What is the difference between Introverts and Extroverts?

Introverts, Extroverts and Everything In Between - Pepperdine Graphic

The difference between an introvert and an extrovert is where you get your energy. Introverts get their energy introvertedly, internally. Extroverts get their energy externally. We can be a bit of both, and everyone has a bit of both. However, we’ll have a preference.

We’re all born with an IQ. We all have a personality and develop emotional intelligence. Our IQ changes 0% from birth. Our personality changes from 1% to 5% from birth, and our emotional intelligence is what changes. If our personality only changes from 1% to 5%, do extroverts or introverts ever change? No, but what they can do is they can learn the emotional intelligence of being an extrovert at the right time and being an introvert at the right time. However, they will always get their energy either internally or externally.

Some common traits of being an introvert include:

1) They enjoy spending time alone.
2) They are happy not to be the centre of attention.
3) They prefer one-on-one relationships.
4) They think before they speak.
5) They need time alone to recharge and reflect.
6) They typically prefer quiet, independent work environments.
7) They like to think deeply and specifically about things.
8) They are often seen as being reserved.

Extroverts, however:

1) They often have large social networks.
2) They enjoy being the centre of attention.
3) They tend to think out loud.
4) They are often relatively quick in their decision-making abilities.
5) They gain energy from being around other people.
6) They are often seen as outgoing, enthusiastic and optimistic.
7) They often thrive in team-oriented and open work settings.

So which is better, Introverts or Extroverts?

Neither. Since personality doesn’t change, it’s about understanding your nature and preferences. It is crucial to understand this from a work perspective.

For example, let’s say you are an extrovert, but you are also an expert in a data entry role. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be the best at that role ever, but what it means is that by Friday night, you probably need to go to the pub and catch up with your friends and have your energy recharged by other people.

Another example is if you’re an introvert in a marketing and PR role. Does it mean that you can’t be great at that? No, you could be the best. However, it does mean that by Friday night, you’ll probably want to sit at home alone with a book and a glass of wine and some silence.

The key is understanding ourselves, our preferences, and how to recharge. It’s a little bit like a battery. I liken an extrovert to being the solar power batteries out there in the sun, needing attention, light, and people. In contrast, the introverted battery or the introvert is the one at home plugged into the wall, recharging in quiet and silence. So which are you? Are you the solar powered, or are you the one that’s plugged into the wall?

As a manager, it is imperative to understand your team’s preferences and work with them accordingly. Sometimes, your employees will use their personalities to excuse poor behaviour or performance. However, this is unacceptable. Your staff does need to be able to do their role. Both introverts and extroverts work perfectly well; however, we need to make sure that we look after them differently and help them to recharge. As a manager, you need to recognise if your employees are either introverts or extroverts. Once this personality trait has been identified, you can work with their emotional intelligence to help them in their current position to achieve the results that the business requires from them.

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