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Are Introverts Or Extroverts Better Employees?

Updated: Feb 10, 2022

From early childhood, we are categorised into two groups, the introverts, and the extroverts. Both types of people hold many different qualities which prove useful or as a disadvantage to many sectors in life, so which one is better to hire at your company? Firstly, it’s important to learn exactly what makes an extrovert and what makes an introvert. Psychologist Carl Jung formed the two separate types of people based on where they received energy from so, starting with an extrovert, common connotations are loud, outgoing, talkative, or in general just a people person. The psychology behind an extrovert is that they thrive on social interaction, that is how they in a sense “recharge”, meaning how they feel good and relax their minds, extroverts receive energy from being around large crowds or groups of people with high social interaction and tend to be friends with many people. An extrovert’s comfort zone is amongst groups of people and so they may feel frustrated or understimulated when alone for long periods of time. An extrovert’s attention and interests are directed outwards towards people and the outside world which causes this want for social interaction and the ability to talk openly and well. When describing an introvert the common phrases are someone that is shy, unconfident, or in general just quiet. Introverts are the type of people who gain their “recharge” by being alone or with few people around them and will find crowds or large groups to be very stress-inducing environments. Unlike extroverts, an introvert will become overstimulated or burnt out when being in social situations for too long, they need their alone time away from other people in their comfort zone to relax their minds. The attention and interests of an introvert are directed inwards towards their own feelings and thoughts which causes them to do less talking and more thinking. Moving forward from what each of the types are, what traits does each person carry, and which is a better employee? The first major difference between the two is the way their brain works, they have two completely different ways of thinking. Introverts have a higher level of brain activity specifically in the frontal lobe, the areas with more blood flow in the brain of an introvert are associated with internal processing. Differently, extroverts have more brain activity in the temporal lobes, these areas are more involved with sensory processing. This tells us that introverts are able to find stimuli within themselves and extroverts will more likely need to find their stimuli from external occurrences. From this, we can safely assume that extroverts are more likely to thrive within a busy and ever-changing work environment and would not be suited to the quiet unchanging types of jobs whereas introverts would thrive in the smaller environments with their set tasks and little external changes. Extroverts have been known to use short-term memory and therefore tend to come to fast associations, this causes extroverts to talk quickly as well as say a lot, this makes extroverts appear smart since they are able to give quick answers. Unlike this, introverts work with their brain to carefully retrieve information using long-term memory, since an introvert’s thoughts are then more complex, it takes more time compared to an extrovert for ideas to develop. This does cause introverts to be the type to think before speaking and have better solid answers, although the trait of quick thinking helps extroverts be valuable members of group discussions and they are far more likely to contribute, unlike an introvert who may keep their thoughts to themselves to further develop them. Introverts tend to have better long-term focus whereas extroverts tend to have short-term focus since they are often looking for new external stimuli. This means that introverts may have an easier time getting through the long drawn-out parts of a job such as extended pieces of writing or reading and replying to emails but an extrovert may struggle with these tasks which will either cause them to rush through it or perhaps do the task over time in small portions. Extroverts excel in busy workplaces with new set tasks daily or weekly, with their short-term focus they are happy to complete one task and quickly move on to the next without being caused any or too much stress. Some food for thought, when researching the strengths and differences between introverts and extroverts it was painfully obvious that introverts have a great deal of negative stigma surrounding them. This is likely due to their quiet nature, but not every introvert is shy, they simply recharge with alone time and so many introverts are happy to converse and make friends, as long as this is balanced by recharge time. On top of this, there was a lack of information on extroverts, both positive and negative, there were many articles arguing how introverts are better and a few explaining the strengths of an extrovert in leadership. When hiring, consider that you may not know the ins and outs as well as you think you do as media in recent years focuses greatly on negatives and one-sided opinions. So, is it better to hire introverts or extroverts? The answer is neither. Or it depends. Different people will thrive in different environments but there is a place for everyone since all strengths can be developed, and new ones can be learnt. A smart leader will know when asking questions it may be best to have everyone think for a minute before answering, in doing so, extroverts then learn the ability to collect their thoughts before speaking and introverts gain more talking time which enables them to practice public speaking. Any project can be changed in order to support both types of people. For example, having extraverts and introverts working together will help in teaching each other the skill from being with the opposite type, the extrovert would learn how to think over ideas in order to come up with more complex answers. Then the introvert would benefit from getting to understand the extrovert's fast association skills and would learn to speak more flexibly when needed. Lastly, by putting the same types of people they will run into the same problems, which should encourage introverts to speak up, differently, extroverts would be forced to think deep. The educator Rudolph Steiner was an advocate of these methods since he use them in his Waldorf schools. We must not ignore that Carl Jung himself stated that he believes no one is either 100% introverted or 100% extroverted but we do tend to lean more towards one side than the other. A perfect employee in fact would be an Ambivert, the third and least common personality with only 20% of the population being a true ambivert. These people have a complete balance of both introverted and extroverted qualities within their personalities. Depending upon their mood, context, situation, goals, and people around them, ambiverts can switch to extroversion or introversion making them the perfect employee with the best of both worlds.


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