When it comes to personality traits, introverts and extroverts are at opposite ends of the scale. Extroverts are generally outgoing and thrive in stimulating environments, while introverts prefer quiet, and need time alone to recharge their batteries.
Most of us identify with one of these groups. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, it plays a big part in your personal life, influencing everything from your hobbies to your choice of friends.
It also impacts your life at work. The leadership styles of introverts and extroverts are vastly different, just like their personalities. So, which type makes the better leader?
The truth is, there’s far more to leadership than your personality traits. Both introverts and extroverts can be great leaders. The key to success lies in making the most of your strengths and balancing the weaknesses of your type.
So, read on to find out how your personality trait affects your leadership style – and discover how to use it to your advantage.
Extroverts as Leaders
As an extrovert, you bring plenty of enthusiasm and energy to your role. You’re a great talker, and love nothing more than sharing your latest idea with your team as a group. You accept change easily and can make decisions quickly, inspiring others to follow your lead. You can strike up a conversation with anyone, which allows you to build a wide network of friends and associates that you can call on in times of need.
While all the above can be positive, it’s important to recognise that not every member of your team will appreciate your extroverted ways. For example, introverts may be uncomfortable voicing their ideas during a high-energy group meeting. Providing an option to email ideas or speak with you individually afterwards is a small but significant way to encourage them to contribute.
Introverts as Leaders
As an introvert, you’re more comfortable communicating one-on-one or in writing than addressing a group. You’re a deep thinker with excellent planning skills, who’s happiest working alone as it allows you to focus. However, you’re also a good listener and value the opinion of others, which makes you approachable and easy to talk too.
It’s common for introverts to put their heads down and concentrate on their own work, expecting their team to do the same. But extroverted employees tend to be motivated by frequent communication and interaction. A solution can be to organise weekly one-on-one meetings and have an open-door policy that gives your staff the opportunity to discuss ideas and issues as needed. Using online team communication and collaboration tools is another simple and effective way to keep everyone informed and engaged.
Make the Most of Your Type
There are plenty of examples of word-class leaders from both the introvert and extrovert camp, including Bill Gates (introvert) and Steve Jobs (extrovert). The key to making your personality type work for you is to be aware of it. Start by identifying where you fit on the spectrum of introversion and extroversion. Are you at the extreme end? Or maybe you’re an ambivert and have equal tendencies to both types?
Once you know where you sit, you can make the most of the positive leadership qualities of your type and make adjustments to balance out your weaknesses. A smart way to do this is to surround yourself with support staff that complement your style.
Final Word on Introverts vs. Extroverts
Every team is made up of a mix of personality types – and the best leaders can adapt their style and behaviour to suit. Find ways to overcome the challenges of your type using management methods that are flexible enough to suit everyone. That way, you’ll get the most from both the introverts and extroverts on your team.
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