It seems like we live in a world ruled by extroverts, where most work positions require traits that are unnatural to introverts. A large percentage of executives, leaders, and managers are seen as extroverts. Some studies have proven this.
While some would prefer the more refined word Ambiverts, it is interesting to note that for all the names used or preferred, these persons are simply extroverted introverts.
Let’s be real, there are more introverts than extroverts in the workplace. However, due to the stereotypical perceptions, underestimations, and exclusions of introverts, many of them lean on the other side of the continuum to fit in.
Truth is, we are all embodiments of introversion and extroversion wrapped together, and we tend to exhibit more on one spectrum depending on the environment and circumstances we find ourselves in. Therefore, a vast majority of us perfectly fall in between.
Nevertheless, we cannot deny that some people find it hard to switch than others. Yet, we all have unique parts to play in the growth of various organisations and societies.
As a leader, it might prove challenging to harness these personality types for utmost efficiency and productivity in your workplace. However, it is important to first understand these two types of personalities to leverage them effectively for the growth of your work environment because when a balance is introduced, the results can be mind-blowing.
Who is an Introvert?
First, no personality is measurable, you tilt more to one and lesser to the other. An introvert is an individual with an introverted personality, characterised by an internal, rather than an external focus.
Introverts are not necessarily timid, shy, or distressed people. They are only more thoughtful, reserved and introspective.
Generally, they love to spend time alone with their thoughts, and being around people for too long drains them. However, introverts thrive in quiet environments and can to deliver outstanding results.
There are renowned people in society who identify as an introvert, such as JK Rowling the writer of the popular novel and movie series Harry Potter, Keanu Reeves, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett.
Now can you take a moment to ponder on the possibility that your reserved teammate, colleague, or employee may have some big ideas inside of them that you could harness if you only knew how?
So, how exactly do you get the best from an introvert in the workplace?
- Take advantage of virtual communication. It is more efficient in the corporate world, and reserved workers can express themselves better through virtual mediums because it gives them enough time to think and structure their words, unlike face-to-face interaction.
- If you desire calculated and measureddecisions coupled with efficient solutions from reserved workers in your office, then you may want to consider giving them enough time to think and plan work-related issues and projects. Although, you may think there is not enough time in this fast-paced corporate world to accommodate this. The question is which do you prefer: quick and inefficient solutions or well-planned and strategic solutions?
- Create a platform that allows them to express their ideas and thoughts without being pushed to the back or getting lost in the crowd.
- Giving regard to space and quietness will help reserved workers give their best at their jobs. Since they get tired of lengthy interactions with people, there should be a nice closed space for them to retreat into during breaks, and you could include a small library too. This provides the recharge required for a reserved person to operate at the utmost level.
- Acknowledge their contributions to your office, and give credits that are due to them. Although they do not seek attention, they love to be appreciated for their efforts. Every human desires their efforts to be appreciated.
This is a great strategy for drawing from the well of an introspective person who has so much to deliver in a corporate space. It is not a means of pampering them but to create a healthy environment that accommodates everyone without putting some in the rear due to their personality type.
Here are some overlooked benefits of introverts in the workplace
- They can work with little or no supervision, and this is the desire of many leaders in various fields. No one wants to keep checking up on you if you’ve done your job or if you are doing it correctly. People with reflective personalities have a strong work ethic of getting their work done independently. They solve problems and work hard to accomplish their tasks since they prefer not to be burdensome to others.
- Generally, they prefer writing over talking. So they tend to be excellent writers. You do not have to struggle with getting work emails from them. Written communication is done more in the corporate space since it’s faster and efficient, and possibly energy-saving for introverts.
- They prefer to take in, process, and reflect on information before communicating. That way they can analyse a project studiously before making decisions, thereby avoiding wrong steps that may jeopardise a business.
- Reflective people are more observant of their environment, which makes them pay greater attention to both verbal and non-verbal communication in the workplace.
- People with this personality trait are more overlooked in the corporate world than others, and this makes them develop coping mechanisms that allow them to thrive irrespective of their environment. You can assume that their tenacity is unmatched.
Who is an Extrovert?
The world is shaped to accommodate this personality type more easily. Extroverts are popularly called the life of the party, the outgoing, and the sociable ones. They attract the attention of people due to their vibrant and welcoming nature. People with this personality trait do not enjoy solitude for long because they derive their energy from their environment. There is no effort required to list out popular extroverts in society today, as they are easy to spot.
Here are more characteristics of the extrovert personality:
- They tend to thrive in a populated or busy environment.
- They enjoy being around people and getting enough attention.
- They are more impulsive.
- They express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas easily.
- They have no problem seeking help and guidance when they face stumbling blocks.
To get the most result from an extrovert, you may need to do these:
- Create an atmosphere that encourages team spirit. Extroverted workers thrive better when paired with others on projects. Being alone will drain their energy and then they will find it hard to be creative, innovative, and productive. It’s amazing how extremely contrary this is to reserved workers.
- Embolden them to listen more than they speak because a great leader must not just speak but listen first.
- Outline goals and expectations because extroverted workers can easily get side-tracked with much information and ideas they wish to pour out at once. You may need to also set boundaries to protect the team from clashing opinions since outgoing workers are vocal and they love to lead. A balance needs to be established so that they know the importance of not just leading but also following and taking time to make core decisions. This will benefit any team or organisation.
Benefits of an extrovert in the workplace
- The willingness and openness to learning from other people are one of the most attractive things about exuberant and outgoing people. In the corporate world and generally, the willingness to learn from others and the openness of a human mind can foster growth, greater experience, and enlightenment. As a leader, you should look out for young talents who are not just skilled but have an open mind and a readiness to learn new things.
- It is easier to handle employees and teammates who voice out their opinions and challenges on time. This prevents the escalation of a possibly inimical situation.
- Extroverts create an engaging, happy, and energising atmosphere, making a formal space more fun.
These personality traits are not flaws or social disabilities that need to be changed. The world needs a bit of both to achieve a balance. Therefore, everyone has something tangible and substantial to contribute to the workplace irrespective of their personality type.
There is nothing wrong in wanting to be alone to think things through, just as there is nothing wrong in being vocal about your thoughts and ideas.
Intentionally create a healthy work environment that accommodates both personality types and makes them comfortable enough to deliver on their jobs in different ways that fit them. Give reserved workers the space to retreat from the team to recharge while the vibrant ones should be able to interact freely.
As a leader, recognising and acknowledging the strengths in both types of personality traits in your followers or teammates is paramount to a good and productive work environment.
Keywords: introvert, extrovert, personality