- Search Jobs
- Employer Directory
- Career Center
- My Tools
- Other GN Sites
There has recently been considerable interest among introverts and extroverts and their success in an organisational setting. Who performs better? And how can we use this knowledge effectively?
Extroverts favour constant external stimulation, often think out loud and recharge through large gatherings and shared ideas. On the other hand, introverts prefer working in quieter environments, like to process their thoughts before speaking and prefer one-to-one meetings or small group interactions. Of course, the level of introversion and extroversion is a spectrum and there are individual differences at play.
Studies indicate that both extroverts and introverts can become good leaders and that the leadership style should be dependent on the company's culture and personalities. There is no ''one size fits all'' model. Both can (and should) learn from one another.
A typical working environment does not take into account individual differences and largely facilitates extroverts. There is a trend for open-plan offices, brainstorming meetings and where networking and sociability are key to progression. Unfortunately, introverts are often overlooked due to these setups. Susan Cain, writer of Quiet, argues that we undervalue introverts and lose many good ideas in doing so.
As a leader, it is important to consider how you might want to get the best out of introverted team members. Introverts may have a preference for a meeting agenda ahead of time. Allowing for ''one-to-ones'' or discussions after group meetings might also help elicit great ideas that have not been discussed by introverted employees. Introverts often have a strong ability to listen and a preference for delving deeper into ideas before moving on to new ideas; therefore, you might like to select an introvert to take the ''in-depth'' questioning position.
Understanding your employees' personality types and facilitating positive interactions can lead to countless ideas. Introverts and extroverts should learn from one another to become more successful.
• Leaders must understand each employee's personality type
• They must try to get the best out of introverted team members
• Both extroverts and introverts are vital in leadership positions
Get tips regarding setting performance standards
Source: Nicola Turner, Special to Jobs & Careers
The writer is Organisational Psychologist, HRI&C