The corporate world is composed of different types of people, all with unique quirks and personalities. Despite the differences, psychologists have effectively categorized these various behaviors into a science. When it comes to social interactions, there are 2 distinct personality types, known as introverts and extroverts. As defined by Dictionary.com:
Introvert [(in-truh-vurt)] A term introduced by the psychologist Carl Jung to describe a person whose motives and actions are directed inward. Introverts tend to be preoccupied with their own thoughts and feelings and minimize their contact with other people.
Extrovert [(ek-struh-vurt)] An outgoing, gregarious person; one concerned primarily with the physical and social environment.
As an HR professional, you should be able to distinguish the unique differences in each personality type in order to ensure good office chemistry among the employees. How can introverts work with extroverts in the Office? Here are 5 solid steps on how the HR can successfully mesh the two personality types.
1.) Know your employees.
The first step is by knowing each employee’s personality type. The best way to do this is by administering the Briggs-Myers test. It’s a simple multiple choice test which contains a list of situations, and the participant would then choose what behaviors he most associates with.
Though the questions and situations given may vary, its underlying principle essentially asks the participant: “What are your tendencies and competencies?” The result would then reveal if the participant is an introvert or an extrovert.
As an HR professional, you actually play a huge role not only for the company but also for the individual employees themselves. By making them aware of their personality type, they’ll be more effective at work if they play to their strengths. On the other hand, they would also learn more about their deficiencies, thus they can also work towards further self-improvement.
2.) Have the proper mindset.
Introverts usually get a bad rap from Extroverts, who think that they’re just not in the mood to talk and can snap out of their shy nature by simply going out more. On the other hand, extroverts are thought of as these talkative, annoying buffoons with no Stop button to turn them off.
The truth is that one personality type is not “better” over the other. It’s a range, after all; similar to the colors of the rainbow. It would be absurd to claim with absolute certainty that Red is a better color than violet, for example.
However, it would be reasonable to claim that one personality type is more suited for a certain job over the other. For instance, a naturally shy employee would not fare well if he is placed in the Externals team, who are constantly exposed to clients and social interaction. Similarly, an extrovert with all his passion and enthusiasm for socializing would not be in his element if he is merely shackled to a desk job and forced to work on papers and spreadsheets, with no one to talk to.
3.) Instruct and raise awareness among the employees.
After having the proper mindset, the HR’s next task is to instruct its employees about the different personality types. There are many ways of doing so, such as talks, team building activities, and through resource materials available online.
An example of a great resource is ‘The Quiet Revolution.’ It provides a wealth of articles which are practical and useful for the office introvert. With articles like “Warren Buffet: The World’s Richest Introvert” and “How to be Heard When You Aren’t the Loudest Voice in the Room”, it is indeed keeping true to its tagline and vision: Unlocking the Power of Introverts. Check out their website at Quite Revolution.
When it comes to local talks and seminars, there are many brilliant Human Resource organizations in the Philippines such as PMAP and PSTD. Featuring talks such as “Self-Mastery and Workplace Relationship Management for Training Professionals,” it’s worth looking into if you want to improve your skillset. For inquiries and reservations, visit their websites at www.pmap.org and www.pstd.org
4.) Maximize your employees’ strengths and minimize their weaknesses
Delegation is the key to effectiveness in the office. Now armed with the proper knowledge, the employees should be given tasks which would best suit their personality type.
Given a team of copywriters for example, Shy Sam should be delegated to the paperwork and drafting aspect while Outgoing Andy should be the one to talk during presentations and interact with the clients.
After all, solid results can be achieved by maximizing strengths in the office. To quote Jennifer Kahnweiler, “The new model of work requires that we collaborate and understand how extroverts and introverts are wired differently. Not understanding how these different wires can cross can cause serious damage in being productive, satisfied, and ultimately in serving your customers.
Your natural disposition toward or away from solitude, your preference for thinking or talking aloud and being private or an open book are all potential causes for disagreement. Though their styles are divergent and these unlikely duos take work to succeed, the magic rises from their differences. The results of their collaboration look like they came from a single mind.”
5.) Proper balance and interaction should also be fostered among the employees.
Lastly, it’s also crucial to maintain proper balance among the employees in the office. This “balance” that is being talked about comes in two forms: The first aspect concerns the employee’s individual skills. The second aspect is with regard to his interaction with the rest of the workplace.
First, no single employee should exclusively possess all of the talents and skills of the group, thereby making him indispensable. Nor should employees be exempted from certain tasks just because of differences in personality.
For instance, being an introvert should not be an excuse for an employee to skip group seminars and conferences. There should be collective growth in the office; not only playing to each individual’s strengths, but also addressing and improving deficiencies as well.
The second type of balance refers to the group dynamic within the office. A group of introverts would need an extrovert for social interactions. Conversely, extroverts would benefit from the insightful opinions of an introvert in making tough decisions. Overall, “balance” is the key word when it comes to these employee interactions.
With the proper mindset and a calibrated approach, introverts and extroverts can definitely achieve shared success in the workplace. Hopefully, this success translates into real world results that are out to change the world.
To quote Susan Cain from the Quiet Revolution: “Figure out what you are meant to contribute to the world and make sure you contribute it. If this requires public speaking or networking or other activities that make you uncomfortable, do them anyway. But accept that they’re difficult, get the training you need to make them easier, and reward yourself when you’re done.”