Leadership & Management
Managing Extroverts in the Workplace
February 4, 2020
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When you manage an office space, you need to know how to balance different personality types. This means getting to know each of your employees so you can put together the most high-performing and resilient teams. Understanding how extroverts in the workplace thrive is critical to that.
In these situations, you might think your office extroverts will be easy to handle. After all, extroverts are social creatures who thrive in groups. If you want to keep your office focused and productive, however, you’re going to need to learn how to use extroverted energy to your advantage.
Embrace Extroverted Passions
Not all extroverts are the same. Most, however, will be social and exuberant in the workplace – they feel energized by social contact and collaboration.
If you want your office to remain a productive space amidst the chitchat of extroverts in the workplace, you might think the solution is to discourage excess fraternization. But this isn’t actually the case. If you want your extroverts to be happy and effective, then you need to encourage their passionate natures.
Think about ways to boost engagement on your team and make your extroverted employees feel connected. One way to do this is by hosting voluntary brainstorming sessions after key meetings. Extroverts can use these meetings to discuss their thoughts on the meeting itself as well as the ideas proposed therein.
Make sure that you have spaces set aside for general conversation in your office, as well. While the break room isn’t officially a meeting room, your extroverted employees will make the most of these social areas.
Open Up Your Office
Speaking of space: if you want your extroverted employees to be able to readily communicate with their peers, then you may benefit from an open office space. Open offices are growing in popularity, as they promote a more communal atmosphere than the traditional cubicle.
The debate regarding an open-concept office’s impact on productivity is, admittedly, still raging. However, if your space is one that thrives on discussion and conversation, this plan will keep projects and ideas flowing.
Create Collaborative Think Spaces
If you’re not interested in an open office plan, but you still want to create space for extroverts in the workplace, you can! Invest in “idea areas” around the office. Some of these spaces already exist – for example, the break room or the space around the water cooler. Managing a diverse office, however, is all about balance, and you don’t want these public areas to become overwhelmed with chatty extroverts.
As such, you’ll need to create spaces that are communal but not essential. Try to leave a meeting room or two open all day, for example. If you let your office know that employees can visit these rooms at any point to discuss projects with their peers, you’ll quickly see them fill up.
Managing the personalities in your office is all about delegation. You need to assign the right people to do the right jobs or else productivity will suffer.
As such, you’re going to need to get to know your employees well. Which employees prefer to meet with clients one-on-one, and which ones thrive in the boardroom? Your extroverts should be your go-to employees for public talks, frequent social engagement and after-hours meetings with clients.
Comparatively, you may not want to assign an extrovert to a job that isolates them from the rest of the office. If you need an employee to undertake a week-long research project, consider seeking out an introvert over an extrovert. An extrovert who’s not able to discuss the details of her project or collaborate with her peers will take longer to get through the necessary research than an introvert.
Balancing Extroverts & Introverts in the Office
While you do need to delegate, there are also times when introverts and extroverts in the workplace will need to come together. In these situations, how can you ensure that your extroverts receive the support they need to remain productive?
Consider this: extroverts thrive when they can discuss their thoughts out loud. They gain energy and inspiration from social settings. Comparatively, introverts lose energy as they engage in social activities. Introverts will be able to attend meetings, office parties and client meetings for a while, but at the end of the day they’re going to want to go home and recharge.
To create a well-balanced group of introverts and extroverts, consider assigning positions within the group ahead of time. Let your introverts take on the challenges that can be handled by a single person. Then, encourage the extrovert to serve as the face of the project, the one who does the bulk of the presenting, talking or social wooing.
While this dynamic may naturally change as the group grows more comfortable, these initial roles will help your team find its footing.
When in doubt, make sure each of your employees is assigned a task that plays to their strengths. Extroverts will make the most of an opportunity to be social – so with a little extra strategizing, you can use that drive to the advantage of your business.