How to get a working team of introverts and extroverts

How to get a working team of introverts and extroverts

Adrian Michael Green said: “I observe more than I speak; Just because I’m not saying anything doesn’t mean I have nothing to say. Writing has become my prescriptive choice to communicate my thoughts.”

But from the diary of an extrovert, we find one who “desperately” needs people and declares how he recharges by “sitting near those I love, laughing at their antics and sharing stories.” Being himself, he declares, is exhausting. Extroverts are outgoing while introverts are calm and shy. But that’s not exactly true in all cases.

Extroverts represent anywhere from 50 per cent to 74 per cent of the global population. They enjoy interacting with people, act spontaneously, process ideas by talking with others and prefer a wide range of people. They feel at home anywhere in the world and thrive in fast-paced environments.

Introverts, however, represent anywhere from 26 per cent to 50 per cent of the global population. They usually are inward, quiet, reflect before acting, and are usually comfortable being with themselves.

The workplace is similar to a tiny world of its own. And in this tiny world you are bound to different personalities. With such differences, the two types of people can easily clash at the workplace.

Challenges at the workplace compound when these both personalities do not hesitate from judging each other.

Extroverts usually feel that introverts can’t be good competitors because they are shy, inadequate, and anti-social. Introverts, on the other hand, feel extroverts are rude, needy, egotistical, and may be even desperate to get in others’ good books.

Whether you are a business leader caught up in situations where you need to build teams with diverse backgrounds, personalities, cultures and styles or you fall in either of the groups, it is important to embrace diversity.

Embracing everyone is how to manage teams without causing a breakdown.

If you are an introvert, you need to understand and appreciate the fact that extroverts talk. They like expressing their views, you like it or you don’t.

They have their own strengths and weaknesses, and since they naturally tend to prefer a stimulating work environment, they expect others to catch up and keep pace.

This is one of the most important factors or reasons you would mostly find an extrovert taking the centre stage, talk abstractly about every topic. While there are no specific rules to deal with extroverts, here are some useful tips:

1. Extroverts enjoy attention, so be generous with compliments

2. They like to be heard; allow them to express themselves

3. Respect their confidence and their independence

4. Engage their enthusiasm, don’t cut them short

5. They love surprises, so surprise them

If you are an extrovert, you need to understand and be prepared to give introverts some space. They like observing, understanding and thinking about what they heard before saying something. They are more comfortable writing their thoughts down. Give them space and time.

Be clear about your requirements. They may just end up doing the job perfectly for you. Here are some useful tips:

1. Respect their privacy

2. Give them enough notice for meetings and events

3. Introverts may not express views openly. So don’t push them in public

4. Introverts are great listeners, so don’t go by their body language

5. Don’t push them to make a lot of friends

It is important for both the introverts and extroverts to understand that no one is either superior or inferior. Both are equally skilled and can work wonders as a team provided they know how to and how not to deal with each other.

The key

In fact, research shows that teams which have a good balance of introverts and extroverts produce better results as they make up for each other’s weakness and bridge the gaps better.

The key to make this mix work well is to show respect towards each other and allow some time to understand the person and their personality. Lead by example in both cases.

A major part of business communication is harmony within the office walls. Challenges spark off when the two groups work together because they have opposite personalities but the burden falls on each of us to make it work.

A true leader is secure in creating a framework that encourages others to tap into their own skills and ideas and freely contribute to the success of the organisation.

So, go ahead build a bond, don’t judge, establish a healthy communication channel and create a win-win situation for both.

Sriram is the Founder & Chief Mentor of Kuza Biashara Limited, a capacity building organization coaching youth & SME owners across Africa. Sri chairs Entrepreneurs’ Organisation for Africa. He can be reached @Sbharatam or

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