How to Create a Culture That Equally Values Introverts and Extroverts

Learn the key differences between extroverts and introverts and how you can harness both personality types to create a cohesive team.

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culture that values introverts and extroverts

A unified, collaborative, and cohesive workplace is one of the keys to creating high-performing teams. This can be a challenge when your team has both introverts and extroverts working together, though. These two personalities work, act, and think differently.

Extroverts are typically outgoing, share their thoughts quickly, and enjoy the spotlight. Introverts tend to think things through, may need prompting to share, and avoid the spotlight.

Learning how to manage these different personality types in the workplace is crucial to building your team.

The differences between extroverts and introverts

In general, extroverts are naturally outgoing while introverts tend to be more introspective. Here are some of the other traits that separate how extroverts and introverts work and act.

Common personality traits of extroverts

  • Talk more, learn by sharing
  • Oriented toward action, make decisions quickly
  • Enjoy group settings
  • Recharge by socializing with others
  • Enjoy being the center of attention
  • May be easily distracted

Extroverts tend to relate well to others, are more likely to take a leadership role, and stay positive. When they focus this energy in the right direction, they can be superstar employees.

Extroverts tend to relate well to others, are more likely to take a leadership role, and stay positive. When they focus this energy in the right direction, they can be superstar employees.

Common personality traits of introverts

  • Listen more, learn through observation
  • Want to think things through before acting
  • Prefer one-on-one conversations
  • Recharge by spending time alone
  • Can be more focused and concentrate for long stretches
  • Tend to hide emotions

 Introverts in the workplace often work diligently without making a lot of noise. They are also more likely to be self-aware and self-conscious.

You’ll find introverts in every organization. They may be your best, most consistent performers. Introverts in the workplace often work diligently without making a lot of noise. They are also more likely to be self-aware and self-conscious.

When we talk about personality types, it’s important not to force people into one box or another. In reality, many people display traits of both types. For example, some introverts act like extroverts in their social circle or when work situations call for it. People may show tendencies of both personality types somewhere between the extremes.

Most workplaces favor extroverts

While introverts are often happy to quietly do a good job, extroverts often seek rewards such as public acknowledgment and promotions. This can lead to an imbalance as it may appear that extroverts are more motivated to perform at a higher level.

It’s well documented that businesses tend to have a cultural bias in favor of extroverts. A study in the Harvard Business Review reported that 65% of senior executives say introversion is a “barrier to leadership.”  This may be why another study showed 96% of executives identified as extroverts.

Business leaders need to recognize this cultural bias. To build an efficient, productive, and inclusive workplace, leaders need to create a culture where everyone can flourish and contribute.

How to make your workplace culture work for both personality types

Learning how to manage different personalities is a key ingredient in optimizing productivity and creating a cohesive team. This requires an inclusive workplace culture to make everyone feel comfortable and bring out their best efforts.

We all know that we need to treat people fairly in the workplace. That shouldn’t equate to treating everyone the same, though. Treating people fairly requires business leaders to adapt their treatment to fit individuals. The best leaders know it takes a different approach when managing extroverts vs. managing introverts.

Introverts need time and space to be effective. Extroverts need opportunities to collaborate and communicate openly. Here are some of the other ways managers can encourage both extroverts and introverts to create a positive workplace culture.

Tips for managing extroverts

Extroverts are typically more willing to jump right in and get started. They are action-oriented and excited. Managers should fuel their passion while helping them think things through and surface the best ideas.

  • Let them dive right into projects.
  • Encourage their enthusiasm.
  • Let them speak as they think.
  • Listen to their ideas.
  • Allow them to work on more than one thing at a time.

Managers should also provide coaching for extroverts that helps them to work better as a team. This might include:

  • Remind them to listen to others’ ideas.
  • Ask them to solicit participation from teammates.
  • Encourage them to think before speaking and ask themselves whether their input will add value.

Tips for managing introverts

Introverts may take a moment to proceed. Managers should respect their process, provide them the information they need to make decisions, and give them one-on-one attention.

  • Let them think before speaking.
  • Listen carefully when they do speak.
  • Give them time to make decisions.
  • Respect their private nature.
  • Appreciate their desire to work independently.

However, managers should also encourage introverts to:

  • Set aside time during the day to plan and think.
  • Maintain connections with other people in the workplace.
  • Make efforts to communicate and collaborate with others.

Adapting your management style

It’s also important to think about the way you interact with each personality type and design your workplace culture. While extroverts may enjoy the spotlight, introverts shy away from it. To manage both groups effectively, managers should adapt their style in a few key ways.

Communication

  • Extroverts tend to prefer in-person conversations, group settings, and phone/video calls.
  • Introverts tend to favor email, text, instant messages, and individual meetings.

Office settings

  • Extroverts tend to like open areas which foster social interactions.
  • Introverts tend to prefer privacy where they can be left alone to do their job.

Recognition

  • Extroverts tend to respond better to public praise and recognition in group settings or meetings.
  • Introverts tend to react better to private praise, such as a one-on-one conversation or by email.

Managers should think about how to create a culture that maximizes the strengths of both groups, especially in cases where they are working together. During meetings, for example, introverts may not be comfortable speaking up spontaneously. It might help to provide agenda items before the meeting to help introverts think through important details.

Extroverts may be very comfortable in group settings and brainstorming ideas. Managers should acknowledge good ideas in front of peers but be careful not to let extroverts hijack the meeting.

Make room for everyone’s contributions

Strong business leaders know it’s crucial to work with employees’ strengths and weaknesses to build an effective team. Take the time to learn how to get the best out of each of your team members. You’ll be well on your way to building a strong workplace culture that values everyone.

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