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Personality types are a popular topic of discussion, the star of many TED talks, thousands of books, and countless online tests. Our fascination with personality is driven partly by our desire to understand ourselves as well as those around us.

Our intrigue with personality types extends naturally into business environments. Whether focused on team wellbeing or productivity we know that tailoring our approach to motivate different personality types is crucial for a happy and productive business.

In 2022, many of us find ourselves in a hybrid work mode i.e. our time split between home and office. So, it’s an opportune time to relook at personality types and consider how we approach motivation, communication and delegation, given this major shift in how we work.

There are many ways to break down personalities; DiSC profiling, Caliper Profiling and Myer-Briggs Type Indicator to name a few. A common theme that perpetrates these models are extroversion and introversion.

“These personality types are related to how individuals process information and come to conclusions”, Melissa Taylor of Purdue University writes. This is crucial for individuals to understand how they and their co-workers operate.

While below we’ll touch on distinct traits of both personality types its important to remember that it’s rarely this black and white for an individual. Most of us lean toward one more than the other, however it’s not unusual to exhibit traits of both personality types. With that in mind, it’s important that staff wellbeing and motivation are considered on an individual level.

Merriam-webster defines extroversion as a personality trait or style characterised by a preference for or orientation to engaging socially with others. On the contrary, introversion is defined as a personality trait or style characterised by a preference for or orientation to one’s own thoughts and feelings. Another way to consider these traits are whether you gain energy from spending time with others or whether this drains your energy, somewhat like a social battery.

Common attributes of extroverted leaning people include forming connections and friendships quickly with others, confident speakers and asking questions in group settings. They tend to naturally take charge, make decisions quickly and easily, and are often (though not always) straight to the point, persuasive and charismatic.

Effective ways to motivate more extroverted people include:

  • Putting them in situations where they can be in charge, are under pressure and are being challenged
  • Allowing them to express their thoughts and be front and centre when appropriate.
  • Acknowledging and recognising them in a public setting

Often more extroverted people will flourish in the physical office and struggle in a WFH environment, as they thrive and gain energy from being around others. Checking in regularly to ensure they have opportunities to work in a team environment and have the chance to take charge when working remotely should assist with motivation.

Common attributes of introverted leaning people include being precise, focused, detail-orientated, self-reliant, and thinking things through before acting. They are generally more inclined to take the lead in situations that require logical and fact-based solutions and are often good listeners, accommodating, consistent and dependable.

More Introverted people are motivated in very different ways to their counterparts. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Allow them to set their own pace with tasks, and work by themselves when needed
  • Assign tasks with a detail-oriented or logical focus with clear instructions for structure
  • Give them space and avoid overwhelming them with too much all at once
  • Acknowledge good work in more private setting

The WFH set up is much better suited to more introverted people, who tend to thrive when working alone and in quieter, more private settings. It’s important however not to assume that more introverted people don’t need human contact, they just require it in different ways. Being conscious of how to accommodate for these kinds of personalities, especially when physically present in the office, will allow them to feel calm and supported.

Creating and encouraging both a remote & physical work environment and atmosphere that tailors to both introverted and extroverted leaning people is a terrific way to ensure your business has a diverse group of people (and skills) and that they feel comfortable and appreciated. If you embrace the fact that we’re often a hybrid of both personality types and you take the time to tailor your approach to an individual level, you’ll undoubtedly build a happy and productive team.

Oliver Sheer
Be Challenged Joint Managing Director

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