You’ve probably already come across the the terms ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’, and the associated stereotypes that can arise – the former as unsocial, secretive and aloof, the latter aggressive, egotistical and socially needy. But we also know instinctively and anecdotally that these are unhelpful and often negative generalisations – after all, if you want the introverts and extroverts in your workplace to work productively together, you will need them to appreciate the very meaningful contributions that the other can bring.
Nor is it even the case that any of us are purely introverted or extroverted. Nonetheless, both personality types will be represented among the people in your workplace, and there are some fundamental differences in how they interact with each other. While introverts often keep to themselves, preferring work on their own and one-on-one conversations, extroverts are more likely to be found engaging constantly with others over the course of the day.
Tensions can be caused within your organisation by unfair assumptions and judgements relating to these behaviours. But if you ask any of our training consultants here at Cerulean, they will tell you just how vital it is to get introverts and extroverts to work harmoniously together.
When talking about projects with an introvert, for example, it is important to appreciate that they will not give you much verbal feedback. This shouldn’t be mistaken for them not listening or having nothing to say. An introvert prefers to process information in their own time and respond in the way that makes them feel most comfortable – such as a well-written email. Introverted staff therefore perform best in environments that combine clear expectations with space for them to get on with their work unperturbed.
But on the other hand, you can also have an extroverted staff member, whose essential need to speak isn’t necessarily appreciated and understood by introverted colleagues. Extroverts gain energy by talking to and interacting with others. They usually think by talking out loud, so not everything that they say may be a well-honed thought – which is something that needs to be respected by introverts. Extroverts therefore do well in roles where they are continually interacting with others.
A good manager will not only recognise the different personality types in their team, but also know how to delegate tasks that play to staff members’ strengths while mitigating their weaknesses. Get in touch with Cerulean’s training consultants now about how you can achieve productive harmony between the introverts and extroverts in your own workplace.