Think introverted; act extroverted

How to be a design leader and still be yourself

How can an introvert thrive as an effective design leader?

What being an ‘introvert’ really means

Let’s back up a bit. The terms introvert and extrovert (originally spelled extravert) were popularized by Carl Jung in the early 20th century to explain where we get our energy from. Unfortunately, their meanings got confused between then and now, and we started thinking that everyone belongs to one camp or the other.

A common misconception about personality types is introversion is the same as being shy.

Shyness is fear of social judgment. The measure of introversion vs extraversion is about how one responds to stimulation, including social stimulation.

It takes all kinds

An interesting research by Adam Grant at the Wharton School has found that introverted leaders often deliver better outcomes than extroverts do because when they are managing proactive employees, they’re much more likely to let those employees run with their ideas. Whereas an extrovert manager can, quite unwittingly, get so excited putting their own stamp on things, that other people’s ideas don’t bubble up to the surface as easily.

Tactics used by introverted designers while navigating their career

#1: Use visual thinking

#2: Be intentional about sharing your work

#3: Act like an extrovert you admire

#4: Give your brain the right dopamine rush

#5: Normalize sharing communication styles



Tales from the Atlassian experience design team

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Shaziya Tambawala

UX/Product Designer and serial list-maker • Previously @Cisco @GE_Digital @HomeDepot @GeorgiaTech @IndiaCircus • ‘Everything Is Design. Everything!’