Introverts & Extroverts In The Workplace. Why We Need Both.


This is one of my favorite topics for discussion. Who is happier? Extroverts or Introverts. Sounds like a bad reality TV show. Why are the two always pitted against each other? Why is one trying to win over the other? Why can’t the two coexist?

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal shares a bit of research that says if introverts act more like extroverts they will be happier. Naturally, the introverts take offense to this because it begins with the premise that one is better than the other.

While there are extremes, many people share qualities of both extroverts and introverts. At work I am more extroverted and at home I am more introverted. I get to be outgoing and reflective. It’s a potent combination that works well for me. In fact, I’m being reflective as I write this post.

Would more be gained by celebrating what each has to offer? When I think of different leadership scenarios there is significant advantage to leveraging the gifts that each possess. For example:

  • An extrovert leader can light a fire to create energy to move a project along and an introvert leader can instill calm to a frenzied situation.
  • An extrovert leader can push the boundaries for new thinking and an introvert leader can bring thoughtfulness to addressing tough problems and situations.

While this debate is far from over, I think there is great power in the “and”. What do you think?