Introvert or Extrovert – The Workplace Needs Both

Quite frequently I hear the question, “Are you an extrovert or an introvert?”.  While I think this is an important question to know the answer to, I don’t think it should force a person to be a certain way.  Being a person who can easily switch from one descriptor to the other, I find myself slightly cringe when one is seen as more positive than the other because, quite simply, the workplace needs both.

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Let’s start with introverts, only because I was ranked as an introvert based on the MBTI (just barely) and it’s what I consider myself more often than not.  Based on this article, introverts choose words more carefully, are extremely focused and can process a lot of information.  On the other hand, they may make bad first impressions, have limited networking skills and lack verbal communication.

Extroverts obviously bring the opposite and that’s a great thing… Even for introverts.  A few pros of being an extrovert include increased individual growth, being socially active and having the ability to be expressive.  The downside includes being unknowingly annoying, having a lack of self-awareness and saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Both types of personalities can be great leaders, excel in teams and be creative thinkers, which is why the workplace needs both. When these labels are used to tell us what we should or shouldn’t do or be, I think that’s when we let them do more harm than good. If businesses used only these two attributes during recruiting or promoting, the outcome would be a nightmare because these two descriptors only tell us so much about a person.

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Being a trainer, most people think I am a natural extrovert, but this is where assumptions can lead us in the wrong direction and can cause friction on teams. Introversion simply means you get your energy from being alone where as extroverts recharge by being with people. When someone’s personality is assumed based on a few interactions, the whole story is shortened to a few limiting descriptors that can dramatically limit a team and department.

With the increase in personality tests, employers and employees need to be increasingly cautious when using labels. While some jobs may fit certain personalities better, it’s important that we look at and listen to the whole person because most people can be successful and comfortable in all sorts of roles.

While it’s nice to have information about personalities, let’s not jump to conclusions and let something as small as introvert or extrovert dictate our roles, our relationships or our successes. We are always more than the labels that define us especially when it comes to a personality profile.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?  How does that impact you in the workplace? Let me know in the comment section below.

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5 thoughts on “Introvert or Extrovert – The Workplace Needs Both

  1. An interesting article about the biggest differentiator between people. I am extraverted when facilitating and speaking at conferences and slide along the scale and become more introverted when at home and not in work mode.

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      1. Carl Jung, the Swiss psychologist, who created the words, (by the way, Jung spelt it with an A i.e. Extraversion, as extra is from the Latin for beyond or outside, whereas intro means inwardly or within) said that we can do both but just like we have a preference for writing with one hand or another, so we have a preference for where we get our energy, i.e. from within or outside.

        The stronger our preference for one, the harder it is for us to connect and use the other. It is the same with Thinking v Feeling and Sensing v Intuition.

        A phrase coined recently where individuals have an equal preference is ambiverts.

        Wishing you continued success,

        Yours behaviourally, Nick

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      2. Thanks so much for the additional information. MBTI is extremely interesting and accurate in describing preferences. Nice to know there is another word, ambivert, that may describe a few out there as well. Thanks again!

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      3. My pleasure, MBTI is a derivation of Jungian psychology. Mother and daughter Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers added Judging and Perceiving as the 4th dimension of their model.

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