Employees happily celebrate colleague's achievement who appears shy.
Both Introverted and extraverted people can thrive in business. It's key to know where you stand so you can maximize on your strengths and support your needs. — Getty Images/fizkes

In the workplace, sometimes it’s easy to tell introverts from extroverts based on social behavior, but some people are on the borderline and some introverts pretend to be extroverts. Given this, it can be good to know whether you identify as an introvert or extrovert to better understand your ideal workplace roles and strengths.

Find out if you’re an introvert or extrovert

First, it’s essential to know what to look for when identifying an introvert or extrovert, either for yourself or for a work colleague.

Introverts often showcase these and other traits:

  • Have heightened self-awareness.
  • Take time to make decisions.
  • Prefer working alone.
  • Prefer writing to talking.
  • Feel exhausted after being in a crowd.

Extroverts typically showcase traits including:

  • Enjoy social settings.
  • Don’t need much alone time.
  • Succeed more when working in groups.
  • Have lower fear of taking a risk.
  • Prefer talking to writing.

Quite a few publications offer free tests to sort people into different personality groups. These tests often include helping you discover if you lean toward introversion or extraversion. To better gauge these traits in yourself, try taking one or more of the following tests:

  • 16 Personalities: One of the most popular personality quizzes online is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Taking this test will put you into one of 16 different categories and identify you as introverted or extraverted. The site 16 Personalities offers a straightforward approach to Myers-Briggs. Take the test here.
  • Adam Grant: Organizational psychologist and podcaster Adam Grant created a 10-question quiz for TED that can tell you if you’re an extrovert, introvert or ambivert. Take the test here.
  • Psychology Today: If you want a deeper dive, Psychology Today offers a 25-minute test that is “designed to evaluate your individual tendency towards the outer world (extroversion) or the inner world (introversion).” Take the test here.
  • Well + Good: The publication Well + Good also offers a simple quiz to help you understand your traits. Take the test here.

Once you’ve taken a few tests and determined if you’re an introvert or extrovert, then you should know a few tips that can help you navigate the workplace with this knowledge.

Make sure you have time to work on important tasks with complete focus, or simply take a much-needed break by blocking out time on your calendar and retreating to a quiet area.

Casey Bond, HuffPost, on how introverts can thrive in the workplace

Two work strategies for introverts

Despite the idea that introverts would not be naturally inclined to lead teams or companies, there are many roles in which introverts can succeed in business.

One crucial consideration for introverts is that they need time to process information, especially before group meetings. If you can give 30 minutes or more of notice, that will make for a more productive discussion.

“Without time to absorb the context, introverts tend to feel ambushed,” writes program manager Season Hughes for Atlassian. Like, ‘Why am I here? What’s going on?’”

Another key way to ensure introverts can get through the workday is by scheduling alone time.

“Make sure you have time to work on important tasks with complete focus, or simply take a much-needed break by blocking out time on your calendar and retreating to a quiet area,” writes Casey Bond in HuffPost. “Scheduling that alone time on your calendar will let coworkers know you’re busy and shouldn’t be disturbed.”

Two work strategies for extroverts

On the flip side, extroverts also can take advantage of their traits in the workplace. One way extroverts can succeed is by ensuring they work in roles with frequent interaction with others, whether face-to-face, on the phone or over video chat.

“Allow for interaction with other people,” notes Entrepreneur. “Extroverts may be more skilled at client-facing work, attending conferences, or in other environments where there is a great deal of interaction with other people.”

An additional consideration for extroverts is that they can make for exemplary leaders because they often experience more positive emotions from work.

“As happy employees are usually more satisfied, they tend to work harder and are perceived to be a better leader as a result,” Sally Percy writes in Forbes. “Extroverts’ positive demeanor also helps to buffer them from stress or adverse experiences at work. Since extroverts enjoy the company of others, they tend to adapt better to different social situations and are adept at persuasion, which is a strong leadership skill.”

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Published June 03, 2021