How Extroverted Pastors Overcome Struggles

Sam Rainer

September 29, 2019

Both extroverts and introverts can lead well. Both can lead poorly. Personality is only one part of leadership. However, your personality as a leader comes with intrinsic advantages and challenges. For example, the extroverted pastor tends to work a room better than an introvert. The introverted pastor tends to listen better one-on-one.

Partly because they are more outgoing, I believe extroverted pastors get the benefit of the doubt in leadership—more so than introverted pastors. Many have tackled the subject of how introverts can overcome weaknesses, but I haven’t noticed as much written about extroverted pastors.

As an extrovert, I’ve noticed some painful shortcomings in my leadership. Perhaps I’m alone in some of these struggles. But maybe some of you can relate.

  • Extroverts can talk too much. I process my thoughts by talking to others. Nobody will wonder what I’m thinking because thinking and talking are synonymous to me. Many times, this trait works to my advantage. I can hold a conversation. But talking too much is annoying. Not listening is rude. I’m guilty.
  • Extroverts can bounce too much. I love a room full of people. Bouncing from person to person and conversation to conversation is a lot of fun. I enjoy seeing people engage with each other, especially in the church! However, this tendency can come across superficial, especially when someone needs me to focus deeply on their words.
  • Extroverts can overshare opinions. I have lots of opinions, and I’m glad to share them. However, there is wisdom in restraint. I admire people who don’t feel the urge to share every opinion on every subject. Maybe one day I’ll be more like them.
  • Extroverts can assume every group needs to be large. Every time a group gathers at the church, I want to invite everyone in. Usually, this tendency is good. That is unless the group is designed to be small or confidential. The come on by! and the more the merrier! mentality is not always wise.

Part of being a better leader is practicing to be a better leader. I’ve started some exercises to help temper my extroverted nature.

  • Literally stop talking. In my head, I will challenge myself, “Sam, stop talking. Now.” When I have the urge to say something, I’ll tell myself to wait another minute. Then another minute. Then maybe another minute. After I feel like I’m torturing myself, then it’s usually good to say something.
  • When you feel the urge to move to another person in a crowded room, stay five more minutes in the current conversation. This tactic has helped me dive much deeper into conversations. Don’t look past people. Don’t interrupt their flow of thought with “Yes” or “Uh-huh” or “Mmm.” Simply look them in the eye and listen.
  • Ask more questions instead of giving opinions. Short but rich questions give the other person a chance to expound their thoughts. Questions like “Why do you think that is? Or “How does that make you feel?” help open avenues to better conversations.
  • Seek out the wisdom of introverts. Find the reserved sages in your church and spend a lot of one-on-one time with them. Don’t be afraid to sit in silence with them for extended periods. They will give you incredible insight when they speak.

Both extroverts and introverts have strengths and weaknesses built into their personalities. Extroverted pastors will have some natural struggles in shepherding their congregations. With a few tactics and a little practice, you can overcome many of these struggles.

9 comments on “How Extroverted Pastors Overcome Struggles”

  1. “Ouch!” and thank you!

  2. Tosh says:

    As an extroverted pastor, it has been amazing to be married to an extremely introverted woman. She helps and challenges me to tune into introverts and helps me see my own tendencies in ways I wouldn’t have imagined.

    Great to see an article talking about some of our extroverted shortcomings! (Stop talking here.)

  3. James says:

    Thankyou for this. I am a new pastor who is an extrovert and has ADHD. I am encouraged by what has been shared here.

  4. Billy McClendon says:

    Wow! Of course that hurts, but it surely helps. Thanks you for that.

  5. Daniel E McDowell says:

    Good stuff! As an extroverted pastor with an introverted wife, after almost 40 years of marriage I can honestly say we have helped one another move toward the middle!

  6. As I read this I’m thinking, “Wow that’s me!” I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I tell myself a lot I need to calm down, hush, stop and think before talking. I do process my info by talking things out. I’ll have to try some of these tips to not come off as too intense and really concentrate in the moment versus bouncing “from person to person”. Very interesting. Thank you.

  7. Tima Joy says:

    Thank you. My Senior Pastor is an extrovert and its quite difficult to pin him down to a conversation for any length of time; this can be frustrating especially in decision making.
    Bless you for this insight.

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