Office Personalities: Introverts and Extroverts in the Workplace

Office Personalities: Introverts and Extroverts in the Workplace

In any given workplace, you’ll encounter a variety of personality types, from bouncy and bubbly to subtle and shy. Tending to the professional needs of both the introverts and extroverts in your organization can help you to maximize the potential of each and every employee while also boosting the success of your company.

But how do you know what’s best for each personality type, and what if you have a mix of both? Find out how to make all of your employees comfortable and happy in this post.

Introverted Employees

Introverts are known for being quieter and more reserved than their counterparts. While extroverts gain energy from social interaction, introverts are energized by time spent alone or in a small group. So what is an ideal work environment for them?

Workspaces for Introverts

Since your employees are likely influenced by their workspaces, it’s important that their space makes them feel comfortable and productive. That means that introverts usually work best when they have an office or private area of their own to work in.

But not every business is able to provide that, so another option, specifically for businesses that have open-concept offices or where employees are grouped together, is to:

  • Allow employees to work from home part-time.
  • Adopt flexible hours, so that employees can choose to be there during quiet hours if they’d prefer.

Work Activities for Introverts

Activities, such as staff parties, team building exercises, conferences, and seminars are a part of almost every office. It’s nearly impossible to please everyone when it comes to these types of events, but by being aware of what activities your employees prefer, you can be prepared for the next time you plan something.

Introverts tend to prefer events that:

  • Are suited for smaller groups.
  • Exercise their minds.
  • Play to their skills or knowledge.
  • Don’t call them into the spotlight.
  • Don’t throw them outside of their comfort zones.

Engaging Introverted Employees

Introverts can be very well-informed about topics they are passionate about. They tend to be driven by their interests, and can provide a lot of educated insight when prompted. But how can you get them to open up and share?

Some of the best ways to get your introverted employees to engage with you are:

  • Meeting with them one-on-one.
  • Letting them know what a meeting is about beforehand so that they can prepare.
  • Asking questions that pertain to their interests and expertise.
  • Providing written requests or emails so that they can take time to research them and give you an informed answer.

Motivating Introverted Employees

As mentioned before, introverts glean their energy from solitude. They generally prefer not to be the center of attention, so when motivating them, you need to make sure that you are actually providing a positive experience to them as opposed to a negative one.

You can motivate introverted employees by:

  • Providing one-on-one feedback and encouragement for a job well done.
  • Giving them more responsibility.
  • Respecting their privacy and space.
  • Providing clear deadlines and timelines.
  • Communicating clearly, with organized and efficiently planned tasks.

Extroverted Employees

Extroverted people pull energy from social situations. Conversing, interacting, and socializing empower and impassion them. They prefer to spend time with others and enjoy activities of any kind.

Workspaces for Extroverts

Extroverts were made for open-office concepts. They are inspired and motivated by other people, and feed off of social energy. The ideal workspace for extroverts is within a group of other people, but if your business can’t accommodate that, you can also offer:

  • Shared workspaces.
  • Open door policies.
  • Daily or weekly team meetings.

Work Activities for Extroverts

Extroverts want to participate. They want to be part of a cohesive team that works together to reach a goal. They are the ideal candidates for activities like team building exercises and company-wide staff parties. They tend to enjoy events that:

  • Include large groups of people.
  • Engage, entertain, and energize.
  • Allow them to be social with other employees.
  • Encourage them to enter the spotlight.

Engaging Extroverted Employees

Think of your extroverted employees as social flowers that may wither if left too long without the nourishment of conversation or interaction. To engage them, try:

  • Frequent meetings, mixing both one-on-one updates and group sessions.
  • Inviting them to brainstorm new concepts and ideas with others, including those from different departments.
  • Asking for progress reports on projects and assignments.
  • Asking for their opinions and suggestions.

Motivating Extroverted Employees

Your extroverted employees are motivated by communication and high-energy environments. They are enthusiastic and sometimes boisterous, but you can encourage them to stay on track by:

  • Inviting them to plan or suggest workplace events.
  • Setting rewards for goals once they are accomplished.
  • Highlighting their achievements and acknowledging their work.
  • Setting challenges both for individuals and groups.

Mixing Introverts and Extroverts in the Workplace

You’re never going to make all of your employees perfectly happy, unless they all have very similar personalities and life goals. But you can at least try to be aware of the different personality types within your workplace so that you can take both introverted and extroverted employees into account when evaluating how to improve employee satisfaction.

Group Workspaces

If you can’t have an either/or workspace, find a happy balance by combining the two. In mostly extroverted spaces, offer other options for people who become worn out from that much interaction. In segregated workspaces, encourage meetings and socialization when possible to create a team atmosphere.

Group Activities

As with many things in life, a workable compromise is often a good choice when opinions differ. If you’re planning a group activity for your employees, consider something that sees to both introverts and extroverts. How? Perhaps the answer is to have one main event, such as a company-wide holiday lunch, and then allow each department or group an allowance to do with as they please.

Or, have a work lunch and then give out gift cards or an extra day off as a gesture of appreciation.

Engaging a Group

Introverts and extroverts handle social situations differently, so finding a way to engage with both can be tough. While extroverts might enjoy an interactive brainstorming session, it might make introverts feel uncomfortable.

To keep everyone in a good place, inform them of the meeting and topics beforehand and keep to a schedule. This will help introverts to feel more structured and comfortable while extroverts will get the socialization they need.

Motivating a Group

The best way to motivate your team is to see to their individual needs. Each employee should feel personally motivated in order for them to make meaningful contributions to the team.

You can motivate your group by combining both introverted and extroverted communication methods, such as conducting one-on-one updates as well as a weekly group meeting.

Mix and Match Management

The key to keeping your employees happy is to take an interest in the individual, not the qualifications. If you make an effort to consider their preferences, your business can benefit in a plethora of ways.

Both personality types can work wonders for your business, and you may find that having a mixture of both is the best way to maximize its potential. Extroverts bring in clients and customers, they encourage passion and engagement from those around them, while introverts provide valuable insight and deep expertise to push your company forward.

Do you consider yourself to be an extrovert or an introvert in the workplace?

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Brittany Foster

Marketing Writer at LawDepot
Brittany is an ardent reader, writer, and blogger.
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