A major challenge for effective workplace manners is managing expectations about personal and professional interactions. These varying standards of workplace etiquette stem from a number of sources, including culture, industry, and age. One of the most fundamental diffrences across all cultures is psycho-emotional profile between introverts and extroverts. Why? Because these two groups process social interactions differently, and there are distinct strategies recommended for optimizing interactions with each group type.
To succeed in dealing with people in professional setting, one must understand and respect their their point of view and boundaries. Introverts and extroverts manage their professional presence in different ways. By understanding how an introvert or extrovert is reacting to coworker, supervisor, or subordinate can adapt their workplace manners to elicit the best response.
Extroverts in the Workplace
About 3 in 4 people fall on the "extroverted" side of the spectrum. Extroverts share several common traits:
- Extroverts find group interaction energizing. They enjoy meeetings and events, and they are comfortable with talking to large groups of new people, making small talk or exchanging ideas.
Extroverts should remember: Don't overwhelm others, interrupt, or finish another person's sentences.
- Extroverts think out loud. They process ideas and problems by talking them through with others, using feedback to generate new avenues to explore. They often take a broader view, jumping easily from topic to topic as the conversation shifts.
Extroverts should remember: Respect for others and for the business at hand is paramount. Stay on task and minimize off-topic distractions.
- Extroverts are comfortable diving right in. Often unafraid of new ideas or situations, they embrace novel opportunities, relying on charisma and agile thinking. Making assumptions and jumping in too quickly can lead to costly mistakes.
When interacting with an extrovert, it's good workplace etiquette to let them talk things out, even if they stray slightly from the main topic; it helps them synthesize their ideas with those of the group. As they work better with more input, managers and coworkers should be open with extroverts, not leave them guessing.
Introverts in the Workplace:
Introverts comprise roughly 25 percent of the population; though some people write off introverts as "shy," "insecure," or "arrogant," one-on-one business etiquette coaching reveals that introverts just process their thoughts and interactions differently.
- Introverts find large groups draining, and recharge best alone. While they can be social and enjoy group interactions, introverts process their ideas by themselves through introspection and private brainstorming.
- Introverts think before they speak. They carefully collect their thoughts and formulate exactly what they mean before beginning. They often prefer electronic communication like text or email over "real-time" interaction, as they can compose their ideas more easily.
- Introverts are deep thinkers. They prefer going to the root of an issue, exploring all the details to gain a better understanding of the subject. They want to understand as much as possible about a new situation before diving in.
Good workplace manners with introverted peers and supervisors involve giving them the space to work through their thoughts rather than pushing them "out of their shell." Don't talk over them or try to fill up space in a conversation. Introverts may listen more than they talk, but when they do speak, they often have something worthwhile to contribute.
Neither personality type is inherently "better" in a professional setting. Extroverts are ideally suited for some tasks while introverts excel at others, but both types of personalities can acquire the professional presence that will help them succeed in almost any position; an introvert need not "turn into" an extrovert or vice-versa to achieve success.
by Lyudmila Bloch, Multicultural Business Etquette Expert New York