We are all on the spectrum between introversion and extroversion. However, some of us are closer to one end than the other. Introversion and extroversion involve personality traits that can shape how co-workers respond and interact with one another. While these differences can be a plus for your teams, they can bring challenges if you are not aware of how to support people who identify with one personality type over another.
One of your goals as a leader is to make sure that your workplace can allow both introvert and extrovert employees to thrive. How can you support them both? Take a look at the tips below:
Understand How They Recharge
How introvert and extrovert employees recharge depends a lot on how they socialize. Introverts are not afraid of socialization and enjoy getting to know others. However, prolonged interactions with others can be draining to them. On the other hand, extroverts are more likely to feel energized by being around others, and isolation can stifle their morale.
Therefore, your goal is to have a balance between encouraging socialization and allowing people to work on their own. This balance is especially necessary if you have professionals who are working from home. Make sure that you give your teams the option to collaborate as well as time to work alone when necessary. It’s also important to have routine meetings and brainstorming sessions, but keep them from going over an hour.
Acknowledge How They Like to Be Recognized
Recognition is not one-size-fits-all. It is a great way to motivate your employees and say thank you. Nevertheless, introvert and extrovert personalities can give insight into how to acknowledge their contributions. This doesn’t mean that everyone will respond this way. Still, you can use this as a baseline to determine the best way to recognize professionals who are closer to both ends of the introversion and extroversion spectrum. Introverts are not as comfortable with public praise, as extroverts may prefer it. So, for an introvert: an email expressing thanks for a job well done or a private meeting is appropriate. Alternatively, an extrovert may appreciate a public acknowledgment of their work on a project or a blog post highlighting their accomplishments.
Be Smart About Office Meetings and Interruptions
This tip is a big one for both groups. The typical extrovert may not see anything wrong with stopping at a colleague’s desk to ask a question. Alternatively, introverts may view this type of behavior as distracting. So, both need their needs met, and you have to take them into account when establishing time for both groups to collaborate. Here are a few ways you can bridge this divide at your office:
- Schedule times for colleagues to physically or virtually collaborate – Work with your team to set up times to allow employees to get together and collaborate on projects or ask each other questions. Scheduling this time and letting introverts know in advance fulfill their needs while prioritizing time for interaction supports the extroverts.
- Invest in collaboration software – This is another way to ensure your employees can collaborate while allowing both personality groups to get what they need. For example, investing in a tool like Slack will enable extroverts to quickly and efficiently reach out to teammates. Still, it also gives introverts the option to read and respond to messaging when they have the time and without distraction.
Both groups need interaction and collaboration. However, your goal is to make sure everyone can do this in a way that makes them both comfortable.
Create an Environment Where They Can Work Through Their Thought Processes
Introverts and extroverts process information differently. You can help them thrive by acknowledging this and developing strategies to help them solve problems and arrive at solutions. When introverts have to make a decision, they may like to take some time away from the situation to reflect and weigh all options.
On the other hand, extroverts may want to bounce ideas off someone and talk through their choices. If you ever need an answer from an introvert about a project or decision, allow them the time to think through their next move. For extroverts, give them the chance to schedule time with you to discuss solutions.
Balancing the Needs of Introverts and Extroverts Will Help Your Company In the Long-Run
When your employee’s needs are met, their satisfaction and productivity increase, and acknowledging the personality differences of introvert and extrovert employees can help lead to this. Understanding how they prefer to work, communicate, and figure out problems, will allow you to create an environment where individuals on both ends of the spectrum will thrive and move your business forward.
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