For quite a long time, the common mindset in the workplace has been that extroverts are more suited to succeed and often make the best leaders. While there are of course several benefits that can be garnered by an extroverted personality, introverts are actually at no less a disadvantage. In fact, several introverts have actually not only excelled in leadership positions, but also risen to gain a much higher level of success than their extrovert counterparts.
One particular example of an introvert that everyone knows as a highly successful leader and entrepreneur is the late Steve Jobs. Another famous introvert is Albert Einstein, and still another Warren Buffet. You might have also heard of Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, and President Barack Obama, who is
The psychological difference between introverts and extroverts
Psychologists agree that extroverts and introverts work in a different manner. Extrovert people tend to tackle their assigned work promptly and they are quick and sometimes rash decision makers. They are also comfortable with risk-taking and multitasking.
On the other hand introverts often work more deliberately and slowly. Further, they prefer to concentrate on a single task at a given time, and they do not like noisy environments and interruptions that interfere with their focus on work.
Extrovert people think out loud. They also prefer talking to listening and are quite comfy with the conflicts, but not with the loneliness.
In contrast, introverted people may have strong social skills and they also enjoy business meetings and some parties, but after a moment they wish they were at home with some good books. They also prefer to devote their social energies to their family as well as very close friends and colleagues. Introverts listen more than they talk, and they also think twice before they speak. Often these people express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They don’t like social conflicts.
Leaders should understand all these points of introverts and extroverts to comprehend their team members’ strengths and temperaments more precisely. The most effective and productive teams comprise a healthy mix of extroverts and introverts.
So how do you build the perfect team of introverts and extroverts?
When putting together a team or small workforce, it is best to know the strengths and weaknesses of all your players. The best teams will benefit from the following factors:
- Open and honest communication with one another
- Motivation and heightened energy, drive and determination
- Team members that bolster others who may not be particularly skilled in one particular area
- A team that understands the work needs of its members and works to enable each member to brainstorm or function in the manner that best suits them
The last factor is especially important, because a workplace is not made up of drones – every individual works in a certain manner that best suits their own personality type. Whereas extroverts might enjoy and feed off of each other’s energy during a focused brainstorming session, introverts may do their best work when left alone for a time.
Listen to your introverts
Even in a team comprised of both introverts and extroverts where all feel comfortable, it is still fairly likely that extroverts will assume more outspoken roles. As a team leader, you can take the time to speak to your introverted team members on an individual basis, and ask them for thoughts, ideas or suggestions on how to improve overall performance or complete a difficult task or project. You might be surprised to discover that introverts often have very good ideas that can rival those of the extroverts.
You will probably also find that in addition to introverts being more productive and prone to good ideas when left alone for a while, they can also be excellent problem solvers. Because their thoughts are often focused inwards, introverts can be more prone to in depth analysis and problem solving, and can often produce details of several possible solutions and their relative outcomes to a particular problem.
Introverts are also good listeners as well, which can be an important aspect when meeting with clients and other colleagues. They can prove to be great motivational speakers just like Adrian Webster, BJ Cunningham, Tony Robbins and many more alike. Providing a great help in encouraging other team members, they will also represent in meetings better than you might think. While the extroverts may be focused more on closing a deal or completing a task, the introverts will be listening to what the client wants and thinking about how best to meet their needs in a way that benefits everyone.
There is no “I” in team
All good team leaders and managers know that there is no “I” in team, but this doesn’t just mean that a team is not comprised of a single individual’s efforts. Team leaders must also realize that there is no such thing as an “Ideal” team. Expecting everyone to show up ready to work at their optimal performance from the moment they clock in until the moment they go home (and even sometimes afterwards) is unrealistic, and can actually serve to lower the motivation of your team.
Your team is comprised of individuals who have real world problems and stressors that may interfere with their work mindset from time to time. That’s why it’s important to create a work environment where individuals can feel comfortable taking a break when they need to, or communication issues in an effort to better focus on the tasks at hand. An uncomfortable work environment only serves to put more stress on your employees, which can lead to a decrease in performance, more mistakes, missed deadlines, and a breakdown of communication.
Do you have experience with a team comprised of both introverts and extroverts? Share your experiences with us!
Images: “personality types word cloud on a vintage blackboard/Shutterstock.com“
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