Extroverts aren't just people who are talkative and engaging -- these personality types get their energy from external sources, often from other people. Human resources expert Meredith Persily Lamel, an executive in residence at the American University's Kogod School of Business in Washington, DC says there are some best practices in helping them excel.
Here are five tips for working well with extroverts.
1. Assign group work.
Extroverts typically do well in opportunities for group creativity, Persily Lamel says. Brainstorming sessions, trouble-shooting meetings, or other methods of bringing groups together to discuss their ideas and to solve problems together are often good environments to get contributions from extroverts.
They thrive in a social work environment and are energized by external stimuli, Persily Lamel says. One caution: Be sure the extroverted team members don't dominate discussions to the detriment of the team.
2. Let them talk it out.
"Extroverts will speak in order to kind of develop their thinking," Persily Lamel says. To get the best ideas from your extroverts, create opportunities for them to discuss solutions and ideas, exchange feedback, and evaluate information before committing to a plan of action, she advises.
3. Give non-verbal cues.
Extroverts also respond to non-verbal cues and are good at reading body language, Persily Lamel says. Lean in a bit when conversing, and be aware of facial expressions, tone of voice, and other forms of body language when dealing with extroverts. They notice.
4. Understand their energy.
Extroverts will typically need more energy if they've been in a solo environment for a while. So, scheduling a meeting after the extrovert has been working on a report in his or her office all morning could be a great way to re-energize the employee right at a time when he or she needs some interaction with other people, Persily Lamel says.
5. Allow for interaction with other people.
Extroverts may be more skilled at client-facing work, attending conferences, or in other environments where there is a great deal of interaction with other people. Of course, there should never be bias in favor of one personality type or another, Persily Lamel says.
The key is to work with your employees to tailor their job descriptions to focus on more of the work at which they are skilled and which makes them happier and more effective. That way, managers get both more productivity and greater engagement --advantages for both the employee and the company.