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Getting the most out of extroverted employees

All workplaces are full of many different types of personalities, with each bringing their own unique strengths and skill sets to the table. Most noticeably, you’ll often see a proportion of employees best described as ‘extroverts’, as well as many who you would call ‘introverts’ and ‘ambiverts’. Each personality type is crucial to the smooth running of any business, but today we’re going to focus on extroverts. 

Extroverts are the employees who are usually very well known throughout the business. They’re confident, they’re outgoing and they make their voices heard. But that doesn’t mean that their input can’t be improved with structured training tailored to their own skills.

If you’re looking to make the most of your team’s extroverts, and really push the potential of the soft skills they inherently have, tailored training is key. Extroverts benefit hugely from specific training which maximises the power of their soft skills, particularly with regard to communication, collaboration and teamwork.

The following ideas are just an example of how you might be able to introduce new training methods for extroverts in your workplace.

Different ways of looking at strengths

We all know that extroverts excel when it comes to talking. In meetings, these skills are particularly useful as they allow these characters to explain their problem-solving methods, and convince others to get on board with their way of thinking. It’s important that extroverts also understand how this may be perceived by others, though.

Communication is a brilliant soft skill to have, but it doesn’t stop at verbalising your own thoughts. Understanding how those thoughts could be perceived is just as important. So, train extroverts in how others might feel about their ways of working. Ensure that they understand how they might irritate colleagues by thinking out loud or going off on a long tangent which isn’t relevant to the problem being discussed.

Keep extroverts on track through structure

Training methods which could be of benefit to extroverts include encouraging them to share their points in advance of a meeting, ensuring they remain succinct during the meeting itself. It’s also important that those leading the meeting are well versed in how to control the discussion, to stop extroverts from going too far off track.

Francesca Gino, behavioral scientist and the Tandon Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, said: “Thinking more carefully about how to structure meetings can be very helpful to make sure they produce good outcomes. And it can also assure management can get the best out of the introverted members, in addition to the more extroverted ones.” (1) 

Allowing others to set the pace

As extroverts typically dominate any conversation, it’s natural that what they say tends to set the pace for a project. However, it’s worth considering the fact that whilst introverts may not work in the same way, their powers of organisation and attention to detail should not be overlooked.

It’s a great idea to train extroverts in your workplace on how they might allow others to set the pace of big projects. Doing so will allow them to work in better partnership with those who may not excel in communication, but will likely have a far-reaching set of skills to bring to the table.

Understanding others’ points of view

Whilst extroverts are great at sharing their own opinion, they’re often not as skilled when it comes to understanding the points of view of others. The Journal of Organizational Behavior published in 2016 found that “extroverts tend to be an energizing force in an already agreeable group. However, when there is a lot of disagreement, extroverts tend to cause more conflict. They are often seen as sharing their opinions in a domineering and aggressive manner.” (2)

You may well find that exercises in allowing others to set the pace will give everyone breathing room, allowing the whole team to work better together and avoid disagreements.

Understanding impulse control

Impulse control is a key factor in emotional intelligence, and it tends to be one which extroverts struggle with. Often, if an idea is discussed and an extrovert is on board with it (particularly if it’s their idea) they’ll be keen to get started straight away. An introvert, on the other hand, will usually prefer to work on further research before finalising the details and getting started.

Whilst a can do attitude and a willingness to take on new projects at a moment’s notice are both great skills to have in an employee, they’re not necessarily best when it comes to protecting company profits. Training your extrovert employees to take a step back and avoid diving head first into new ideas will allow them to think more clearly about what will and won’t work, and avoid any costly mistakes in the meantime.

Enabling extroverts to shine in your workplace

Whilst this article focuses on the areas in which training can improve the performance of extrovert employees, it’s important to note that when it comes to soft skills, extroverts are incredibly powerful. However, tailored training such as the ideas we’ve discussed can in fact boost the productivity of your workforce, and really enhance the performance of your top extrovert employees. Remember, there is nothing wrong with being an extrovert. In fact, it’s a great way to be when it comes to doing business.

A University of North Carolina study found that “96% of managers and executives display extroverted characteristics.” (3) So, instead of training all employees in the same way, enhance your employees’ abilities with specific training which is tailored to their personality types.

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