Note: This post is written by Colin Christensen

Managing people in the workplace (or anywhere else for that matter) is a difficult task. Everyone is different, so there are no hard and fast rules to motivating him or her to be more productive.

Leaders have to understand the difference between introverts and extroverts to light a fire in their belly effectively, and push them to perform as well as they can. Below are the best ways to motivate extroverted and introverted people for productivity.

Main Differences Between Extroverted and Introverted People

The American Psychological Association refers to personality as “individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. The study of personality focuses on two broad areas: One is understanding individual differences in particular personality characteristics, such as sociability or irritability. The other is understanding how the various parts of a person come together as a whole.”

Introverts and extroverts can be loosely defined as being on opposite ends of the personality spectrum.

Introverts

This type of personality thrives in small groups, and prefers solitude to partying with strangers.

Introverts work best in quiet environments, and feel deep satisfaction when they can focus deeply on activities that interest them. They hate to be the center of attention, and would rather work alone than in a team.

While they can work in a team, the task assigned should not need the active collaboration of other people. They are deliberate, and slow to make decisions. They tend to follow the lead of other people rather than put their ideas forward, and prefer to avoid confrontations as much as possible.

Extroverts

On the other hand, extroverts thrive in crowds.

They have an active social life because they like to interact with people of all types, and get restless or bored in a quiet environment. They are assertive and have no problem with getting into confrontations to push their opinions.

They love to be the center of attention, and go to great lengths to gain recognition from their peers. Extroverts often make impulsive decisions, and can react quickly in a crisis.

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However, it is important to understand that no one is completely one or the other. They can have certain tendencies that make them lean more towards one or the other, but not completely go to either side.

You could have a mostly introverted person that still enjoys bar hopping on occasion, or an extrovert that comes back from a solo hike in top form. The trick is to recognize what motivates an individual, and that may require quite a bit of effort.

Motivation Ideas for Each Type

The aim of the leader or manager is to find the best motivation for extroverted and introverted people. Below is a list of motivation ideas for either type based on general characteristics. It is up to you to decide which ones will work best for a specific person.

Introverts

  • Let them set their own pace – Introverts don’t perform well under pressure, and tend to get slower when being rushed. Give them a deadline for work ahead of time.
  • Give them space – Create a conducive work environment for your introvert by putting them as far away from other people as possible.
  • Assign solitary tasks – Give them work they can do on their own without worrying about what other people are doing. This makes them feel uncertain and disrupts their focus.
  • Assign tasks that require attention to detail – Introverts excel at analysis and deliberate thinking. They are not likely to be carried away by the hype, and more likely to spot inaccuracies or errors. Place them in positions that require care and attention to detail.
  • Give clear instructions – Introverts are deliberate creatures, and prefer structure to excitement. They like to work in a predictable environment under precise circumstances. Arrange to get daily or weekly updates on clearly defined goals.
  • Acknowledge good work – Introverts do not like to be the center of attention, but they appreciate a quiet word of praise, or acknowledgement that does not require them to stand up in front of everybody. Award their good work by respecting their contributions, but forget about the trumpets.

Extroverts

  • Challenge them – Extroverts love attention, and are more likely to rise to a challenge. Bring on the pressure for them to perform. When they pull it off successfully, they know you are paying attention.
  • Put them in charge – Nothing motivates an extrovert more than being in front and center. They like to state their opinions, and expect others to agree with them. Putting them in charge of a project or team brings out the best in them.
  • Give them their head – Extroverts like to control their environment, and tend to chafe at too many restrictions. If they are competent, give them just the bold strokes for what you need, and let them figure out how to accomplish the task.
  • Acknowledge them in public – This is where you can take out the trumpets. Laud the small and big victories of your extrovert to other people, and let them bask in the sunshine of approval and appreciation. They will want more, and motivate them to do even better next time.
  • Allow them to express their thoughts – Ask an extrovert for their thoughts and suggestions during meetings to make them feel valued. They make a point of thinking outside the box, and can contribute significantly to any brainstorming session.

Importance of Having the Right Attitude for Different People

Understanding what motivates your team members or employees is important for productivity. You can get the best out of each of them if you accept that they are unique. Give them the kind of motivations that will work for them and you will reap the benefits.

Colin Christensen is an editor from Scholar Advisor. He enjoys exploring new concepts and understanding people so that he can motivate them to achieve their full potential. You can follow Colin on Twitter.

Categories: Attitude, Working

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One Response so far.

  1. cherfer says:

    once again, positive descriptions of extroverts and negative descriptions of introverts.