Are You Outnumbered? E-I-E-I-OH!Introvert - Extrovert Image

Everyone has a natural preference for Extroversion and Introversion.

The Swiss psychologist Carl Jung recognized that people have a preferred mode in which they embrace the world. This mode, much like right or left handedness, is inborn and not something that we choose.

Extraverts and introverts differ in what they present to the world and how they recharge.

For extroverts, their natural energies, perceptions and decisions flow outward toward the world of people and things. They are stimulated by their surroundings.

Introverts have natural energies, perceptions and decisions flowing inward toward the world of thought and ideas. Internal processes stimulate the introvert.

Have you ever been on a team or with a group where you felt like everyone else was the opposite preference?

In their book, Work it Out-Using Personality Type to Improve Team Performance, by Sandra Krebs Hirsh and Jane A.G. Kise, outline what introverts and extroverts should do when they are faced with a “one or a few among many” situation.

For introverts surrounded by a team of extroverts consider: arriving at work early to take advantage of quiet time, seeking out private reflective time (e.g. take the long way home), planning private breaks throughout the day to collect your thoughts and accepting that you may need to voice your partially thought out perspectives.

For extroverts on a team with introverts, think about the following actions: networking with others outside your team, asking others to voice their ideas, using care in how much you are talking, paying attention to the written word and allowing others time to think (count to ten if you need to!) after you make a suggestion.

The greatest gift people can give is respect and acceptance of other’s differences. Extraverts and Introverts bring strengths to the team with opposite behaviors. Both preferences need to be type aware and flex their communication style to connect.

Remember these basic strategies:

  • With Extraverts – Let them talk and think out loud, include a variety of topics, communicate verbally, expect immediate action and keep the conversation going.
  • With Introverts – Ask, then listen carefully, talk about one thing at a time, communicate in writing (if possible), give them adequate time to reflect and don’t finish their sentences.

Use type differences in constructive ways to build your team. A little understanding can go a long way in connecting with others and developing lasting relationships.