EP 340: Managing As An Introverted, Anxious, and Autistic Boss: Tara’s Interview On The Rebel Therapist With Annie Schuessler

In This Episode:

* How I decide what roles to hire for (and why understanding our team structure is key)* When it’s time increase capacity by hiring versus fixing messy operations* Why you don’t want to clone yourself to get more done* How product and operations can overlap to creating some really exciting opportunities

When I say I’m an introvert, I mean I’m a hardcore introvert.

People don’t believe me when I say that because I’m loud and enthusiastic—but being loud and enthusiastic is not the same thing as being extroverted.

If you spend more than an hour with me in a social situation, you’ll see the life drain from my eyes as my internal batteries release their last burst of energy.

I wish I was kidding—but I am not.

I also happen to be an introvert surrounded by extroverts.

I’m an internal processor surrounded by external processors. I’m an avoider of small talk surrounded by people who love small talk.

It’s a tricky situation.

Who are these people? They’re my team members—and among them, my husband.

Sean and I often joke about how unfortunate it is that I’ve ended up with so many extroverts in my life. Not because there’s anything wrong with extroverts but because it can be exhausting!

My friend Annie Schuessler asked if I’d be willing to talk about managing a team as an introvert and I jumped at the chance. I’ve learned so much about team-building in general over the last 5 years but I’ve also learned a bunch about how to put guardrails in place around my own energy and bandwidth as I work with my teams.

Since recording this interview, I’ve also started to talk publicly about how the way I work and relate to others is filtered through the lens of autism. So many of the things I’ve always thought of as a result of introversion and social anxiety are present because of my autism.

I am introverted, I do have social anxiety, and I’m autistic.

That’s a pretty thick soup to be wading through as a manager.

The main reason I wanted to share that before you hear this interview is because my experiences as an introverted boss may be quite different from your experiences if you’re also an introverted boss.

The other reason reason I wanted to share that is because, before I had the framework of autism to make sense of my life, I was constantly working against myself in an effort to fix things I perceived as problems & deficiencies.

While I’m still working to become a better manager and leader, I’m also looking much more objectively at how I can build structures that don’t require me to work against my nature quite so often. In so many ways, my autism is a strength for business-building, writing & podcasting, and team-building. But it takes work to embrace those strengths when they’re so different from what other people expect!

Alright, here’s what you’re going to hear in this interview—Annie and I talk about how I find team members, why you need to know what you’re really hiring for before you start looking, how I’m onboarding new hires now, and why you don’t want to clone yourself.

Radically rethink how you set goals: pre-order Tara's new book, What Works: A Comprehensive Framework to Change the Way We Approach Goal-Setting. Find it anywhere books are sold or at explorewhatworks.com/book.

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