A connection is that energy that exist between two people where they feel seen, heard and valued. – Brene Brown
What is wrong with the way many extroverts connect:
It is often assumed that extroverts find it easy to build a strong network because they enjoy connecting with people. Unfortunately, extroverts connect with so many people that they may know a lot of people, but these connections are at a very superficial level. Extroverts often have limited attention span and lose focus and interest every easily. Because of this, they can be bad listeners. Extroverts also tend to have high energy and as a result, find it easy to meet a lot of people. Sometimes they assume that it is the same for others. But others people may find this exhausting to keep up with and find extroverts a big drain on energy.
Why extrovert leaders need deeper connections
Extroverts find it energizing to be surrounded by people and enjoy in the company of others. But to move ahead and build a strong network what matters is not how many people you know but know well enough to leverage. It is deep and lasting relationships that are beneficial in the long term. To be able to motivate and drive their teams, charisma is a tool that a lot of extroverts rely upon. But while charisma is good, it is the deep one-to-one connects that make people go the extra mile for you. Due to the sheer nature of how extroverts operate this may be difficult for an extrovert leader to understand and focus on.
Strategies to build deeper connections at work:
- Set a goal: It is time-consuming to build deep connections. Hence a good strategy for an extrovert leader is to have many wide connections and a few deep connections. Do not plan to have deep connections with everyone you know. Identify a few people you need to build deep connections with. This could be people who you can learn from, work with or partner with.
- Set aside time: Deep connections happen in 1-1 conversation and seldom in a group. So, take out time to connect with the people on a 1~1 basis. Catching up for a coffee, meal or walk are good ways to do that.
- Listening is the best tool to build a connection: The way humans are wired we tend to talk more and listen less. This is even more difficult for an extrovert. To listen deeply and actively to another person with full focus is the best thing you can do to build a good relationship.
- Take time to understand the other person: The core of a deep connection is when the other person feels that you understand them. Genuinely try to see things from their point of view. Ask them about themselves, what matters to them and their viewpoint on things.