For some, the switch to remote work was a relief, for others, a nightmare. Introverts from an office environment have said they have enjoyed the change. With less face-to-face social interaction, uncomfortable environments, and office ‘banter’ to contend with, they have found work from home allows the autonomy they need to work effectively. On the other hand, some extroverts have found themselves struggling to create the external stimuli from the office environment that motivates their work.
In any meeting, majority of the time you will find two to three people do 60-70% of the talking. Leaving the quieter introverts overwhelmed and unable to speak up or interrupt the pace of the meeting.
Getting introverts and extroverts to work together is ideal, as their different abilities and viewpoints can create a perfect environment for innovation. However, it is not as simple as putting them in a room and leaving them to it. You must nurture their needs and encourage them. As a manager, it is your responsibility to:
- Make the introverts feel comfortable enough to contribute during a meeting by encouraging the extroverts to listen and reflect on their perspectives.
- During an in-person meeting, get everyone to write down their ideas and suggestions to put up on a board for everyone to read afterwards.
- In a hybrid meeting, make sure everyone is heard, use the chat or hand-raising feature to give everyone a chance to contribute, and practice waiting 5-10 seconds before jumping in, allowing the time needed to form thoughts.
- Purely remote meetings can have a chat panel where everyone can input their ideas instead of speaking over one another.
- Provide the meeting agenda to everyone on your team a few days in advance (if possible) to allow for time to formulate ideas and give space to speak about them during the meeting.
- One way to allow the introverts a voice without the anxiety of speaking to a large group is through shared documents, such as OneDrive or Google Docs. They give a shared space for ideas to be written and acknowledged.
The idea is to encourage the introverts to speak up while keeping them comfortable enough to contribute; the extroverts to listen and reflect while allowing them the space for their enthusiasm to shine with private meetings. Avoid exclusion of team members who work from home from social activities by organising hybrid events such as hybrid lunches – giving the team a space to share their thoughts during a 30-minute meal.
Allowing introverts and extroverts what they need to work efficiently together, in turn, gives your business what it needs to be successful and long-lasting. If you or your team need training in soft skills to achieve this working ideal, please contact us. You can also find this article on LinkedIn.