February 5, 2018

A diverse team is usually a stronger team for it. This diversity also extends to the introvert to extrovert spectrum. Cats might self-identify as introvert so lets learn from them.

While I self-identify as an introvert, some people in professional/work contexts might think I’m an extrovert. Based on the context and the particular role that I fill, their perception as to whether I’m an extrovert or introvert differs. Perhaps I’m an extroverted introvert. Either way I think people who self-identify as extrovert can learn a great deal from interacting with cats to connect more with introverts.

Friends visit an introvert cat’s house

Imagine you visit a friend’s house and they serve a cat in their household (cat ‘owner’ joke). For this analogy fellow visitors who like cats but don’t know these following tricks are our ‘extroverts’, and those visitors who don’t like cats are our ‘introverts’.

There is a small group of people there and the cat enters the room, scanning what’s going on in their domain. The ‘extroverts’ will approach the cat quickly, with lots of excitement and energy. “Oh look at the cute cat! Come here I want to pet you!” What is the natural reaction of the cat? They usually do a 180 degree turn and get out of there.

Now let’s assume that no ‘extrovert’ has scared off the cat. The ‘introverts’, the people who actually don’t like cats too much, pay little attention to the cat and are either quiet, or aren’t displaying any high-energy moves, and they may not even look at the cat. What is the natural reaction of the cat? They usually get curious and start to take a whiff of the ‘introvert’ visitor.

The cat-lover’s introvert stance

A cat-loving visitor who knows the way of the cat is putting themselves into an introverted state, keeps their movements to a minimum. They would speak more softly, perhaps make themselves smaller, and give the cat a chance to approach. Cats might self-identify as introverts too I reckon, although they’d probably just think that they are what they are.

Therefore next time you find yourself in the vicinity of someone who appears introverted, go the way of the cat-lover, be gentle, offer connection, and welcome their approach.

How is this analogy landing with you? Do you have any extroverted introverts, or introverted extrovert stories to share? Share below, or send me a message through the site.

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About the author 

Georg Fasching

A leadership team development specialist, International Coach Federation - Professional Certified Coach, with global product management experience since 2000, employing Agile & Lean since 2010, Georg Fasching guides leadership teams to delighting their clients, fulfil their people, and improve their prosperity.

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