Introverts make up a third, if not half of the population, with extroverts composing the other one-half to two-thirds. In short, when you go into work, you’re most likely working with an introvert on your right and an extrovert on your left. Both of these employees are valuable assets to the company: according to Inc., extroverts are known for their outgoing nature, making everyone not only a potential client but friend. Introverts, as reported by Forbes, have a very thoughtful nature and can concentrate for hours on a given task.
Nonetheless, it can be easy to create (and maintain) a work environment that leans to one personality or another—in most cases, extroverts. Which is why it’s necessary to make a few small changes so that both personalities flourish and perform to their highest abilities. That said, read on to learn how you can cultivate a work environment that benefits both (plus why you should consider doing a Georgia Secretary of State business search).
The Communal Workspace: A Plus for Extroverts; Questionable for Introverts
Recently, communal workspaces have become popular. We actually not only see these in tech startups but even cafes—take Starbucks—have adopted a similar environment. One reason why these spaces are great boils down to cultivating a community of creativity.
For instance, if you need help hashing out a few project ideas all you have to do is turn to your co-worker and, in a matter of minutes, you have twice as many ideas to go off of—and most likely you’ve built a stronger working relationship with your co-worker who, in turn, will go to you should they need a sound board or advice on a project.
Yes, these impromptu conversations can encourage creativity and teamwork for extroverts, who thrive off of on-the-spot idea bouncing with a co-worker. Meanwhile, introverts may find these types of interactions stressful, if not a cause for burnout and poor work performance.
What Needs to Change
It’s not that introverts don’t want to interact with people; it just that it takes them a lot longer to process information. Scientifically speaking, an introvert’s brain has a longer neural pathway than an extrovert’s, meaning information needs to travel through planning and long term memory before it is fully processed. This is why on-the-spot interaction can be stressful since introverts feel the need to chime in to keep up with their extroverted co-workers—and why communal environments can add stress instead of reducing it.
Long story short, to make communal environments workable and enjoyable for both personalities why not have co-workers take a seminar on introvert and extrovert personalities so that both are familiar with the two styles, which can enhance communication and understanding in the workplace.
Also, have some open private offices available should co-workers want to do some solo work with minimal interruptions and distractions. This will not only give introverts an outlet should they become overwhelmed but also allow extroverts to tap into their solitary sides (yes, many extroverts can and do work alone).
Meetings—some people love them; others not so much. Again, extroverts will thrive in a meeting with on-the-spot questions and idea bouncing. Introverts will thrive in meetings where the information is presented and then have a chance to take it in and gather their thoughts before reconvening. In this case, while introverts may excel in that environment, without an opportunity to voice their thoughts immediately, extroverts could feel left out.
What Needs to Change
Perhaps make a compromise? Instead of just sending out an email notifying co-workers about the meeting and general topic, why not email a more detailed outline listing even the subtopics you plan on discussing in the meeting. That way, this gives introverts a chance to prepare and come up with ideas they can add when the meeting does take place. And, extroverts still have that platform to voice ideas as they come up. In a sense, it is the best of both worlds and could make for the meeting to be productive for all parties.
Team Building is Important
Whether companies have more introverts or extroverts, team building activities are still important. It creates bonding, teamwork, and a sense of community in the company. However, to make extroverts and introverts both feel comfortable, why not offer a few different types of company bonding opportunities?
As reported by The Balance, you could have team bonding activities take place at lunch. The company buys all employees or a department lunch. Breaking into groups of 10 (or less), employees then discuss questions centered around work. The smaller groups make it less stimulating for introverts while extroverts still can feed off of and benefit from the socializing.
This isn’t the only team building activity you can do. As The Balance goes on to state, you could also have book clubs, yoga, host activities where employees bring their families. And, while you’re at it, why not ask employees for their input on what types of team building activities they prefer.
In fact, Harvard Business Review polled 51,896 executives and found that leaders who asked for more feedback were rated as more effective. Specifically, the bottom 10% were in the 15th effectiveness percentile. Contrary to that, the top 10% were in the 86th effectiveness percentile. This goes to show that asking for input is vital—for not just team building activities but work-related topics too. And, input from both introverted and extroverted employees will contribute to a more beneficial working environment for everyone.
In general, introverts are energized from their inner worlds—their thoughts and ideas. Extroverts, on the other hand, thrive off of interacting with the outside world. Both personality styles are vital to your company.
In order for your employees to make the most of their natural talents, have both communal and private office workspaces, provide a detailed outline for upcoming meetings, and have a number of team building opportunities — (and make sure to ask for feedback). Other tips executives can create a dynamic work environment for introverts and extroverts? Leave a comment!