How To Connect & Support Extroverts & Introverts At Work

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As a manager, you will encounter many different personalities and characters, some more introverted and others more extroverted. Managers need to connect and support both extroverts and introverts. Why is this important? Your team needs to feel comfortable in their work environment and in expressing their concerns. Otherwise, you may only find out about your teams’ grievances when they hand their final notice in. 

Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, states, “the single most important aspect of personality…is where we fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum. Humanity would be unrecognisable, and vastly diminished, without both personality styles”. There is no superior style as each has its strengths and weaknesses. 

What strengths do introverts and extroverts bring to the workplace? 

Introverts can be highly creative and imaginative as they favour solitude to brew ideas. Furthermore, they tend to be more analytical and cautious when making decisions, which can be valuable when making important decisions that don’t need to be made instantly. Introverts are very observant and are great listeners, which can make them highly effective learners. 

In contrast, extroverts seek social stimulation to gain energy and love to engage and jump into things. They’re usually assertive, talkative and excited. They’re great at collaborating, connecting with others and have excellent interpersonal skills.

On a side note, you may also encounter ambiverts. Ambiverts have an equal amount of introvert and extrovert characteristics. Moreover, they feel equally energised from being in their own space and amongst others. Ambiverts are great all-rounders and can adapt and connect with different individuals easier than most. 

Relevant: Am I an introvert, extrovert or ambivert?

What Is The Best Way To Communicate With Your Team?

Morra Aarons Mele, author of Hiding in the Bathroom: How to Get Out There When You’d Rather Stay Home, suggests that managers should communicate with their team and ask their employees how they want to connect. Do the individuals in your team prefer email communications, one-to-one meetings, or a coffee hang out? Do you need to adjust your tone or appear more approachable? Are they okay with you dropping by, or do they prefer a scheduled meeting where they can prepare?

A great way of learning how your team likes to connect and be appreciated is by asking what their love languages are. There are 5 love languages, according to Gary Chapman author of, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging PeopleActs of Service, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Tangible Gifts and Appropriate Physical Touch. At Best Practice, we use this technique to learn how to appreciate and communicate with each other better.

How To Conduct Meetings With Introverts And Extroverts In Mind

Jan Bruce, CEO of resilience training provider meQuilibrium, states, “in any given six-person meeting, two people are going to do more than 60 percent of the talking” and this becomes even more apparent in larger groups. Be aware of the quiet-spoken individuals and ensure that they are still able to express themselves. Susan RoAne, the author of How To Work a Room, suggests speaking with the introverted team members before the meeting or after so they can still feel heard. Furthermore, Susan encourages managers to provide ample time for team members to prepare for formal meetings. Lastly, Susan suggests not to single out introverts to speak in front of the group. Instead, offer an open space for discussions and opinions to be shared or split participants into smaller groups. 

Relevant: How To Have Effective Meetings

Open Office Plans And Introverts

You must create quiet spaces within the office or periods of time where there is limited sound for introverts that like to work in peaceful environments. Alternatively, you can suggest for your employees to work from home if their work can allow it. Conduct a survey or directly ask your team how they feel about the office environment and if they can concentrate and focus well.

In conclusion, keep an open line of communication to understand your team better. Consistently check on your team to ensure that they are happy with the workplace culture and environment. As the leader, your number one job is to motivate and train. 

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