Confuting Myths about Introverts and Extroverts at Work

September 21, 201610:06 am487 views

Managing different types of people can be quite challenging for HR professionals, as this requires them to see through people’s differences from an objective perspective without being influenced by generalities, common myths and preconceived notions. One of the most challenging tasks to knowing people is – identifying ways to deal with introverts and extroverts at work.

This topic of introverts and extroverts at work has been debated upon, discussed at length by both employers and HR Managers in various forums – but dealing with these two distinct personalities is way far different. These personalities demand of employers to treat them differently, adjust with their ways of interaction and approaches in dealing with others.

Also, the widely-spread myths about introverts and extroverts as generally believed by a lot of people also contribute towards how employers perceive the differences and treat these employees differently in the workplace. The wrong perspectives sometimes held about these two distinct personalities contribute to ambiguity in decision making and problem solving.

See also: How to Help Introverts Become Successful Leaders?

The mismanagement and wrong approaches followed by employers often without effective guidance, make them fail in managing the workforce appropriately. People cannot thrive optimally in workplace environments that do not encourage and support growth. Employees suffer, as they are not provided with adequate stimulations and approaches allow them to function optimally in their jobs.

Extroverts are generally known to be frank, expressive, highly sociable people who can interact well with others, build connections even with strangers. Such employees require external stimulations to energise, motivate, socialise and feel highly enthusiastic to perform. Hence, employers normally place them in strategic job roles that require to connect with people, external stakeholders of the business, clients and also lead some of the important projects of the company.

On the contrary, introverts are widely known as odd, aloof people who do not like to meet people and socialise. Since they find it extremely difficult to mingle and socialise, employers generally do not consider them for leadership roles, that requires interaction with the team. They are most suited for job roles handling back-end responsibilities, wherein little opportunities are provided to stand out.

Are these commonly held myths true? Below we help dispel some of the common myths about introverts and extroverts at work. This would help HR managers see through their potentials and allow them equal opportunities for career growth in an organisation:

  • Extroverts are better leaders than introverts

In a 2006 survey, 65% of senior corporate executives viewed introversion as a barrier to leadership, and other studies have shown that highly extroverted leaders are perceived to be more effective.

However, this finding doesn’t reveal an absolute truth – many introvert leaders are equally successful as extroverts in business. Some qualities and attributes like the leadership style and types of employees contribute to the success of both introverts and extroverts leaders.

Also an interesting research by Adam Grant has found that, “Introvert leaders often deliver better outcomes than extroverts do, because when they are managing proactive employees, they’re much more likely to let those employees run with their ideas. Whereas extroverts can, quite unwittingly, get so excited about things that they’re putting their own stamp on things, and other people’s ideas might not as easily then bubble up to the surface.”

  • Extroverts are better networkers than introverts

Most extroverts mingle easily and initiate a conversation, including those with strangers both in real life and social media platforms. The highly self confident and proactive attitudes of extrovert talent help them lead, be loved, seek attention, get accepted and acquire many new contacts within a short span of time. These personality traits of extroverts contribute to believing that they are better networkers than introverts.

However, great networking isn’t about quantity of contacts added to the list. During the job search, research shows that extroverts engage in more intense networking, but this doesn’t translate into more jobs. Networking is about the quality and diversity of the relationship, not the number of people contacted or the number of times one reaches out to them.

On the other hand, not all introverts are too timid to socialise. Some of them do socialise, are willing to start a conversation with random people, and do not mind being in spotlight at times.

  • Extroverts are better salesperson than introverts

It is common to view people into sales as those, who are highly enthusiastic, assertive and persuasive. This common perspection leads to believe that extroverts are better at sales deals than introverts do. However, this is not always true. Exceptions to the norm always exists.

Not all extroverts are great in sales. Some of them are prone to dominating the conversation and are not great listeners to understand viewpoints of the other.

Both extroverts and introverts could make most of the opportunities offered into sales as developing contacts and making new agreements.

Instead, ambiverts bring in more sales revenue than extroverts or introverts do. Positioned right in the middle of the spectrum, between introverts and extroverts endows them with qualities best suited for sales jobs – they can be quite and listen during certain times, while being loud when situations demand. They can selectively opt for responses and initiate necessary actions that could put them in spotlight or stay quiet at the backstage.

Debunking myths about introverts and extroverts at work will help HR Managers to be better at managing employees without discriminatory practices followed at work. Fair treatment with best practices supporting equal opportunity for growth of all, would make for an effective workplace culture.

Next read: Dealing with Arrogant Employees: How to Manage Them

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