Most modern workplace environments are set up with only extroverts in mind: team work makes the dream work. While it’s said working in teams is more effective, a recent survey found an almost even split amongst employee work preferences. While 36% of workers preferred a team environment, 32% preferred working solo and the remaining 32% had no preference. How can you incorporate and manage both extroverts and introverts into your teams for an effective and productive workplace environment?
Read further for tips on balancing teamwork and individualism:
1: Balance is Key
Not every situation and task requires teamwork, so knowing when not to use it is vital. For example, review your calendar of workplace meetings: does every single person need to attend? Perhaps only certain individuals need to collaborate on their work.
2: Introverts and Extroverts
According to author and Coach Jennifer Kahnweiler, introverts make up between 40 and 60 percent of our workforce. Introverts tend to get their energy from within and are more likely to listen than speak, while extroverts feed off of collaborating and think out loud. Creating teams of “genius opposites” is a successful way to balance personality types to collectively generate exponential results.
3: Teams of Two
When teams are too big, the voice of some team member’s vital input may be lost. Be creative on how you arrange collaboration. A short walk with a colleague might provide the solution to a problem or lend a helpful perspective on a project. Introverts will get the necessary time to contribute in a one on one arrangement.
4: Using Technology for Teamwork
Integrating technology to help your team communicate with each other can be an effective way to allow collaboration that works for both the extrovert and introvert. Using various types of communication platforms such as Slack or Google Hangouts allows collaboration amongst team members as well as individual time. Introverts are not put directly on the spot and extroverts are still able to voice their opinions and ideas to all members in the group.
The “There is no ‘I’ in team” poster might always remain hanging in the break room, but that does not mean there cannot be a balance of individual time and team work. Recognizing the strengths of both introverts and extroverts will help boost the symmetry of your office culture and productivity!