Confessions of an Introvert: The Difference Between Introvert and Extrovert Employees in the Workplace | DCR Workforce Blog

Confessions of an Introvert: The Difference Between Introvert and Extrovert Employees in the Workplace

Let’s cut to the chase. I have a confession to make: I am an introvert.

I remember going through most of my schooling and having a tough time making friends. I was a loner. I kept to myself and tried to use my personal interests to keep me busy. I was a bit more social in high school, but college was the best fit for my personality. I was able to focus on studying subjects that I liked, and met more like-minded people.

Actually, I still don’t know what to make of my school years, but I know one thing: It made me a lot tougher, more resourceful, and extremely independent. The time I spent alone allowed me to discover authors such as Amy Tan, Maya Angelou and Isabel Allende. To me, these women spoke of characters and worlds that were way more interesting than anything going on in school.

Looking back and remembering the kind of child I was, I can see all the classic signs of being an introvert. I kept to myself and was engrossed in my interests. I have learned to interact with people in a much better way over the years. Yet, I’ve had sporadic moments of being an extrovert when push comes to shove. I like to think that most people have a bit of both introvert and extrovert in them, but I know that a large part of my personality is introverted.  I guess that’s why I’m a writer and not a motivational speaker.

The difference between an introvert and extrovert

You just read an introvert’s perspective on dealing with life, but we still have to define what the characteristics of an introvert and an extrovert are. According to Carl Jung’s definition of an introvert and an extrovert are paraphrased below.

Introvert Personality. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines an introvert as a person whose interest is directed inward toward his feelings and thoughts. The typical introvert is shy, contemplative, reserved and tends to have difficulty adjusting to social situations. Excessive daydreaming and introspection, careful balancing of considerations before reaching decisions and withdrawal under stress are also typical of the introverted personality.

Extrovert Personality. Referring again to the Encyclopedia Britannica, an extrovert is a person whose attention is directed toward other people and the outside world. An extrovert is characterized by outgoingness, responsiveness to others, activity, aggressiveness and the ability to make quick decisions.

Now that we know who we’re dealing with, we need to know how to utilize each group’s character traits in a job role.

How do introverts and extroverts work best?

The work style of an introvert - Since it’s tougher to gauge introverts especially because of their quieter nature, job placement becomes a challenge. There may not be a clear-cut job for introverts, but their roles should try to have these characteristics listed below.

  • Work that doesn’t have multi-tasking. According to a great article entitled “Introverts, Extroverts, and the Workplace” on mylifematters.com, introverts prefer to work on one task at a time or feel scattered if their attention is pulled in too many directions.
  • Introverts like to be given a head’s up on things. They tend to like being more prepared than sporadic.

Additionally, introverts tend to be quieter, so obtaining feedback from them may be a challenge, so try things such as:

  • Requesting feedback through email gives an introvert a chance to think about what to say and provide a well thought out answer.
  • Allowing conversation within a small group to help introverts feel less self-conscious and more relaxed to speak their mind.
  • Informing them of a meeting in advance and giving them an itinerary.
  • An article from the Harvard Business Review provides a great idea of having meetings that get everyone involved by having the entire team write their ideas and suggestions on slips of paper that you put up on a white board for everyone to read, so it’s anonymous.
  • Assigning introverted employees to large projects that require sustained concentration, giving introverts one part of a group assignment or giving them one whole assignment that they can work on alone.

The work style of an extrovert – The mylifematters.com article also states that since extroverts love to put their thoughts and ideas out there, they may be more inclined to enjoy tasks involving teamwork, collaboration or public speaking. Sales and marketing might be an ideal position for these individuals because they relish dealing with people and tend to be more aggressive, so they’re perfect for closing that “big” deal.

Extroverts often voice their opinion and don’t need to be coaxed to speak up in meetings. However, some of the same ideas above work well for extroverts, too. It gives a chance to allow everyone a voice, not just those who are more jovial by nature.

Introverts – ramping things up

Introverts face a significant amount of challenges when it comes to working with people. This often results in introverts missing out on leadership and growth opportunities. In addition, an introvert’s shyness may lead to a lower level of input. Their abilities to progress and be heard may be limited due to these factors.

However, introverts have a responsibility to show their peers and superiors that they’re capable. My introvert mantra has always been: “Actions speak louder than words.”

I hope this resonates with other fellow introverts and motivates them to step out of the shadows and prove that they can get things done. If you’re an introvert, you can start by building on your strengths such as planning, focusing on one important issue and listening to others to help come up with new ideas and ways to solve problems.

Communication is a pivotal point for introverts and an area that needs to be developed. I usually find that there is an important reason that will incite me to speak up. Perhaps there’s a problem or a desire to have a better position. Something has to push us out of our shell. For me, being prepared and thinking about what needs to be said ahead of time gives me the confidence to speak up.

Extroverts – toning things down

I don’t want to exclude my fellow extroverts. It’s just that extroverts seem to have a better handle when it comes to dealing with people. I guess this is the secret to their success. An enlightening piece of advice for extroverts might be to listen, reflect and become more open to the perspectives of more silent peers. Sometimes being more introspective and quieter can lead to more awareness of what is going on instead of focusing on interacting with others.

How to find your way in an extrovert’s world

Sure, introverts might think it’s an extrovert’s world, and it may be true. Our society is always chiming in about something thanks to social media and our interaction with people. We introverts have to find our own way of speaking up. We can’t fault extroverts for expressing themselves and being successful when we choose not to convey our thoughts.

Speaking when necessary or writing are subtle and preferred ways of communicating for introverts. That said, I know that we often run the risk of not being heard, but what we lack in audibility we have to learn to make up for in persistence and intelligence.

In a work place, we shouldn’t focus on the difference between introvert and extrovert employees, we should work toward understanding how others tick and why they work in a particular manner. This helps dispel predispositions and creates a higher level of synergy and teamwork.

Introverts and extroverts merely need to utilize their given tendencies and recognize the value of the other’s mindset.

If you’re a fellow introvert, please share a situation at work where you overcame your introverted tendencies and spoke up.


Disclaimer:
The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Neha is responsible for developing and overseeing marketing strategy and brand identity at DCR. She and her team collaborate on marketing and sales strategies and product development for new initiatives.