Introversion and Extroversion plays an important role in understanding human personalities.
Introversion is the lack or apparent lack of interest in other people and instead focussing in one’s mental self. Introverted people tend to be reserved and shy and prefer alone time to group time. An introvert focuses their energy on reflection and tends to be quiet in group interactions.4
There is this notion that introverted people are hard to socialize with and some people will have a hard time interacting with them just from the notion.
Extroversion is the opposite of introversion. It is the state of somebody being gratified by interaction with other people rather than focusing their energy in their mental self.
There are lots of misconceptions about introverted and extroverted people. Some careers that involve lively interactions with other humans such as politics, musicians, lawyers etc are seen to be suited for extroverted people while other careers that mostly involve deep thinking and reflection like philosophy, science, engineering etc are seen as suitable for introverts. However, this is a very false notion. Barack Obama, for instance, with his charismatic speeches and lively interactions with people is a well-known introvert. Same with Julia Roberts – the famous award-winning actress. Meanwhile, other historical figures that may pass as staunch introverts like polymath Benjamin Franklin and philosopher Socrates were known extroverts.
In business and organizations, you can use the introversion and extroversion of your employees to your advantage when you understand them. In this article, we are going to look at how organizations can use information about introversion and extroversion of their employees to their advantage.
Working with an Introvert
Once you realize your employee is an introvert, there is a way you should handle them and work with them to ensure high productivity and harmony. Below are some of the ways you can work with your introvert colleague or employee.
Make them aware in advance
Introverts are people who love reflecting and deep thinking. They are well-organized people and want to prepare for everything that comes their way. They don’t like being caught by surprise. It makes them more comfortable and since they are shy people, prepares them for what is to come.
Introverts are more into themselves than into other people. An introvert will work better by themselves when and if they can work by themselves. If you can pass information to them electronically like via online chats, do it. You don’t have to subject them to the unnecessary stress of them having to attend meetings and ‘unnecessarily’ interact with people when they would rather just get the information through an electronic device.
Perfect the art of patience
Introverts are less likely to share information with other people than extroverts (and normal people who are neither introverts or extroverts). An introvert will take time to warm up and share their ideas with the group. You might thus not get much feedback from an introvert while discussing ideas with them. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t paying attention. It doesn’t mean they have nothing to say either. Being patient with an introvert means that you’ll get more out of them.
Give them space
This is closely related to being patient. Introverts don’t just only take longer to warm up to the group, they might not warm up at all if not offered the opportunity to. Sometimes, the type of opportunity they get might also not be perfect enough to enable them to warm up. It is thus important to follow up to the introvert in your group just to confirm if they hard anything to say. Friendliness is key.
Working with an Extrovert
Just like with an introvert, there are challenges that come with working with an extrovert. Here are some tips to take to ensure you get the full productivity of an extrovert when working with one.
Let them be extroverts
Being an extrovert might be fun for some people but sometimes one might find them unbearable. Statements like ‘he/she talks too much’ comes to mind.
It is good to understand that, that is their nature and sometimes be patient with them even when you feel they are talking too much. Just let them speak. This makes them feel part of the team and inspires them to share more and never feel unwanted.
Always be assertive
As much as you’ll allow your extroverted employee or workmate be an extrovert, make sure you demarcate some boundaries. It is good to understand that extroverts don’t tire from speaking and mind end up taking all the time and all the limelight making other people feel useless. Make sure the extroverted teammate leaves some time for the rest and learn how to politely interrupt them when they go beyond the boundaries you demarcated.
Introverts think deeply and reflect on whatever they have to say before they say it. They thus will only voice an idea that they’ve already refined and might not need much clarification. Introverts also tend to draw keener ears when they speak since everybody understands they only speak when they have something important to say.
Extroverts on the other hand voice any idea that comes into their mind and you might have to separate the chaff from the grain to get what they really intended to put across. It is thus important to ask questions when an extrovert speaks for clarity and a better understanding of what they have to say.
Managing extroverts and introverts
If you are a manager, it is 100% unlikely that you’ll end up with a group full of extroverts or a group full of introverts. In fact, it is 100% unlikely you’ll have two people with exactly the same level of introversion or extroversion. As a manager, it is important to delegate tasks based on your understanding of your team’s personalities. It is, for instance, more prudent to delegate the task of making a presentation to an extrovert while a project that requires keen attention to detail should be given to an introvert to lead.