Extraverts (about 75 percent of the general population) choose people as a source of energy. Introverts (about 25 percent of the general population) choose solitude to recover energy. The accounting profession traditionally draws a higher percentage of introverts into its ranks. How can these people best cope with a world dominated by extraverts?
In this article we focus on tips to help improve in one particular area - problem solving and dealing with conflict.
So, if you consider yourself an introvert, and would like some help in dealing with conflict, here are some ideas you may want to try:
- Agree to talk about an issue. When you are not ready to talk, agree on a time in the future. Agreeing to talk in the future will give you time to think things through, but also lets the other person know that you do intend to talk eventually.
- Take the time you need to think things through. Let people know that you need time, but don't use this as an excuse to avoid talking.
- Express disagreement in a way that is comfortable for you, such as, "I have some concerns about that," or, "I see things differently." Don't let people think you agree just because you are quiet or appear to be neutral.
- Be willing to express and repeat your perception of the situation until the other person has heard it. You may need to say it more than once.
- Communicate more than just your final response. Sharing some of the thinking that led to your opinion or decision can help others better appreciate your point of view.
- Remember that extraverts think out loud. Don't assume that the first thing they say will be final. You can help by asking them to clarify or give an example.
- When you realize that you have made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it. Don't just keep quiet and hope that it will go away.
- Learn to notice when you are getting tense. Your body's signals can let you know when it is time to take a break.
- Look for humor. Smiling and laughing can help you and others feel more at ease.
Follow some of these guidelines, and you can handle conflict, problem solving or any other uncomfortable confrontational issue that you, as an introvert, might have to face.