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Managing introverts and extraverts

Managing a team is not exactly a simple matter, especially as each team usually contains different types of personalities. Introverted and extraverted team members each bring unique strengths and challenges to the table, and understanding how to manage them is essential for a successful team.

Marie Parmentier, Manager at international recruitment specialist Robert Walters, explains the characteristics of introvert and extrovert employees, what the difficulties are in managing both types of personality and shares a few tips on how to make them collaborate smoothly.

Introverts

Introverted employees tend to be more reserved, thoughtful and introspective. They often feel comfortable in quieter environments and prefer to work alone or in small groups. Marie: “They have an eye for detail and an analytical mind, bringing a deep level of insight and focus to their work. However, communication and networking can be challenging for introverts, and they’re usually not keen on speaking up in group settings.”

Extraverts

“Extraverted employees on the other hand tend to be more outgoing, dynamic and enthusiastic. They thrive in social situations and often enjoy teamwork. They are usually spontaneous and creative, and love brainstorming to come up with new ideas or solutions. However, some extroverts have difficulty concentrating and are easily distracted, sometimes missing important details”, Marie explains.

Managing both

As their working styles and preferences are quite different, it can be challenging to manage a team with both introverted and extraverted people. Marie: “Introverted employees may have a bigger need for independence in their work and use more time to process information and formulate ideas. In contrast, extraverted employees may prefer to work more closely together with the other team members and may be more likely to jump to conclusions and make hasty decisions.” 

So how do you manage a team containing both types of personalities effectively? Marie provides a few tips:

  1. Acknowledge and respect individual differences 
    “It's essential to understand that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to work, or a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ personality type. Introverted and extraverted employees each offer unique qualities, and as a manager, it is important to stimulate everyone's potential”. 

  2. Create a balanced work environment 
    “Make sure that your work environment provides opportunities for both introverted and extraverted employees to thrive. You could, for example, set up quiet workspaces where introverted employees can sit when they need some focus time. For extraverted employees, consider organizing regular brainstorming sessions so they can toss ideas around.” 

  3. Encourage open communication 
    “Both introverted and extraverted employees should be able to share their thoughts and ideas openly. Introverted employees may need more time or encouragement to formulate their thoughts, so be sure to give them the time and space they need to express themselves. Extraverted employees may benefit from opportunities to share their thoughts and feelings, so provide some additional one-to-one sessions if needed.”

  4. Provide clear guidelines and expectations 
    “Make sure that each team member has a clear view of the roles, responsibilities, and expectations within the team. This can help to reduce misunderstandings and conflict and ensure that everyone is on the same page.” 

  5. Promote teamwork and collaboration 
    “Encourage your team members to work together, regardless of their personality types. This way, they will gain mutual trust and respect, which will lead to more effective problem-solving and decision-making.”

To add to the above tips, it’s important to remember that managing a team always requires a nuanced approach. “Keep in mind that no employee will fit the label of introvert or extravert exactly. By considering the unique personalities of your team members and adapting your management style accordingly, you can help all team members work together effectively and achieve their goals”, Marie concludes.
 

More information?

 If you're looking for new talent for your team, upload your vacancy or contact one of our offices. Download our digital Salary Survey tool to benchmark your team's salaries. 

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Marie Parmentier

Manager Finance | Brussels
T: 0474 54 00 29

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