Research shows that a diverse workforce increases employee engagement through innovation and productivity, and enhances creativity, and is therefore key to your bottom line. Most people however equate diversity with bringing together different genders, cultures and belief systems.
While this is integral to having a diverse environment, of equal importance to inclusivity is diversity in personality - having both introverts and extroverts on your team, as each personality type brings something different to the table.
Most people consider introverts to be quieter, soft spoken individuals, whilst extroverts are louder and more ready to voice their opinions, however it is also about how one recharges their batteries. Introverts prefer quiet time and one-on-one conversations to refuel, whereas extroverts are charged by a broader social circle, chatting to strangers and constantly being on the go.
This isn’t to say however that introverts are antisocial or extroverts can’t be alone. Both personalities have plenty to offer in the workforce, which is why it’s important to have this diversity in your team.
In the interview process, extroverts are likely to leave a longer lasting impression, and often, therefore, get the job.
There is a skewed perception that managers are generally extroverted, however think of people like Bill Gates, Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg. These innovators are all introverts, so there is plenty to be said for including introverts in your team. Here are some reasons why introverts should be included in the diversity mix:
While it is true that introverts may speak less, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have plenty to contribute. Introverts are known to be excellent listeners, taking time to assimilate the information presented to them, before sharing wisdom and well-thought out contributions to the conversation. Introverts are also good at drawing people out in a one-on-one situation, which is good for trust, which builds and maintains business relationships.
Introverts are great people to have on board in times of conflict or crisis, as they remain calm and focused. They are not impulsive and prefer to rather take their time to think through an issue before addressing it. They are also able to focus intensely on a problem, assessing it from all angles, before coming up with creative and constructive solutions.
Being observant of all things around them, introverts tend to be good writers. Introverts are deep thinkers and relish the opportunity to engage in their thought processes unhindered, taking in their observations and thinking clearly about what they want to say. As such they are a great asset to your team for crafting business-related briefs, presentations and marketing material.
Introverts refuel through being alone with their thoughts, and as such are creative thinkers. Not only do they love to use their imaginations, but they think deeply, considering all angles of other people’s feelings and sensitivities.
They are empathetic to the environment and people around them, and as such bring to the team a level of understanding that is integral to employee engagement, making sure they everyone feels included.
Extroverts tend to always look to the positive which in turn helps stabilise their emotional state. They tend to be less prone to burnout or struggles with work-life balance, as they are more able to regulate their emotions and adjust to unpredictable work situations.
An employee with a positive outlook is not only more productive, but will encourage and uplift the rest of the team with their positive energy, encouraging collaboration, communication and innovation throughout the team.
Extroverts are driven by results. They relish the challenge of a task when they know that there is a reward at the end. Their positive outlook, motivation and confidence always pushes them to be a step ahead of everyone else, which has the cumulative effect of meeting goals, completing tasks and generally pushing the team forward. This has a positive effect not only on the individual performance, but on the team as a whole.
Extroverts are excellent communicators, and find social settings where they need to engage with others, stimulating and energising. They understand both verbal communication and body language and are very persuasive. Extroverts are therefore an asset in negotiations, job interviews and presentations, and are good at managing a team.
Extroverts are proactive team-players, as they tend to jump head-first in
to tackling a project rather than think through every angle like their introverted counterparts. They are not only proactive in their jobs, but also with determining their own careers and progression. They are also not afraid to speak out and are good at strategising and promoting change within the organisation where appropriate.
It is clear that it’s integral to have a diverse mix of introverts and extroverts in your team, as both personality types bring different advantages to the team.
Having both introverts and extroverts collaborating can improve employee engagement, by bringing about effective communication, deep thinking, productivity, sensitivity and motivation, making for a well-balanced, productive organisation.