Extroversion is one of the most widely talked about personality characteristics of all time. There have been books written about extroversion and introversion, TED Talks have been given, and there are dozens of online test and opinions about this every present personality characteristic. It might be the most widely talked about personality characteristic because it makes a lot of sense and people can easily self identify their own level of extroversion.
In this post, we'll discuss the relevance of extroversion as it relates to the workplace and the pros and cons of extroverts on the job.
What we'll cover
First a definition:
The strengths of people HIGH in Extroversion
People with high extroversion tend to relate well to others, and are often well-liked in their teams and offices. They form quick and easy friendships, and their outgoing nature leads to effective group-work.
- Capable of quickly forming close associations with others
- Comfortable forming friendships with a large number of people
- Remember names and faces
- Tend to be straightforward, candid, and often charismatic
- Communicate easily with a variety of people
- Work well in group settings
- Invites others to participate who might be less inclined
- Willing to assist others with difficulties
- Highly sociable, prefer to spend majority of time with others
- Ideas and comments are well received in group settings
- Upbeat, chatty, and able to speak publicly
- Confident in social settings
- Usually very determined, likely to take charge, and confident
- Highly self-reliant tendencies, likely to become a leader
The weaknesses of people HIGH in Extroversion
People with high extroversion may struggle with keeping their emotions in check. At times, they can come across as aggressive or abrasive, but are also intent on pleasing people. This can lead to easily swayed opinions and unfinished projects.
- Often unable to make analytical, emotionless judgements
- May lack independence and gumption
- May value too highly the validation of others
- Tendency to get lonely
- May occasionally come across as harsh and aggressive or controlling and arrogant
- May not have the best judgment
- Can be too intense or lively
- May struggle to concentrate on what others are saying
- May be inconsiderate or sometimes socially unaware
- Can sometimes make others uncomfortable
- Likely to stand in the spotlight more, rather than giving it to others
- May appear to be too confident or cocky
- Desire to spend time in the company of others may affect personal work
- May attempt to do more than can be realistically completed in a set time frame
- May struggle to complete projects
The strengths of people LOW in Extroversion (Introverts)
People with low extroversion are precise and detail-oriented. They depend less on encouragement and are good, logical leaders. Their ability to focus on projects leads to high group effectiveness.
- Not hugely affected by emotions or feelings
- Less dependent on common encouragements
- Impartial and critical
- Insists on precision and being detail-oriented
- More inclined to take charge in situations that require a logical and fact-based perspective
- Prefers to focus on one project at a time rather than bounce around
- Ability to be self-reliant and think purposefully
- Independent, with the ability to lead group endeavors
- Dependable, cautious, and deliberate
- Often well-suited to manage potential pitfalls
- Tend to have a very steady mood
- Often mild-mannered, accommodating, and good listener
People with low extroversion can come off as unfriendly or shy. They struggle in social events and can struggle working in groups with people they do not like. Once they have an idea in their head, they can be difficult to compromise with. Often perceived as unfriendly and elitist.
- May prefer privacy to working in groups
- Value making their own decisions outside of others’ opinions
- Social events can be awkward and uncomfortable
- Often don’t enjoy group events
- Can be difficult to compromise with
- May feel an intense sense of inferiority which can result in workplace shyness
- Not inclined to take charge, and often constrained in social situations and personal relationships
- Difficulty working in groups
- May ignore others and follow own opinion despite consensus
- Form harsh negative opinions on others, very critical
- Not a risk taker
- Hard work/accomplishments might not be remembered or appreciated
How do I test for Extroversion?
Testing for extroversion is one of the easier characteristics to spot in people. Look for the following attributes when interacting with individuals you work with and you'll start to get a good sense of how extroverted someone is.
Signs of HIGH Extroversion
- Quick to answer questions
- Uncomfotable with silence
- Often talks loudly
Signs of LOW Extroversion (Introverts)
- Thinks before responding
- Needs to be prompted
- Comfortable with silence
- Sometimes soft spoken
Looking for these signs can help you spot those high in extroversion vs. low. The reality is that everyone is on a spectrum. Some people are in the middle or sway one way or another. The important thing is to look for the tendency to pull one way or another.
There is no right or wrong amount of extroversion to seek for in the workplace. We all have strengths and weaknesses. The goal is to learn how to best work with people of different levels of extroversion so we can utilize their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses.