• RSS Feed

The LinkUp Blog The Industry's Best-Kept Secret

October 23, 2013 / Molly Moseley

Are introverts or extroverts more successful in the workforce?

Do you think of introverts as being shy wallflowers and extroverts as being social go-getters? This generalized thinking is a bit off.

Without getting too deep into the human psyche, a better description of introverts is people that recharge when they spend time alone. These people find it draining to spend too much time in the company of others. Extroverts are the opposite in that they find it energizing to spend time with others and are drained by long periods of solidarity. It’s really all about how a person’s brain refuels.

On the surface, it might seem that extroverts would have an edge in the workplace. A lively, outgoing personality makes a great first impression, right? Because each personality type operates a bit differently, they may excel in different areas of work, but that doesn’t mean that one person is going to be more successful than the other. After all, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln and Audrey Hepburn are all highly successful people who have been described as introverts.

Defining if you’re an introvert or extrovert isn’t black and white, according to an article on FastCompany.com. Most people fall somewhere in between, with tendencies one way or the other. In fact, a person who is equally introverted and extroverted is considered an ambivert.

So at what areas do introverts and extroverts excel in the workplace?

Extroverts typically enjoy working with colleagues or in a customer-facing position. They tend to dive right into new projects and appreciate a team-oriented atmosphere. Leaders can better manage extroverts by encouraging their enthusiasm, keeping an active dialog about work assignments, and providing task choices when possible.

Introverts tend to focus and get the most done when they work independently or in small groups. They like to observe and take adequate time to think before tackling a project to ensure it’s done the right way. Managers can encourage introverted employees by giving them a high level of independence, respecting their need for privacy and involving them in advance planning of new projects.

A productive workforce is typically made up of both introverted and extroverted employees. While some jobs may lend themselves better to one type or the other, it’s a blend of both that makes a company successful.