As a manager, you have to juggle many different personalities in an office. Some people are introverted and some are extroverted. It is your job to be able to identify the differences in personality and change your leadership style to fit each individuals needs. Lets first look at the differences between introverts and extroverts and then some tips on how to best handle each.
Below is a chart with characteristics pertaining to most introverts and extroverts.
|Energy comes from within – introverts must be along to regain their energy.||Energy comes from others – extroverts thrive and are energized by the company of others.|
|Thinking – introverts think best alone, in their mind, before saying anything aloud.||Thinking – extroverts think best aloud and around other people.|
|Decisions and observations – introverts are very observant, great listeners, and need all the details before deciding.||Decisions and observations – extroverts do not need much detail to decide and focus on the big picture more than anything.|
|Attention – introverts do not like being in the spotlight. They are very reserved and tend to stay in the background of a situation.||Attention – extroverts love being the center of attention; they may seek it out and thrive on the attention.|
|Relationships – introverts do not have as many relationships, but the ones they do have are very strong. They may take a while to open up, but once an introvert is comfortable around a person, they are fully committed to the friendship, partnership, relationship etc.||Relationships – extroverts love meeting and talking to new people. The more people they meet, the better.|
As you can see, there are many differences in how introverts and extroverts handle and react to situations. People who have very diverse personality traits should not all be treated the same way.
We have listed below some useful tips in handling each personality trait in the office.
Communicating with Introverts
Introverts much prefer one-on-one communication, but the use of email and texting in preferred over face to face contact. One must be patient when communicating with an introvert because they need the time to extract a thoughtful response instead of being forced to answer on the spot.
If one gives an introvert proper time to communicate, without any surprises, they will excel in their communication skills and provide all the necessary information.
An Introverts Work Environment
Introverts prefer quiet, so they should have a space where they can go to be alone. Even though they like to work alone, it is integral that a manger must make them feel connected with the team. A manager could assign an introvert to a special project in order for them to feel like an important part of the team.
Being patient and understanding with an introvert is one of the key components to allowing them to reach their work potential. It is very important to understand that just because an introvert is not overly responsive, it does not mean they are not listening and understanding. In fact, they are most likely going to exceed expectations because of their attention to detail; they just need space to do so. Tim Backes, from Source Resume said, “You’ll get the most out of an introverted employee by giving them clear expectations and a lot of space”.
Communicating with Extroverts
Extroverts thrive on communication. The best way to communicate with an extrovert is over the phone or in person. They think best when they have someone to bounce ideas off of. If a manager wants to get an extroverts full attention, they should talk to them in person.
An Extroverts Work Environment
An office that is completely collaborative and open is the ideal space for an extrovert. Although many offices do not have this structure, it is important to offer a common space where many people can work if they want. It would be helpful if everyone from one department had a table that they could all work at so they could talk and collaborate on projects and ideas.
Extroverts are hard to keep quiet when they have an idea so it is important to let them speak, but make sure everyone else also has an opportunity if they wish. It is also very important to ask an extrovert a lot of questions. This will ensure that an extrovert understands their tasks and allows the extrovert to develop ideas.
How to Manage
A manager must delegate tasks that best fit each persons personality. It is a mangers job to identify each of their employees personality traits and try and mold their leadership around that. For example, do not ask an introvert to present a presentation and do not ask an extrovert to produce a detailed project.
Each personality type has different skill sets, neither of which is better than the other, but must be handled differently in order to reach potential. If a manager takes the time to understand the needs of their employees, the office will be more productive and the employees will be happier.