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How to navigate people who are different than you

My client Kai received some surprising feedback from her boss.
She was told that she asks too many questions.

Kai was really upset by this feedback as she considers her curiosity and strong analytical skills to be key strengths that she brings to the table.

In my conversation with Kai, we identified that her boss was not meaning to be offensive.

Rather, the two of them just have very different work-styles.
Kai is a thoughtful, supportive, introvert.
Her boss is a fast, paced, action-oriented, extrovert.

While their workstyles are very different, neither style is good or bad, right or wrong!

This story is a good reminder for leaders.

As a leader, it is your job to understand and appreciate different work styles.

This is especially important when your direct reports have a work style that is totally opposite to yours.

Here are some strategies that you can apply to manage and appreciate both introverts and extroverts.​​​​​​​


Here are some of their strengths that you can leverage:

Extroverts are:

  • Comfortable with verbal communication and can be very helpful during a debate, discussion, or brainstorming session
  • Sociable and outgoing and will be welcoming to everyone on the team
  • Energized when working with others and highly productive in a team meeting environment
  • Comfortable working in fast-paced, busy environments


Here are some of their strengths that you can leverage:

Introverts are:

  • Independent, self-sufficient, and self-motivated
  • Good at problem-solving with an eye for the details
  • Well-prepared and will provide thorough research and analysis
  • Good listeners and will take the time to ensure that others feel heard

It’s important to remember that everyone brings a unique skill set, approach, and value to the team.

What can you do to best leverage all workstyles on your team…especially the people who are different than you?

P.S. If you are interested in assessing the different work styles on your team, please reach out! I use an amazing tool called the DiSC Profile with all my clients and their teams. The tool is incredibly insightful and dramatically improves interpersonal relationships and team communication.

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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