizes that only team success is important. That everyone recognizes that creating and sharing knowledge is better than relying on the knowledge or ability of one person.
And then I was in a class last week, and I tried to describe this to an introvert. Specifically, the idea of pairing. He heard it as: he had to work with someone else 6 to 8 hours per day. He was visibly upset. I am guessing that he is an introvert.
So, I do think that creating knowledge together as a team is the most important thing the team does.
But we still must respect the introverts. This is not so hard, usually. First, once introverts bring other team members within their tighter universe, then they can actually work with them for lengthy periods each day. Second, we do not need to do knowledge creation in a group of 7 or even a group of 2 during all hours of the working day. We have to respect that each person is unique. So, we have to respect the introverts’ needs, just as we expect them to respect the needs of the other team members, and of the overall team.
I think many a ScrumMaster would do well to help assure that introverts, and their needs, are respected better in our firms and by the managers. Done well, this will enable the team to become more effective (eg, for the customers and for the firm).