Are you a person who is energized by interacting with your coworkers, or do you prefer to work alone and keep news ideas to yourself? If you want to increase your personal effectiveness, personality type may matter more than you think.
According to one recent Harvard Business Review blog post, about half of all Americans are introverts. Both introverts and extroverts appear to be equally creative and able to increase innovation in the workplace, but their success depends on how they act.
In the article, a lab experiment revealed the following behaviors associated with introverts and extroverts:
We found that introverts tend to listen carefully to the creative ideas suggested by others, and they help others feel valued and motivated to do their work. By contrast, extroverts tend to feel threatened by the innovative ideas proposed by others and are thus less receptive to them.
These results highlight two potential problems that you may experience, depending on where you stand on the introvert-extrovert personality continuum: If you are an introvert, you may not feel very comfortable talking openly about your creative ideas with others; but if you are an extrovert, you may be too reluctant to listen to good ideas proposed by others.
As a result of this study, it seems clear that neither introverts nor extroverts can simply maintain the status quo of their personality if they wish to improve their personal effectiveness and increase innovation. If you are strongly introverted or extroverted, some of the following tips may help you to better understand your personality and increase your workplace performance as a result.
How to Increase Innovation Regardless of Personality Type
1. “Reflect on your creative moments and seek out an environment that triggers them.”
Basically, if you reflect on your most fertile creative periods, then you might find patterns that will help you determine when you are most creative and how to maximize that creative process in order to increase innovation. It doesn’t matter whether you can come up with new ideas more easily alone or in groups – it just matters that you choose to act in such a way that maximizes your own performance.
2. “Recognize the pros and cons of your own personality.”
Don’t be caught off guard in a new situation that won’t allow you to perform at your best. Instead, prepare in advance as much as possible for upcoming events. If you are an extrovert about to be sent off on a solo brainstorming session, make time in advance to bounce your ideas off of a few trusted colleagues. If you are an introvert about to be thrown into a group strategy session, prepare notes and ideas on your own in advance so that you are ready to jump into the conversation without having to speak off the cuff.
3. “Try to adapt your personality to the context.”
By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your own personality, you are more likely to succeed in maximizing your performance and adjusting your response to best fit each individual situation.