How Sherlock Holmes Can Help You Understand Your People
Updated: Sep 6
Sherlock Holmes is on the case!
His job is to root out the introverts and extroverts at a party. He slowly circles the room looking for the tell tale signs. The extroverts will be the outgoing, talkative ones. The introverts will be those sitting alone in the corner staring at their phones.
After circling like a shark for hours observing everyone at this party, it seems like there are only a few introverts and a lot of extroverts.
But is that really true? Or was Sherlock looking at the wrong evidence?
If he only counted people sitting quietly in the corners as introverts then he made an incorrect deduction.
Mr. Holmes needed to first understand the essence of introversion and extroversion.
Extroverts focus their energy on the outer world. They become energized by being with people, speak up readily, and find it easy to strike up a conversation. They may process their thoughts out loud and take action quickly, but silence can make them uncomfortable.
Introverts focus their energy inwards. Spending time alone is energizing to them. They are reflective and more tuned in to their inner world. They like time to gather their thoughts before participating, so they may come across as more reserved.
Whether someone identifies as an introvert or extrovert is a matter of degree. Think of it on a scale, with some people being on the edges of the scale while others are more in the middle.
So with this understanding, what evidence did Sherlock Holmes need to focus on in order to root out the introverts and extroverts?
He needed to look at what happened after the party. Introverts and extroverts can look exactly the same at a party; talking to people and engaging in social activities. The difference is that at the end of the party the extrovert will want to keep going and be the one suggesting a nightcap. The introvert will want to go home alone and curl up with a comfy blanket and read a good book to recharge.
Understanding this difference is essential in the workplace. Extroverts and introverts both provide value, but their innate differences can lead to misunderstandings creating tension in an organization. With a few tips, leaders can enhance the effectiveness of their business by cultivating the strengths of these personality types.
Stay tuned to our next blog for how to do this in your organization.