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How to Get Introverts and Extroverts to Perform Better

I saw this picture here on LinkedIn yesterday and I straight went to the comments. What I found was predictable. Angry introverts slate the extrovert and say that this is also what's happening in life.

I have studied personality traits and learned from Professor Jordan Peterson so let me explain why the above picture resonates with people. It resonates because we don't know what to do with introverts! Just like we don't know what to do with critical thinkers and as a result, both groups are having a terrible time at giving organisations the value they bring to the table. Not knowing how extroversion and introversion show up and their purpose will lead to this picture and to angry employees who feel overlooked, ignored, and overpowered by extroverts. 

WE NEED BOTH! They have different purposes in society and not knowing their purpose is what creates the problem not their presence. The same goes for the individual, if you don't know how your personality traits show up and what that means for you and others, you will not be able to productively contribute and will cause damage. So listen up and learn about your personality traits from psychology. 

Extraversion is characterised by: enthusiasm, assertiveness, having the ability to influence others, taking charge, knowing how to captivate people, taking the lead, the ability to talk others into doing things, being opinionated, making friends easily, being social, being easy to get to know, showing their feelings when hurt, having fun, laugh a lot, being talkative, affectionate, spontaneous and impulsive. 

Their purpose in society is clear, they are designed to bring people together, advocate for others, speak up, move the masses, and cheer us up. Are they loud? Hell yes to introverts (I am an introvert), but we need them. What we don't need is them dominating meetings, workplaces, and families because without introverts' mental capacity what are they going to shout about? This is not to say that they are less intelligent but when you spend most of your time talking and being sociable you don't spend lots of time in your head thinking do you? So this is when we come into the picture. 

Needless to say, introverts are exhausted by social interactions and that is why they are reserved. IT DOESN'T MEAN WE CANNOT HAVE/BE FUN! It doesn't mean we don't go out or can exhibit extrovert behaviours. We do that daily. 

Introverts feel more comfortable focusing on their inner thoughts and ideas, rather than what's happening externally. We enjoy spending time with just one or two people, rather than large groups or crowds so when you lock us into meetings with extroverts we will keep quiet. We are characterised by: being quiet, reserved, introspective, inward, thoughtful, efficient, hard-working, inhibited or even contemplative. We also speak when we have something to say not for the sake of talking. During my years of coaching that is based on strengths and personality assessment, I have observed that the presence of deep thinking strengths - Analytical & Strategic - is always related to those who are lower on extraversion personality traits. 

Now, what do you need to know and do as a leader or manager so you can avoid the above picture and get the most out of your introverts and extroverts? 

"Use" extroverts to involve introverts in the thinking process. So stop them being bubble mouths and chat about nothing for hours. Their role is to include people not to exclude them. Their role is to influence to energise people around an idea or plan so it can be executed. 

"Use" introverts for their ideas and intellectual capacity. We spend enough time thinking about every possibility so we will have answers to "everything" if you give us time and space. PLEASE, DO NOT drag us into brainstorming sessions, we cannot think! It is too noisy and we will get super upset by extroverts chatting away. We are happy to come to a meeting and present our ideas that we developed alone or with another couple of people. The execution of this idea then can be done by the extroverts by energising the teams around it, talking about it, getting people on board and singing it from the rooftop if they want. They are good at that! Us introverts would rather die:-) But we will be behind you guys along the process to correct when things don't go according to plan and to provide a timeline, record report, and update. Extroverts don't have the time for this kind of work because they are busy engaging people and keeping them energised. We need them for that and they need us for our role. 

This is how you view your teams, this is how you get the best out of people, by understanding them because if you don't one group will be moaning, the other group will be having fun but the organisation will be going nowhere. You want them to perform but they need guidance around it.

And this is why you study psychology so you can lead and manage your people. 

My message to introverts: If you have the solution to the problem say it instead of sitting in the corner moaning about nobody is asking you.

My message to extroverts: Ask the quietest person in the room what they think. 

PS: If you are an introvert and struggling send this article around in your workplace and start the conversation. You must understand yourself and then help others to understand you. They don't have your user manual you have to give it to them. 

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