Imagine a colleague of yours, or perhaps your dorm-mate, working in isolation on a project. He is a reluctant conversation-starter, but when you speak to him frequently and discuss topics which interest him more, he suddenly shows you bursts of his exceptional communication skills and how fun and out-going he can be. You may have experienced such individuals in your life, who seem aloof and prefer to remain in their own world until shaken out of their long slumber.
On the other hand, your friend Cathy may be a party-brat who loves to wear new dresses to casual parties and yearns for attention. She is excellent at communication and gets along very easily with strangers. She loves to get feedback from her friends on what she is wearing and how she is doing, and then makes changes to ensure self-improvement.
There are introverts, and there are extroverts, and then there are those who fall in between these two extremes. If you are a boss, you may have to deal with both kinds of individuals and devise strategies to make the best out of their skills and energy. But before you do this, you need to know who is more productive naturally and how can you set up such environment which is conducive to both.
Are introverts shy?
Introverts are asked this all the time. If they are shy, isn’t it difficult for them to develop rapport with colleagues or to actively participate in brainstorming sessions? Neuroscientists actually define shyness as a behavior–something akin to being fearful in social situations; however, introversion is defined as a motivation that is ruled by how much an introvert actually wants and needs to be in such social situations. So it is not necessarily true that introverts are shy.
Who is more productive?
It is difficult to decide who is more productive because both seem to possess qualities which the others don’t. The real trick is to basically understand how their minds work and what type of attitudes they bring to the table, which distinguishes them from others in terms of productivity.
The real difference in terms of productivity of both the introverts and extroverts comes in the form of how they derive their energy.
- Introverts tend to gain more energy and focus when they are left alone; therefore, you shouldn’t always expect instant answers from them.
- Extroverts, on the other hand, require external stimuli to get that much-needed energy to perform. For them, social recognition, appreciation and colleague support is more important. Take that environment away from them, and they are nothing more than ordinary workers.
- Introverts tend to find that much-needed spark and energy to work when they are alone, and if you put them in a situation where they have to interact with people, soon they will lose all of their energy for work and show lower levels of productivity.
- Extroverts naturally have a lower basic rate of arousal; therefore, they need much more time than introverts to be productive. This is why extroverts always demand the company of others in order to shine.
From what you’ve read so far, you may think that introverts are more productive, but there is catch here: extroverts are considered to be happier in general compared to introverts, and personal happiness and satisfaction counts a lot towards productivity. If you are stressed and unhappy, you may not be able to focus on your work, and you could become less productive. An extrovert, however, may be more productive if the office environment makes her happy.
So, the productivity of introverts and extroverts really depends upon the kind of environment you put them in. If it is conducive for them to recharge easily, whether that means giving them alone time or excuses for social interaction, both can be equally productive for your organization.