How to Bring Out the Best in Opposites
Updated: Sep 6
As a leader, being aware of how personality types can influence your business is essential to bringing out the best in your teams. In our last blog we discussed the differences between introverts and extroverts.
Understanding what each of these personality types need in the workplace and developing systems to allow each of them to flourish is key for effective leadership.
For example, introverts may prefer to work alone, prefer written communication, and give a lot of thought to their decision making. In contrast, extroverts may think out loud as they are processing an idea, look for opportunities to collaborate, and have a lower fear of risk. A balance of both personality types creates a dynamic and creative work environment.
When you identify that someone is more introverted, these tips can help bring out the best in their performance:
Create more structure in meetings such as sending agendas before a meeting. This allows an introvert to prepare and increases the likelihood of their participation.
In meetings, ask them directly for an opinion or response. It may not be as easy for them to jump in and participate, especially if they are surrounded by a lot of extroverts.
You may want to provide alternative feedback opportunities for introverts after a meeting. Since they may be uncomfortable participating, giving them other opportunities to share their opinions assures that you are hearing all perspectives.
Introverts are reflective and often enjoy a deep dive into topics. Providing avenues or special projects for introverts to use those skills will build capacity in your teams.
When communicating one on one, recognize that introverts may need some time to collect their thoughts and respond. Be sure you are setting aside ample time for these meetings and don’t rush in to fill pauses. In this way, you create the opportunity to maximize the contribution of your introverted colleagues.
When you identify that someone is more extroverted these tips can help bring out the best in their performance:
Remember they process out loud, so what you first hear may not be their final position. In meetings, be prepared with targeted questions to help them formulate their input.
Extroverts are comfortable participating in meetings and will jump in when they have an idea. You want to allow for some of this to maximize their contribution and you also have to provide processes, like time limits to discussions, to keep meetings on track so they don’t dominate the conversation.
Extroverts may respond well to more bulleted emails or information summarized in a graphic format. You can easily create an email format that has bolded bullets, along with additional narrative so that both your introverts and extroverts will get the information they need.
Extroverts often do their best work in groups because they are energized by being with people. Providing opportunities to break up into small groups to discuss ideas and report back to the larger team will highlight an extrovert's talents.
When meeting one on one, have some notes to keep you on topic. It can be easy for extroverts to get sidetracked as they process. Some of this side tracking may lead to out of the box thinking, but it will also need to be corralled so that meetings are productive.
No one personality type is better than another. They both have skill sets that will benefit any workplace and having a balance of both creates a more robust organization. Cultivating an environment where both introverts and extroverts are valued will maximize the creativity and agility of your business.