Everyone has a unique personality. That’s part of the reason why people are so interesting. But sometimes, personalities clash. When it comes to working in a team, knowing how to manage different personality types is a vital skill. While we are all unique, it is generally accepted that we all sit on a spectrum of introversion and extroversion. It’s common in the workplace for personalities from different areas of the spectrum to collide and it can be a challenge to work with or manage introverts and extroverts.
Everyone has different skills and these are often reflected in their personalities. The best teams know how to get the most out of every member and leverage their skills in the best possible way. Here is how to effectively manage both introverts and extroverts, as told by Montash.
People who are introverted tend to be inward turning, or focused more on themselves and their internal thoughts. They are happiest in their own company and do not trust easily, preferring to rely on themselves than others.
Being very self-aware, introverts can be prone to anxiety and imposter syndrome. Their self-critical nature, if proactively managed can be a powerful driver for personal growth.
Tips for managing introverts
Introverts like a plan. They are used to being in control of their own lives, so expand this out to their team environment. Sometimes all it takes is giving advance notice for events and projects, and sticking with a schedule to ease their anxiety. They’ll feel more comfortable and appreciate your consideration.
- Use Technology
Introverts prefer one-on-one conversation to group meetings. Hosting a conversation online, over Slack or Skype is often enough for introverts to feel more comfortable. This allows for introverts to provide their thoughts in a setting that is suited for their personality.
- Be Patient
It takes time for introverts to articulate their thoughts and warm up to a group before sharing. That doesn’t mean they aren’t listening or that they have nothing to say. An introvert prefers to take some time to process information and respond in a considered way. Sometimes, the best ideas take time to blossom.
- Provide Airtime
Once ready, introverts need a chance to speak, and since they likely won’t ask for it, you might need to give them a little push. Reach out to them in private or follow up individually after meetings. Provide them with an opportunity to share their ideas without forcing them to present to the entire team.
- Team Leaders
Extroverts are outgoing, sociable and high energy. This can lead to many extroverts being seen as attention-seeking and easily distracted. They have a broad range of interests, work well in groups and enjoy talking about themselves and their ideas.
Extroverts spend more time engaged in social activities and tend to make more friends than introverts. Research has also suggested that extroverts tend to be happier than introverts. On the other hand, extroverts are also more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviours.
Tips for managing extroverts
Extroverts draw energy from social interaction. They love working in large groups, so meetings, team lunches and brainstorming sessions are their natural element.
- Ask questions
You can direct the flow of an extrovert by asking them questions. Extroverts love to share their knowledge, so ask the right questions and you’ll be able to glean the most value out of them.
- Give them the floor
Extroverts can easily become frustrated if they aren’t given a chance to voice their views. Make sure they have a forum to express themselves and share their thoughts and views.
- Be assertive
To control an extrovert’s outpouring of information and turn it into something constructive, you need to be assertive. Carefully control when they can speak and for how long in order to make sure they don’t take over a meeting. You need to allow everyone in a meeting to say their piece, not just the extroverts.
Managing a team of different personality types
Everyone is different, even those that fall into the same social category. Not all introverts are created equally! A diverse team needs a flexible, unique management style. Managers need to recognise the temperament of every team member and delegate tasks in such a way as to highlight specific members’ strengths. Weaknesses should be shored up by the strengths of others, so everyone supports everyone else.
You’ll get the most out of an introverted employee by giving them clear expectations and a lot of space. As long as goals and deadlines are understood, there’s no need to hover over their shoulders and micromanage. Extroverts are stimulated by things like public praise and accolades. Focus on praising the steps your extroverts take towards success and keep negative feedback to a minimum in front of co-workers.
Sometimes, as an employee or a manager, you have to work with people who have completely different personalities to you. The secret is to find a way to work together to achieve positive results. At the end of the day, no matter what your personality, we’re all working towards success.
More on managing staff and getting more from extrovert employees.
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