In team-oriented job environments and fields that involve working with the public, it seems like a no-brainer to hire an extroverted person. You may even be led to believe that extroverts make better leaders because of their outgoing nature and interpersonal skills. So the logical conclusion would be to hire a team of extroverts, right? The truth is that introverts have their strengths too – and I’m not just saying this because I’m an introvert (with some extroverted tendencies). A well-balanced team is made up of both social orientations as well as some ambiverts (people who share characteristics of extroverts and introverts) to even things out.
After collecting data for our Extroversion/Introversion Test, we focused our analysis on top-performing extroverts and top-performing introverts; essentially, those who received good performance ratings in their last review. Extroverts and introverts are quite distinct, and this can work to a company’s advantage.
Top 5 strengths of introverts
- Introverts always plan ahead. Put them on the spot and they may get flustered. Give them time to “percolate” and chew over an idea, and they will not disappoint. Introverts are cautious and conscientious and will only take action once they have carefully outlined each step and created a Plan B. A project that requires a diligent work approach and good attention to detail is perfect for most introverts.
- Introverts think through their decisions. Building on their plan-loving nature, introverts seldom act on impulse. When they need to make a decision, they take the time to do their research, weigh their options, and determine the pros and cons of each option before making a choice. They may not be bold risk-takers, but the risks they do take are likely to be calculated ones.
- Introverts are “self-inspired.” Extroverts like to bounce ideas off of other people; brainstorming as part of a group gets their creative juices flowing. Introverts don’t need others to inspire them or to motivate them – they simply look within. They are self-motivated, and when they need to come up with a solution or a new idea, introverts only require some quiet time to research and contemplate potential solutions.
- Introverts are comfortable with routine. All you need to do is outline my duties for the day and leave me to it. Introverts don’t need the constant stimulation of a dynamic work environment to keep them going. We thrive on routine, are comfortable with repetitive tasks, and don’t get bored easily. We’re pretty quiet, low-maintenance employees.
- Introverts are comfortable working alone. Just like a company needs both leaders and followers, it also requires team players and solo workers. Employees who thrive on social stimulation tend to feel stifled in job environments where they have little contact with others, or where team projects are minimal – not so for introverts. They are perfectly content taking on individual responsibilities, making their own decisions, and working independently.
Top 5 strengths of extroverts
- Extroverts are good at building a rapport with others. No one can break the ice or appeal to a crowd better than an extrovert. They tend to have good people skills, are able to turn on the charm at will, and typically have a warm and friendly demeanor. If you’re trying to make a deal or draw in customers, extroverts are a good choice. They are good networkers and can easily strike up a conversation with pretty much anyone. Note: Don’t assume that an introvert has poor social skills – that is a common misconception. There are introverts with excellent social skills, and there are extroverts with poor social competencies.
- Extroverts speak and act with confidence. Even if talking in front of a crowd makes them a little nervous, extroverts will never let it show. To say that they simply love to talk is a misguided notion; they love to own a room, to make an impact, and to leave a memorable impression on others. Extroverts know how to sell themselves. Their self-assuredness and ease in social settings commands attention.
- Extroverts are generally comfortable taking risks. Although successful risk-taking depends on a number of factors, extroverts seem to be inherently inclined to take chances. After all, the willingness to self-disclose, to assert oneself, and to engage in new relationships requires a great deal of courage. Extroverts risk rejection, conflict, and mockery every time they speak up … but this doesn’t hold them back. They’re curious, bold, and are not afraid to put themselves out there.
- Extroverts tend to adjust quickly to change. Social chameleons by nature, it’s no surprise that extroverts thrive in a dynamic work environment. Whether you put them in charge of a new team, move them to a new position in the company, or completely shake up their routine with new projects, extroverts will adapt fairly quickly. They are comfortable with ambiguity, highly resourceful, and will even go out of their way to try new things.
- Extroverts give of themselves freely. When their time, skills, and knowledge are required, extroverts willingly comply. They’re approachable, enjoy helping others, and will happily offer their opinion and advice when asked (and sometimes even when they’re not asked!). Extroverts tend to have a good understanding of human nature, and this allows them to put others at ease in social situations.