Complementary Teams: Introverts and Extroverts

The Situation

The extroverted worship leader (WL) is running late. Although he is personally frustrated at all the stuff he is juggling, he’s not too worried about it because he is good friends with the technical director (TD) and the rest of the team.  After all, friends give each other the benefit of the doubt. The day has been horrible and he’s actually looking forward to practice and the comfort of the team and the environment. He comes into practice happy that the mess is behind him and ready to be with his friends. Probably someone will ask him if everything is OK and he’ll have to tell them the story.

The introverted Technical Director is frustrated. Promptness is a sub rule under the major rule grouping titled Respect. Relationships only work when people obey the rules. If the WL keeps breaking these rules, he is proving to the TD that they really are not friends. He is grumpy and feels abused. He even arrived early to make sure everything was ready since he was having a bad day but dutifully doing his part. That ship has sailed. If being late isn’t bad enough, now the whole team is on the stage talking and laughing. Ugh!

By coming into practice happy, the WL’s behavior is opposite of what the TD expected (where’s the apology?).
By being sullen, the TD’s behavior is opposite of what the WL expected (why the attitude?).

My Perspective

Our personalities shape everything we do. I find it a fascinating subject.

I’ve been chewing on an idea I have about the differences between introverts and extroverts. There’s no way to succinctly talk about this without making some sweeping generalities. Forgive me.

I think introverts have a highly developed, internal set of life rules by which they judge the outside world. If something or someone breaks those rules, the introvert rejects that thing or person, not their rules. Their rules are a safe refuge and the circumstances of life swirl around them.

Extroverts, however, seem to judge themselves by their external stimulus. They don’t seem to develop intrinsic rules, but live in a fluid relationship with their world. Inherent in the external world are rules that they observe and measure themselves against. Those external rules are dangerous. The extrovert swirls around things and people looking for a place to anchor and define themselves.

In a nutshell, this:

  • Introverts stand inside the rules they curate, looking out with judgement.
  • Extroverts stand outside the rules they observe, looking in for validation.

Tech people are often introverts that fall into this description, and worship leaders can be extroverts with this behavior.

This relationship to rules is why the stereotypes of the introvert as the grumpy and angry loner, and the extrovert as the wishy-washy people pleaser, each have a kernel of truth. After all, a stereotype, like a joke, only works if there is a seed of truth present.

Both are adapting themselves to their rules, just one is basing it on their internal world and one on their external world. Interesting, right?

What’s the take away?

Within these differences lie the opportunity for a very powerful team dynamic. Perhaps the most powerful team dynamic. That is why I am excited about this challenge. At the core level of who we are, introverts and extroverts have a God-given uniqueness that allows His glory to be manifested for the betterment of the whole.

How have you seen this team dynamic working well? Any examples?