At first glance, extroverts can seem like ideal employees. They’re affable, personable, and love being at the forefront of any issue to be discussed or problem to be solved. But at times, extroverts can come across as domineering or reckless, jumping into situations or conversations and possibly intimidating more introverted clients and colleagues. What are the best steps for managing extroverts and allowing them to thrive in a workplace environment? Read on to find out.
At their core, extroverts are people who find energy and inspiration in interacting with other people. Where introverts might get overwhelmed by too much social interaction and seek a quiet place to recharge, extroverts tend to find solitary situations boring and unfruitful, preferring instead to engage with others. Extroverts tend to “talk out” their problems, using the input (and attention) of others as collaborative inspiration. Often, extroverts have little self-awareness of how their vocal behaviors might influence the team; they don’t mean to sound preachy or bossy, but they’re just naturally energetic and outgoing.
Managing extroverts as team members.
Where introverts like to observe during meetings and social situations, extroverts prefer to be active participants. This can have a negative effect on quieter team members because they feel like they don’t have an opportunity to have their voices heard. Encouraging mindfulness as an awareness of oneself as part of a larger organization or context might be helpful here. Acknowledge the positive attributes of extroverts publicly, but remind them privately of the overwhelming impact they might have in these meetings. Try recruiting them as facilitators to encourage input from other less-vocal team members. Communicating the perspectives of others (while still allowing the extrovert to contribute his or her own) is a sign of competent leadership.
Allowing space for extroverts to be themselves.
Extroverts are people who tend to prefer an open office floor plan, but the distractions of frequent conversation can be troublesome for others. Keeping extroverts close together might help; they can discuss issues among themselves and leave others to work independently. If the office is too small for this to be effective, or if you have a closed floor plan, try creating a brainstorming space in an unused conference room or the office kitchen, and encourage extroverts to work closer together. Their best ideas come from these collaborative environments, and they should be fostered as much as possible.
The ability to manage different personalities is a hallmark of a strong leader. Interested in the best approaches to communicating effectively with different types of behaviors? Employee Development Systems delivers results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, & performance.
Photo by rawartistsmedia via Flickr
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