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How to Leverage Extroversion or Introversion at Work



At some point, you’ve probably been called—maybe even referred to yourself as—an introvert or extrovert.


Psychologist Carl Jung coined these terms in the 1920s. The difference between these two personality types essentially comes down to energy. Extroverted people are energized by social interactions, while introverts need time alone to recharge.


Chances are, you’re not 100% of either. Most people fall somewhere along the spectrum between extroversion and introversion. However, if you enjoy working in groups, talking through problems you need to solve or find it easy to express your thoughts and feelings, you probably lean toward extroversion. If you prefer listening to speaking or are more comfortable sharing your ideas in written form than engaging in a debate or discussion, you probably lean toward introversion.


Either way, you have unique strengths that can help you excel at work if you know how to leverage them.


Why it’s essential to understand your temperament

If you’re not sure which side of the spectrum you lean toward, you might be an ambivert—someone whose personality is a balance of introverted and extroverted features. You can take a quiz from TED to discover your type.

Understanding your natural tendencies is powerful because when you live a life that complements your nature:

  • You can unleash incredible stores of energy

  • You can be a loyal, valued team player

  • You can connect with coworkers and clients in a way that fits your style

  • You can seek out environments that help you come up with creative and innovative ideas

Do extroverts have the advantage at work?

Extroverts tend to have a leg up over introverts at work. According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, 65% of senior corporate executives viewed introversion as a barrier to leadership.

If you’re introverted, this statistic may not surprise you. Many introverts have received feedback from managers that they need to “step up” or develop their “executive presence” to be considered for a promotion. Unfortunately, many introverts shut down after receiving this kind of feedback and decide that leadership just isn’t for them.


That’s a shame because introverts and extroverts can be effective leaders in the right teams.

Leveraging your strengths as an introvert

What do Eleanor Roosevelt, Gandhi, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Barack Obama and Michael Jordan have in common? They all identify as introverts.

Strengths of an introvert include:

  • Excelling at critical thinking and thinking carefully before acting

  • Being less emotional in stressful and challenging situations

  • Exploring problems from multiple angles and getting to the bottom of an issue

  • Being conscientious about their work and taking time to ask the right questions

  • Emphasizing quality and accuracy in their work

  • Setting high standards for themselves

  • Complying with rules and procedures

  • Superior written communication skills

  • Attention to detail

  • Being a good listener to employees, clients and customers

Introverts tend to do best when leading collaborative teams. Their listening skills allow them to hear ideas from other people and make their colleagues feel valued.


Leveraging your strengths as an extrovert

Famous extroverts include Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs, Winston Churchill, Oprah Winfrey and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Strengths of an extrovert include:

  • Being able to connect with others quickly

  • Remembering names and faces

  • Willing to assist others

  • Having their comments and ideas well received in meetings

  • Being straightforward, candid and charismatic

  • Confident in social settings

  • Communicating easily with a variety of people

  • Working well in group settings

  • Confident and likely to take charge

Extroverts do best when leading teams that want direction from above because they’re comfortable engaging with various people and can motivate others.

There’s no right or wrong way to be in the workplace, and the most productive teams are usually made up of a mix of introverts and extroverts. Each person has strengths and weaknesses, so identify yours and look for ways to utilize them at work. Learn about the other people on your team so you can help them leverage their strengths and mitigate weaknesses. When we can all feel comfortable bringing our true selves to work and know our contributions are valued, we can better serve ourselves, our teams and our clients.

 

Do you want to turn your firm’s new partners and managers into confident and capable leaders?


The Boomer Leadership Academy is a leadership development program designed specifically for new partners, managers, C-Suite professionals and administrators at CPA firms. Register now so the emerging leaders in your firm can begin performing at a higher level.

 

As a Project Coordinator for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Katelynn is excited to work with a company that prioritizes allyship, cultural awareness and inclusion. Her primary focus is supporting Boomer Consulting’s Project Managers and handling events at the Accounting Innovation Center.

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