Have you ever been put on the spot in a meeting? “Sally, I want to know what you think about this.” Huh? I first heard about this issue five minutes ago, I haven’t had any time to figure out what my thoughts are yet. “Well, I really need some more time to get my head around this. Can I get back to you?”
The majority of introverts are considered process-oriented. We need time to mentally sort through facts, impressions, and opinions before we can share our well-thought out ideas with our work colleagues. It’s for this reason that we work best if a meeting organizer sends us the agenda ahead of time and lets us know if our ideas and opinions will be expected. And rather than volunteering, we really prefer if someone asks us for our thoughts. After all, if they really want to know what we’re thinking, they’ll ask.
Process-oriented folks are more inclined to focus on how well a task or project is done. We like the time to do things thoroughly, and so we benefit from deadlines that let us know how much time we have, although it rarely seems to be enough. We are on the whole very dependable and people know they can count on us – and they have no problem asking for our help, although we often offer it. We have been known to over-commit ourselves from time to time.
On the other side of the spectrum are people who are more “expedient”. Expedient people have no trouble thinking on their feet. They figure if they are thinking about something, you will want to know what it is. They tend to make more statements than ask questions. They may dominate conversations and meetings because they don’t wait to be asked, they may not necessarily think of asking you, and they don’t need a lot of “process time”. You can grab them in the hall and have an impromptu decision-making meeting and they are just fine with that.
Expedience-oriented folks focus on how many tasks or projects they can get done. Making lots of decisions quickly that will move them and the group forward is more important than making the correct decision. After all, you can always change your decision later. They are all about getting lots of results.
Obviously we need both. We need high quality decisions and we need to show timely results. A team made up of both types of people who understand the value of each makes a very powerful combination. The problem is people sometimes don’t understand this. If each side would flex a little bit, trust and respect could develop into a working relationship as beautifully productive as a bee and a blossom.
The less you are willing or able to move along the Process <-->Expedient spectrum the more likely you are to be labeled negatively. Those who are extremely process-oriented may be considered – especially by those on the other extreme end of the spectrum – to be disengaged, apathetic, unenthusiastic, too slow to act, indecisive, meek, unconfident, critical, or passive. Those who are extremely expedient may be described as arrogant, rude, hasty, intimidating, impatient, pushy, impulsive, exhausting, or manipulative.
No matter where you lie on the spectrum, you can improve your positive impact and how you are viewed by others. By targeting your communications to your listener or reader, communicating how you work best, and situationally and temporarily adapting your behavior, you’ll change those process descriptors to industrious, reliable, persistent, logical, meticulous, trustworthy, knowledgeable, stable, thoughtful and detailed.
About the Author.
Sally Templeton is a coach and consultant who helps her clients attain more success and fulfillment in their professional lives. As an INFP, she tends to over-empathize with her introverted clients and wants them to be seen as the impressive leaders they truly are. You can read more from her at www.Managerevolution.blogspot.com.