To be, or not to be . . .

David Shariatmadari reports that kind-hearted introverts (in the true sense of personality theory) are more likely to get annoyed at both typos (mistakes caused by a simple slip of the finger) and grammos (errors caused by lack of knowledge of the rules of grammar).  And extraverts (not a typo) are supposed to be less bothered by misprints and mistakes because they enjoy variability and engaging with people, so are more willing to want to share their life with people who are error prone.

As a high extravert, yes, I can easily forgive a typo, and in spite of  what some people close to me like to suggest, I try my best not to be a pedant about grammar because I don’t consider myself an expert on it.   (Family members please now agree . . . quickly).  But I am bothered – mostly by the grammos, and especially my own pet hate: misuse of the it’s apostrophe – a big ouch that I can never forgive.

But for me this opens up a whole new discussion about standards, how we judge others, what we’re prepared to compromise on, and to think more deeply about our opportunities for challenge.  When to challenge, and when to keep quiet.  Did I really need to Tweet the other Sunday morning when a journalist misused sat and sitting?  Probably not.

And when I’m talking about challenge, I’m talking about doing it assertively, not aggressively.  (And, note to self, Tweets can probably do without sarcasm.)

So in thinking a little more about challenge, I’m asking the following questions:

  • When must you absolutely challenge?
  • When is it OK not to challenge?
  • What sort of challenge might you make?  Something significant and serious, or a gentle seed-sowing?
  • Have your ethics or integrity been questioned or compromised?
  • Are you challenging because of standards?
  • Can you accept someone else’s standards just this once, and hold the challenge?
  • Are you challenging because you’re judging, or perceiving someone else to be not as good as you?
  • When can you let go, let it pass?
  • When you do challenge, what language will you use?
  • What level of support will you provide with your challenge?

The subject of challenge is a huge one – I used to deliver a class on it – and this list could be added to.  Whether you’re an introvert or an extravert, we all need to challenge appropriately – and if you’re a leader, to do it in the hope that you can pass on a little of your knowledge, wisdom and experience to someone who looks up to you or you’re responsible for, without crushing them.

Oh, and if you find any errors in this little piece, please can you show some introverted kindness and forgive me?  Even the pedants amongst us can benefit from a little kind introversion.

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