Introverts and extroverts, we’re sure you’ve heard of these terms passed around by nosey family members, friends or in job interviews. And whilst introversion and extroversion operate on a wide spectrum, human nature loves to lump us in either box.
Unsurprisingly, we live in a society that praises extroversion and rewards those who - dare we say it - step outside their “comfort zone”. People tend to idealise those who aren’t opposed to being one of many loud voices in a crowd. Especially, if they have great communication skills or know-how to command the room.
But does that mean extroverted personalities are more likely to succeed? Of course not. Join us as we dive into the ways in which introverts and extroverts differ and how you can leverage their value in the workplace.
Am I an Introvert or an Extrovert?
Firstly, let’s get something straight. Introverts aren’t always shy, and extroverts aren’t always loud.
On the contrary, introversion and extroversion rather refers to the way in which you recharge your energy. More importantly, these are not exclusive - you can also be an ambivert!
Do you find yourself recharging your batteries during me-time? Or are you more inclined to feel excited and energised during large social gatherings?
These are some things to consider when deciphering which side of the scale you tip towards. Now, no one person is 100% introverted or 100% extroverted. We tend to hold traits from both sides and the belief that we’re one or the other is pretty ancient. Naturally, most of us fall within this mixed ambivert category, but when it comes to certain experiences it can be obvious which side you lean towards - even if only partially.
So what does this look like in the workplace?
Introverts tend to feel senses of overstimulation. Especially, when it comes to public speaking, big business meetings or even networking with strangers. These things tend to be draining. Extroverts, in contrast, thrive in these environments and come out of them feeling more energised than they were going in.
It may seem like extroverts shine in these kinds of workplace situations, but this doesn’t mean introverts have less professional value. It may mean, however, that extroverts are able to exploit more value faster by harnessing their ability to capitalise on their environment. Subsequently, churning through the gamble at a faster rate to get to that 1 in 100 client or business opportunity.
With that said, what advantages are there to being more introverted at work?
Introducing the Excellence of Introverts
The value of an introvert is best explained through a quote by acclaimed writer, Susan Cain:
“There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”
Yes, you heard that right. Just because an introvert might not be the first to raise their hand, doesn’t mean they have nothing to say. This is especially true when it comes to the workplace.
As an introverted employee, here are a couple of things that you tend to bring to the workplace table:
You tend to be a deep thinker which gives you the edge when it comes to advanced problem-solving.
Working from home may be easier as you tend to work better solo. It is not necessary for you to have constant social interaction.
You do not feel it necessary to network with everyone in the room. As a result, you can be strategic about who you engage with.
Avoiding small talk like the plague can keep you out of office gossip and drama.
Being an introvert can help elevate the quiet and calm in an office environment. Cool and collected? No problem.
Employees are just the beginning. It’s also important for managers to cultivate an environment in which they thrive. Here are a few things you can do to get the best out of your introverted team members:
Allow ideation to happen alone, as well as within a team setting.
Schedule one-on-one meetings to provide a safe platform for discussion. Introverted employees are more likely to open up privately.
Giving time for observation before throwing these team members in the deep end is important.
Avoid asking for answers on the spot. An introverted employee usually prefers to have time to cultivate a well-thought-out solution or comment.
Surprise deadlines are a big no-no. If a deadline quickly comes up give the team member a clear indication that you’re expecting it from them with as much time as possible.
Extroverts in All Their Shining Glory
Why is it more common to notice extroversion in the workplace? Well, because it’s more visible. You’re more likely to see extroversion because it’s more out there.
Having an out-going nature makes it easy for you to build friendships which leads to effective group-work. This becomes particularly important for collaborative work or when it’s important that you win a pitch.
As an extroverted employee, here are a few things you bring to the workplace:
You tend to be motivated by rewards. This makes it pretty easy for you to focus on achieving objectives at work, especially if there’s a higher-status on the horizon.
Having a positive outlook comes pretty naturally to you. A win-win for those around you and for avoiding burnouts.
Nonverbal and verbal communication are your strong suits, meaning business negotiations are where you thrive.
Speaking up is not an issue. This makes it easy for you to get noticed, voice your opinion and make a change.
You enjoy engaging with others, especially strangers. Being able to network is incredibly important in business and is a quality many leaders look out for.
Now for the managers, your extroverted employees need to be handled differently from their introverted counterparts. See a couple of our tips to get the best out of these team members:
Schedule in structured collaborative work so that ideas can be cultivated in groups.
Overstimulation is a non-issue here so keep tasks engaging to avoid an extroverted employee feeling under-stimulated.
Provide positive feedback for enthusiasm - it will go a long way.
Encourage these team members to take charge and dive right into projects.
Give clear performance feedback as it’s a great trigger for future motivation.
So Who’s Really Got What It Takes?
If you think we were going to tell you one personality group is better than the other you’re sorely mistaken. Whether you’re more introverted or full of extroversion, there’s a place for you in the workplace. And as we mentioned, you’re more likely to be an ambivert with different personality levels than strictly an introvert or extrovert.
Overall, it’s up to managers and people in power to build environments and positions that benefit both sides. That way you’ll make the most of every team member - directly building business assets in the process.
If you’re a business thinking this is just too much, then be sure to give us a shout on firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help you through difficult change management with integrated team culture and HR sessions designed to streamline your team and better company performance in the long-run.
The JA. Team