How Performance Management is Different for Extroverts and Introverts

Posted by Julie • December 15, 2016 (Last modified July 29, 2018) • 4 min read

The most effective managers are those that understand the different needs and communication styles of their workforce. The tactics they use to inspire and correct performance have to be adaptable to the employee they’re being used on, especially in performance management. It’s much easier said than done. What pushes one employee to perform productively, might send another toward a job search.


Differing Personalities

There are many factors and features that influence an employee’s performance, and personality is one of the largest. Extroverts and introverts are very different in how they work and interact with the world. Often we’re quick to judge the meaning of each. For example,


Extroverts are outspoken, loud, social, and happy to be the center of attention.

Introverts are quiet, shy, and happy to work alone.


It should be understood that what drives extroversion, and introversion, is more directly related to how the person “recharges,” rather than personality. In this case, recharging is what increases a person’s energy and productivity. For example, a true extrovert will be happy to go out with a large group of friends after a long day and feel better for it. An introvert will be more interested in returning home and spending time alone or one-on-one with a friend or family.


Extroverts in the Open Office

These social butterflies are the talkers, the networkers and the ones not afraid to walk into a room of strangers because strangers are potential friends in their eyes. When creating a performance management strategy for extroverts, it’s important to understand their strengths.


These individuals are usually great at pushing things forward and facing tasks head on. They will happily volunteer for new projects, love playing welcoming committee to new employees, and typically prefer to work as a team player. The weaknesses of true extroverts, however, include appearing bossy or overpowering to colleagues and clients. They might burn out quickly from over-promising and might be easily distracted by office conversation and banter.


The Plan: Create an environment where the extrovert can separate themselves during times of high concentration, but not from the team completely. When discussing leadership roles, be sure to give clear guidelines for the position and train on listening tactics and other interpersonal necessities. Extroverts never receive enough feedback, so whether you give feedback one-on-one, in a group setting or just a team of managers, this employee will be happy to entertain your thoughts. Show the employee appreciation where all can see. They love the spotlight.


Introverts in the Cubicle

The introverts are often the thoughtful, quiet employees who know how to focus on work. Big problems with a lot of high-level strategy can keep an introverted employee engaged and happy for weeks on end. Creating performance management strategies for an introvert should focus mostly on the way they like to do work and interact with coworkers.


Teamwork isn’t their favorite approach to tasks, so solo projects or small groups are best. Don’t let that fool you, introverted employees add an element of diplomacy to teams. They often see the bigger picture instead of being weighed down by external opinions. The challenge is encouraging these quieter folk to speak up for those opinions. Often, these individuals need a little more convincing.


The Plan: Introverts need a place they can escape the noise and hectic atmosphere. Often cubicles are great for their high focus nature but do welcome them to group meetings. When it comes to building an introvert into a leader, encourage mentorship and coaching style management where they can use their talent for seeing the potential of a person on a one-on-one scale. Be wary of how feedback and appreciation is administered. In general, introverts are more receptive to a more personal, less flashy approach where there isn’t much of an audience.


Seeing the Signs in Your Employees

First and foremost, don’t assume you know who an employee is, no matter how tenured. Chances are you have more ambiverts, than true extroverts and introverts. An ambivert is someone who adapts to the situation, because they are a mix of both introvert and extrovert. They can observe the atmosphere, conversation, or project and decide what is needed from their personality to see the optimal outcome. For example, in a high-stakes meeting, an ambivert might decide to take a back seat while more experienced individuals take the reigns, yet the very next day, land a new client by approaching someone at a conference.


Instead of observing your workforce with the intent to identify employees as extroverts, introverts, or ambiverts, observe the way the individual approaches their coworkers, connects with leadership, and carries out their work. Emulate those back. For example, do they schedule in-person meetings when starting a new project? Are they quick to publicly pat a fellow employee on the back or more likely to send a personal email? These clues will be far more helpful in deciding the performance management techniques they respond to best.


Are you an extrovert with clear needs? Do your introverted tendencies have you doing amazing work at your job? Tell us how your temperament makes you amazing at leading your workforce on Twitter @Trakstar_hr!

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