No, I am not asking about your bellybutton. That’s getting a little too personal! I am referring to whether you are an introvert or an extrovert.
Now, more than ever, it is okay to say it and be proud. Each of us gather and process information differently. If we were all the same, life would be a bore!
Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, has stood up for introverts world wide. She has brought to light the great contributions introverts have made as well as the complexity in how their minds work and what it takes to get the most from an introvert. Her 2012 TED talk is a great motivator for any introvert and can help extroverts to see the benefits of the other side of the coin.
Typically, introverts prefer less stimulating environments. They do not enjoy highly social events but prefer quiet intimate gatherings with friends. They work better in solitude with little distraction. They prefer to focus on one activity at a time, often studying and contemplating it prior to diving in. It is not that introverts are shy, many are perfectly capable of participating in large groups but prefer and often perform better in less stimulating environments.
Extroverts are energized by social interaction. They feed off this type of stimulation. They enjoy socializing in large groups and could chit chat all night with a variety of new people. In a work environment, they enjoy working within groups and committees, collaborating on ideas and leading conversations.
Both introverts and extroverts can and are effective leaders, it really depends on the type of people working for them. Introverts often empower their teams to make joint decisions and seek innovative solutions, whereas extroverts often grasp at this opportunity for attention to highlight their and their teams’ contributions. Given the opportunity, an introverted leader with an extroverted team can lead to great success in the workplace. Results can be positive with an extroverted leader of passive people but when their team is outspoken, power struggles often ensue. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the bid for leadership positions, extroverts make up the majority of leaders.
By focusing on the strengths of both introverts and extroverts as leaders and team members, embracing their unique workplace needs and being conscientious of our team dynamics, we can diversify the workplace and bring more success in the long run. Are introverts and extroverts embraced differently in your workplace? How so?