Lawyers are introverts, big time. According to Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) results, almost 3/4th of lawyers, compared to only 1/4th of the general public, are introverts. That means they go inward to charge their batteries– preferring internal introspection to external interaction.
On the Caliper Profile personality test, lawyers also rank astonishingly low in the sociability trait–which measures how comfortable a person is initiating and building close relationships. Low sociability scorers are less inclined to enjoy interacting with others, preferring to spend more time with information.
Of course, we know that lawyers are thinkers–they think, analyze documents and deals, edit and write, all loner tasks. In a recent study, lawyers ranked sixth overall on a list of the 200 best jobs for introverts, just behind the loner braniacs who work as computer software engineers and accountants.
The question for management becomes how to integrate these loners not only into a coherent, committed organization but also into the 21st century vision of service delivery: coherent, committed teams. How do you overcome/compensate for the introverted nature of lawyers in day-to-day management, business development endeavors, client service?
Slowly. Start by using the strengths of introverts–such as their tendency to (appear to) listen and to deliver well-thought-out opinions– and proceed from there logically to the overwhelming consensus from research that collaboration improves productivity and satisfaction.