How introverts and extroverts can work together in harmony

Friday 18 March 2022

Workplaces contain many personalities, but one key difference between people is whether they are more introverted or extroverted. Whilst neither one is better than the other, it can be challenging for both groups to understand each other and work well as a team.

2:00 min
LEARN TO UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCES

Often, the conflicting needs and behaviours of introverts and extroverts can produce tensions and misunderstandings between the two. Extroverts may perceive introverts as difficult to get or to know or standoffish and the latter may find the former loud and overbearing. Leadership coach and author Jennifer Kahnweiler, advises both types to learn to understand each other’s differences and strive to collaborate, as did Apple founders Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs.

COMMUNICATING WITH OPPOSITES

While opposites can work together well, such as in the example above, some practical tips can make it even easier for the two types to interact. For example, extroverts could give introverts an agenda before meetings so they can prepare their thoughts. And when an introvert sends an e-mail to an extrovert, they should try to be brief and remember the latter might prefer an in-person discussion. Remember: introverts can be just as effective communicators as extroverts. Here are 7 tips for communicating better as an introvert.

MANAGING A MIXED TEAM

Workplaces can often have a cultural bias towards outgoing people, but the best leaders know they should employ a different approach when managing more reserved colleagues. Here are several suggestions on managing both types: such as respecting an introvert’s desire to work independently whilst encouraging them to communicate with others. Extroverts, on the other hand, should have their passion encouraged but may need reminding to think before speaking.