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How to help your introverts and extroverts reach their full potential

Published by: LifeWorks,

Every office has a version of the quiet man who happily works in his office alone, or the energetic woman who loves spearheading brainstorming sessions.

Both introverts and extroverts are vital to successful business structure. In order to get the most out of them, you need to adopt employee engagement strategies that cater to their personality types.

There are a lot of common misconceptions about both types that can negatively represent them.

For example, many people assume introverts are shy and hate talking. They also think they make bad leaders. On the other hand, extroverts get labelled as overly boisterous and cocky. Many assume they’re bad listeners.

These are negative stereotypes. The truth is they both bring several unique strengths. When they work together, your company can thrive.

Let’s take a look at what makes them unique and explore employee engagement strategies that work for them:

Introverts

These types of employees are attentive listeners. When they’re quiet, they aren’t ignoring their surroundings; they’re focused on processing information and stimuli. Also, while they may not seem to be engaged during meetings or brainstorming sessions, they’re bound to come back with ideas that are well thought out and detailed.

When they feel forced to be an extrovert, it causes a negative employee experience and you risk making them feel left behind. Forcing them to be an extrovert tells them they can’t succeed with their current set of strengths, which is not true. They shouldn’t be forced to compromise who they are.

The first step toward relating to introverts and tailoring employee engagement strategies to them is acknowledging and celebrating their tendency toward introversion.

Here are some great ways to better engage introverts and help them succeed:

Schedule Ahead – Give them clear deadlines and schedules. They like to prepare and think things through ahead of time.

This also applies to managing their projects. Don’t force them to show their progress on the spot. Instead, schedule check-ins on a regular basis.

Assign Consistent Teams – Instead of having a lot of close relationships, introverts prefer to make deeper connections with fewer people. Sticking them in large groups with different people makes it hard for them to build a rapport.

Help them feel comfortable relating to others in the office. Assign them to be on teams with the same co-workers on various projects.

Send Messages or Emails – Dropping by their office to ask questions might throw them off. Introverts like to consider things and determine their conclusion once they fully analyze a situation.

It’s best to give them time to internalize, so try making requests through written communication. They express themselves better when they have time to form their ideas, not on the fly.

Extroverts

These employees get energized from engaging with others, which is the opposite of introverts, who need to recharge in solitude. They need a schedule that keeps their energy up, and that should include a good amount of collaboration.

Don’t treat them like an introvert or give them work that doesn’t align with their strengths. Giving employees meaningful work has a positive impact on their quality of life, so it’s best to give them assignments that get them excited.

Let’s look at how you can engage them and focus on their strengths:

Encourage Collaboration – They’re known for being a ‘people person’ for a reason. They tend to enjoy interacting with others and are quite good at doing it.

Give them the opportunity to work with several other people on various projects. They want to socialize, so they should be in group settings often.

Let Them Talk –  They love to talk, and that process of externalizing their thoughts helps them find a conclusion.

Make sure they’re encouraged to talk ideas out in brainstorming sessions. Their exuberance should be celebrated, not stifled.

Praise Them Publicly – Recognition is one of the best employee engagement strategies to adopt. When they feel valued for their work, they’re more enthusiastic about performing at their best.

While introverts usually prefer a personal acknowledgment, extroverts like to be praised publicly and consistently. This can be as simple as a ‘great idea’ remark during a meeting. A little encouragement and celebration can go a long way.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when you’re developing employee engagement strategies. Everyone works differently, and ignoring this fact can make many people feel misunderstood.

Instead, help leadership better understand the intricacies of personality types so they can empower every employee to succeed.

How are you engaging extroverts and introverts in your workplace?

Make your employees feel loved