Introverts and Extroverts Working TogetherAre you an introvert or an extrovert? The business world has always rewarded extroverts, from Groupthinks and brainstorming to social outings and even cubicle farms.

But, as it turns out, introverts make up half the business population and a lot is being written about the differences between the two personality types and how they can live (and work) together in harmony.

Susan Cain, Lisa Petrilli, and Clive Thompson all discuss introverts in today’s workplace.

Traditionally, extroverts have been viewed as having greater success in all aspects of life.

In the workplace, specifically, it has been thought that one could only achieve success if they were outgoing and able to work well in a team environment.

However Susan Cain, author of the new book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, argues that “forcing everyone to act like extroverts harms the quality of our work and our lives.”

Introverts and Extroverts Working Together

Nearly a third of Americans are introverts. These people typically have the profound ability to stay focused and work diligently, but often find themselves overwhelmed by too much forced socializing thanks to team-based work environments and face-to-face collaboration.

Forced socialization can become detrimental to their productivity, causing them to suppress their ideas and thoughts.

So what’s the alternative? Cain suggests the answer is “virtual” collaboration. This is the idea that individual team members work alone prior to discussing solutions with the rest of their team. It is believed that working in this manner yields better results.

The interesting thing about all of this and which Thompson points out in this article, is virtual collaboration is very similar to how people collaborate online. There are a plethora of outlets for which people can interact with one another, but it can be done in private and you can give yourself time to reflect and respond. Cain says that this is “precisely what brings out the best in introverts.”

How well do you know the people you work with and how are you structuring your brainstorming meetings? Do you feel you could be getting more out of these meetings? If you aren’t completely happy with the results coming out your current brainstorming sessions, perhaps it might be time to consider taking this approach to team collaboration.

You never know…a new superstar might emerge with some incredible ideas.

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