As managers, when it comes to understanding our work groups, it pays to spend some time studying the introvert and extrovert personality types.
If you consider some of the most famous introverts, you will need to include, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling, Abe Lincoln, Gandhi, Marilyn Monroe, Rosa Parks, and Warren Buffet. If you are an introvert, you are in really good company.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality test used by many organizations to assess an individual’s preferences when dealing with the world, in general. One of the areas assessed by the test, is the inclination for a person to be introverted or extroverted.
In our society, we tend to value the extrovert. You know who they are. You might even be one yourself. They are the gregarious, high-energy, fast-thinking and acting (no moss grows under their feet!) types of individuals, who enjoy working in groups and look to others and outside themselves for inspiration. People, events, and social situations charge their batteries. They’ll be the ones mixing it up at the office parties, being the first to arrive and the last to leave the events. Think Bill Clinton, Oprah, Muhammad Ali, and Steve Jobs. All fall into the extrovert personality type.
Compare this to the introvert, as defined by Myers-Briggs as being the employee who prefers to work alone. This is the person who values downtime, seeing it as productive because it is where they get their best thinking done. They also tend to notice details that slip by others and introverts have a tendency to be good listeners. People, events, and social situations drain the introvert. This is not to say that they can’t function in high- energy, fast-paced situations, it just means that they prefer not to and like the idea of recharging privately after these kinds of encounters.
Our corporate cultures tend to value the extrovert. This personality type is seen as successful, confident, and outgoing. Managers covert this energy on their teams.
But what about the introvert, that seemingly shy person who rarely speaks up at meetings and appears to be low energy most of the time? Don’t they have value too?
The simple answer is, “Yes. They do.” Unfortunately this person is often overshadowed by the extrovert. All that energy forces our focus in their direction.
As managers we need to be aware of people’s styles when facilitating meetings, creating work teams, conducting performance reviews, and generally interacting with those who report to us.
[tweetthis]The best work groups are a blend of extrovert and introvert personality types. [/tweetthis]
Successful managers work at understanding the introvert and the extrovert personalities on their teams and they recognize that both types are necessary and beneficial for optimal group performance.
Having a sensitivity to the introverts on your work team, can go a long way toward better brainstorming and problem resolution based on how this personality type sees and operates in the world. Having introverts on your team is not only desirable, it’s necessary, especially considering how complicated our marketplace and world have become.
What are some of the characteristics you’ve noticed about the introverts on your team?
We always read and appreciate your thoughtful comments! Please share this post with others who might benefit – we love it when you do!