Everyone gets labelled one way or the other – we’re all either an extrovert or an introvert, and there is no middle ground, according to some people! The popular culture definition of an extrovert is someone who is loud and outgoing, and an introvert is quiet and shy. But this isn’t strictly speaking entirely accurate.
An extrovert gains energy from socialising with others, whereas an introvert charges their batteries by retreating from the social scene and instead seeking solitude for a while.
Extroverts and introverts are polar opposites and yet you’ll find both in the workplace. So can they work well together, and more importantly, how can they work well together?
1. Encourage Them To Give Each Other Space
An extrovert can be an introvert’s worst nightmare, and vice versa. While they may get on well in small doses, an extrovert and introvert can quickly start to rub each other up the wrong way the longer they are forced to spend time together, so encourage them to work apart when they can. An introvert will take to this usually pretty easily, whereas an extrovert may take some time to see the benefit.
2. Educate Your Team About The Differences
It’s hard to convince an extrovert that someone might not find their enthusiastic positivity energising – rather, it might be extremely draining for some people. For someone to accept that their personality style can affect someone else badly, they must be educated on how and why, and also reassured that it is not their fault – it’s just the way we are all wired. Once the extrovert or introvert has more knowledge on how their polar opposite feels, they will be able to show consideration and adapt their behaviour to the best of their ability.
3. Allow Each To Play To Their Strengths
Under the guise of ‘development’, many employers force employees into situations that make them extremely uncomfortable – such as a shy person into a public speaking role or in an unfamiliar networking environment. But this is unlikely to achieve much other than tormenting the employee in question, making them resent you, and encouraging them to start job hunting. Once you’ve identified the strengths of each of your team members, tailor their work to those strengths as best as you can, and don’t try to force a square peg into a round hole. It will take years!
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Whether your team members collaborate effectively or not, recognising certain personality types and the way they interact with others can help a great deal in constructing a team of diverse people that can thrive together and collectively perform greater than the sum of their parts.
A great team often has a great leader directing everything, and great leadership starts with you. If you’d like to improve your leadership skills in order to build a more effective team, make an enquiry with PDW today.
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