Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dealing with Introverts? - Work through their Unconscious Biases

My English teacher in school S Swamy, was a teacher of norms as well. “Beware of the wrath of a patient man” he would tell fidgety, talkative and restless students. A patient person is often associated with being reserved most of the time, offering little expression even in the face of adversity. In a knowledge economy, harvesting the introverts is the new secret sauce. Those who interact with introverts do not draw them out purposefully. Introverts are a highly misunderstood lot. It is easy to dismiss the challenge by blaming it on them, as if they ‘deserved’ it. While it is true that they earn the consequences of their choicest silences, it does not equate as a sentient justice system on the laws of interaction.
I recollect essaying a treatment of polarities based on Dr. Hogan’s Unconscious Bias scheme. Let me attempt to review these as a dilemma point that the introvert experiences now.
Unconscious Biases
For the Introvert
Wanting to be the center of attention, assuming that other people need attention as much as you do, and not understanding modesty.
Wanting to avoid attention, assuming that others respect privacy as much as you as you do your own, without understanding the impact of recognition through attention seeking or being able to face the consequence of immodesty
Wanting to dominate or enforce actions to make a difference, assuming that other people are as competitive as you, and disliking people who lack a winning attitude.  
Not wanting to domineer while differentiating through an expertise edge; assuming that other people value meekness as you do, and disliking therefore people who want to win  by parading their wares unabashedly
Wanting to have fun and share experiences, assuming that other people are as fun seeking as you, and not understanding people who are overly serious.
Wanting to be conserved in energy and reserved in expression, assuming other people value intense internal reflection, and not preferring the abandon of compulsively fun-seeking people.
Wanting to help those who are disadvantaged or victimized, assuming that others are as concerned about them as you, and not understanding the need for self-reliance
Wanting to be self-reliant and thereby competent in one’s self-efficacy; assuming that others are as self-reliant and independent, at times at the cost of not detecting opportunities that other people engage in to assist lesser advantaged people.
Wanting opportunities to network, assuming that others want to interact as much as you do, and not understanding people who don’t want to be part of something bigger than themselves.  
Wanting to be insular and self-protective, limited in one’s free-willed interactions; not relating accurately with others who wish to be part of other people networks as an opportunity to be bigger than themselves
Respecting hierarchy, rules, and tradition, assuming that others are as compliant and demonstrative of compliance as you, and openly disapproving of any kind of non-conformity.
Irreverent of conformity and rules, assuming that others too wish to overcome rules and tradition, inwardly contemplative of actions of those who respect hierarchy to preserve traditions.
Disliking risk-taking and risky activities, assuming that others are as overtly cautious as you, and not understanding people who enjoy uncertainty and like to test the limits without much publicity.
       Embracing risky activities without much ado. Discerning of risks that seem attention grabbing, cordoning oneself off from needless impulse, and yet giving in at times to private joys of experimenting when no one is watching.

Wanting to acquire concrete symbols of success, assuming that others are as materialistic as you, and not understanding people who are indifferent to money.
In    Indifferent to money and material acquisition, assuming that others are as frugal as you; and not understanding people who want to acquire concrete symbols of success.  
Wanting to be in attractive environments, assuming that others care as much about quality as you, and not understanding people who lack a sense of style.
:  Not obviously discriminating of detail in sub-modalities like visual acuity in shapes, colors, sizes or olfactory variety in cuisine and odors..
Wanting to solve problems with logic and data, assuming others care as much about finding the right answers as you, and not understanding irrational or intuitive decisions.
W   Reserved in judgment, but thought through in implications, the introvert may prefer writing out one’s reasoning, so as to accomplish the exhaustiveness of logic, than spending energy in striking equity by talking logic with others.

Introverts are often on the cusp of transformation, if not deep into several transformative forces, that those whom they interact with can seldom fathom. The transformative energy resides in desired sense of balance in dysfunctional and opposite ‘cause’ motivations as the ones described above. In order to get better yield out of introverts, here’s my list of guidelines – does not matter what end of the expression spectrum you are – introvert or extrovert.
·         Make a hypothesis. Talk it with the introvert. Lay it for him in chunks that begin with the highest order of statement, followed by its descending components. He/she the introvert will respect your intellect. If you’re off the mark, stop hypothesizing. Reflect on your mistake, and offer your statement of ignorance as authentically as you can. Pause for that near-death silence. Bury your thought, and watch the other’s rise as a phoenix from your ashes. Then patiently watch the shift of energy in the conversation.
·         Empathize with the introvert’s special interests. Place or position statements that entice the internally excited mind to give vent to such thoughts. Draw the conversationalist in the introvert out like you lead a baby to walk – teasingly, and yet, letting the little leading finger go, when the rapport has been confidently struck.
·         Listen when the introvert talks. The intensity of the introvert’s disclosure is a matter to be respected. Fly in the face of adversity you will, if you do not appreciate the passion that flows on the tongue owned by a pent-up mind.
·         If you are not in the habit of reading, discipline your mind to read on the introvert’s areas of interest. Better to strike a liking based on mutual awareness, than to offer a pat during meal time, merely to register an association with someone – in this case the reclusive introvert.
·         Write objectively about your introvert friend. Crisp, clear and concrete descriptions for the laser-logical guy, and a narrative emotional and variously described text for the intuitive introvert. They do not like inefficiency and lack of focus in feedback. They value precision and depth. What is more, they can discern precision from accuracy!

Let me know what you think. 

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