Everyone knows that the workplace is a mishmash of personality types. For better or for worse, there will always be colleagues who see the world differently and have varying strengths and weaknesses. One of the most obvious ways people relate to their environments and each other is though introversion and extroversion. Both introverts and extroverts have their own unique strengths, which you can maximize in the workplace and elsewhere.
Fundamental Differences in Personality Types
Whether you’re an extrovert or introvert, accepting, owning, and enjoying your dominant personality traits can lead to a happier, more fulfilled life. Studies have found that introverts are actually wired differently than extroverts. Introverts have more blood flow in the frontal lobes of their brains and the anterior, or frontal, thalamus, which are both areas that deal with internal processing. They are great planners and problem-solvers.
Extroverts, on the other hand, have more blood flow in the anterior cingulate gyrus, temporal lobes, and posterior thalamus, which are involved in sensory and emotional experience. Other research has indicated that introversion-extroversion is actually related to individual differences in brain function.
Introverts can easily become self-aware around others, which can cause them to over-plan and overthink even simple outings. An introverted person can have a hard time figuring out the right thing to say in conversations with others. They can be social people, but still tend to reveal less about themselves than extroverts. Most introverts prefer taking some time to think before responding to a situation because they would rather develop their ideas by reflecting privately. Introverts have the ability to focus their attention more readily and for longer periods of time than extroverts. Some introverts may feel awkward or weird around groups of extroverts, but they may be attracted to an extroverted person. While many introverts seem to come across as shy and quiet individuals, not all of them are. Shy people can be introverted or extroverted. Introverts prefer keeping things low-key, rather than going to large social events.
Introverts in the Workplace
Introverts feel most comfortable working alone or in a small group, as this allows them to focus on solving problems without any distractions.
A few ideal career choices for introverts include:
- Software Engineer
- Market Research Analyst
- Human Resources Specialist
According to renowned Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, extroversion is the ability to turn the interests and energies of one’s mind toward events, people, and things in the world around us. In psychology, an extrovert is a person concerned more about the practical realities of life rather than with one’s inner thoughts and feelings. Simply put, an individual who is keen on what is happening around them is an extrovert.
If you know someone who loves to socialize and has an outgoing personality, they are more than likely an extrovert. Extroverts make the most of the opportunities that come their ways. They don’t worry too much about “what if.” Extroverts are usually the ones who put candy on their desks at the workplace in order to encourage interactions with others. They tend to be energized around other people, and they may become bored and restless when alone.
Extroverts in the Workplace
Most extroverts are eager to land jobs that doesn’t actually feel like jobs. Extroverts thrive in positions where they are able to mingle freely with coworkers whenever they please. They prefer jobs that entail different daily duties, rather set routines.
Here are some ideal professions for an extroverted person:
- Public Relations Manager
- Elementary School Teacher
- Physical Therapist
- Sales Professional
If you are unsure of whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, taking a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment is a great way to find out more about your particular traits. Once you become aware of your specific personality type, you will be able to better prevent some of the common problems that may occur when trying to fit a square into a circle. It is also helpful in further understanding yourself and what might best suit your personality type in your pursuit of happiness. When you better understand yourself, your interactions with others make a little more sense.
The Myers-Briggs personality test can be a great resource for employers and supervisors. Understanding your employees on deeper levels allows you to maximize efficiency, communication, and harmony. For example, more introverted coworkers may prefer detailed memos, whereas extroverts may prefer a conference or demonstration. Introverts and extroverts both have fantastic strengths. At their full potential, either type can become a powerhouse at the office!
This article originally appeared on BusinessCollective.
Jessica M. Baker is the Founder and CEO of Aligned Signs, the only patented self-discovery and relationship tool of its kind. Ms. Baker fuels her business ventures with expertise gained from nine years of experience in finance, business analysis, client management, and research. Jessica graduated summa cum laude with a Master of Business Administration in finance and a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Texas.