Introverts are not likely to share ideas in a large setting, whereas extroverts welcome the public communication. Get the most out of your introverted staff by providing a smaller group setting where they can shine. Large, weekly meetings aren’t as productive as was previously thought. Consider making that a monthly meeting, and have a weekly get together of smaller work groups, so they can have more back and forth conversation and idea sharing, instead of listening to updates about coworkers’ projects.
The “open concept” workplace works well for extroverts, who love bouncing ideas off of coworkers. But introverts? They may see this as a distraction, and a challenge to focusing on their job. Many companies have balanced out the modern open concept office with some designated quiet spaces, where workers can take their computer and not be interrupted.
Or how about designating the first half of the day to work-only, with no interruptions? The innovative software company, 37 Signals, has done this, and finds that it cuts down on lost time in the first part of the day, when many extroverts are flitting around from desk to desk, bouncing ideas off of coworkers. Temper this tendency by keeping everyone at their desk, getting a handle on high priority tasks. By lunchtime, they will likely have a different set of priorities, and will think more carefully before interrupting others’ workflow.
Help extroverts keep productivity up by setting up an impromptu meeting room that doesn’t require reservations or arrangement. Then they can give a call to the colleague they want to talk to and meet there. This leaves surrounding people working, uninterrupted by “fly by” chats.
Are extroverts ideal candidates for promotions to management? Not necessarily. They may have natural people skills, but the thoughtful consideration of an introvert may be just as valuable for the role you need to fill.
Introverts may be more approachable, and set a calm atmosphere for the department. On the other hand, extroverts often have a natural ability to draw the team together and encourage engagement through their outward enthusiasm.
Learning to manage personality styles is just one of the critical skills taught in our Communicating to Manage Performance program. Learn more here or contact us to find out how other companies have benefited from our practical, results-oriented programs.
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