Good managers understand how to get the best out of their employees. They take the time to get to know their employees’ personalities and how those personalities affect the team dynamic. For managers with extroverted employees, this means understanding where extroverts draw their energy from and how to direct that energy to help them achieve success.
What’s the deal with extroverts?
Extroverts draw their energy from interactions with the outside world. They enjoy working in large groups and are stimulated by interactions with the people around them. When it comes to things like group meetings, team lunches and brainstorming sessions, they are in their element.
While these personality traits often help the Extravert succeed, they can clash with quieter, more reserved introverts on your team.
As a manager, it’s your job to put extroverts in situations that will produce high levels of productivity and encourage a healthy team dynamic. Here are four strategies for helping your Extraverts succeed in the office:
1) Discuss the “dimmer switch”:
Recent research by Oregon State University’s College of Business found that, when asked to work on a team project and then evaluate fellow team members, introverts evaluated extroverts more poorly than fellow introverted team members in almost every category. This highlights the struggle many managers have with keeping a team of extroverts and introverts working together.
Have a discussion with your extroverted employees about the challenges their personality type creates for introverted employees. Make them aware of the difficulty introverts have with extended periods of highly stimulating interactions and suggest they try to implement what assistant professor and study co-author Keith Leavitt calls a “dimmer switch” when interacting with introverted employees.
Extroverts tend to be high energy, which can tire out and rub introverted co-workers the wrong way. In order to avoid tension between the extroverts and introverts on your team, work with your extroverts to determine appropriate times to scale back their energy.
By making extroverts aware that their energy style can actually be causing tension among the team, you are giving them a chance to pull back with the employees who may not embrace high energy discussions. In the end, this will keep your team running more efficiently and help your extroverts build better working relationships with their introverted peers.
2. Encourage solution-oriented discussion:
Extroverts are passionate and enthusiastic about solving issues in the workplace, so encourage them to be.
Provide ample time and space for extroverts in your office to discuss their ideas and brainstorm solutions. For example, if you’re holding a meeting, ask extroverts to share some of their ideas during the meeting, but hold onto others for after. After the meeting, hold a voluntary brainstorming session for 10-15 minutes to help your extroverts verbally process their ideas and bounce ideas back and forth with co-workers.
The key here is to encourage extroverts to share their ideas with the team but keep them thinking about different solutions, as well. This strategy helps make meetings more efficient for everyone – including introverts who often tire of hearing every idea in an extrovert’s head – and encourages more in-depth, solution-oriented discussion.
3. Create “idea areas” for your extroverts:
In a January 2014 review of the current open-office design trend, New Yorker author Maria Konnikova argues that open-office plans are detrimental to productivity in the office. Whether this is true or not, there is no denying that the opportunities for spontaneous discussion and idea sharing that open-office designs provide are key for putting your extroverts in a position to succeed.
Whether you have an open office or a closed plan, designate “idea areas” where louder, more spirited debate can be held. This will encourage the kind of lively debate and idea-generating discussion that helps extroverts succeed.
4. Let them know you appreciate them:
One of the best ways to help your extroverts succeed is to praise them when they do, because extroverts are always looking for stimulation from their surrounding environment. In fact, June 2013 research published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that extroverts weigh external motivational and reward cues more strongly than introverts.
In other words, extraverts are stimulated by things like public praise and accolades. Focus on praising the steps your extroverts take toward success and keep negative feedback to a minimum in front of co-workers.
By praising your extroverts, you are encouraging them to continue producing positive results in order to receive the stimulation they seek from their manager. This will result in increased productivity and more successful extroverts in your office.
Understanding your employees’ personality types helps you make decisions about how to organize your team and structure your office. Whether you have an office full of extroverts, or they are just a few in a sea of introverts, encourage the extroverts in your office to focus their considerable energy on building the kind of strong relationships that lead to healthier team dynamics and better individual success in the workplace.
How do you help the extroverts in your office succeed? What other extrovert strategies do you have for building a stronger team dynamic?
Author: Molly Owens is the CEO of Truity, a California-based provider of online personality and career assessments and developer of the TypeFinder® personality type assessment.