THE X FACTOR
The power of personality
Beyond the generational distinction, the new employee archetypes also reflect specific personality traits and ways of being in the world. At a high level, these workplace personality types include:
Extroverted employees comfortable talking and being in the spotlight. They’re less risk averse and are typically the first to volunteer for projects and initiatives. Extroverts thrive on talking to and interacting with others - collaborating with their colleagues and thinking out loud gives them energy. And they think nothing of picking up the phone for a quick call when they have a question or want to discuss a project. In fact, the phone and in-person conversations are their preferred methods of communication. Their thinking is: “Why send an email or IM when I can just call or drop by their office?” When it comes to office space, a bull pen at a newspaper or a spot on a trading floor are the ideal working environments for the more outgoing employees. For most companies, translating this into an open area where your extroverts can collaborate and brainstorm is a perfect solution.
Many researchers have found a marked predominance of the introvert personality type among professionals struggling with in-person, office-based work environments - especially open workplans. This personality profile is indicative of people who are responsible, dependable, persevering, and conservative, as well as technically-oriented and more comfortable working with facts and reasoning than with people. They are a crucial majority of knowledge workers (like computer programmers) and innovators (like product developers), both of which tend to produce game-changing gains for their employers in the form of new products, tools and client solutions. These introverts thrived while working from home during the pandemic: for example more than half of software developers were actually happier during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Introverts vs. extroverts in the workplace
Enjoy the spotlight
Phone calls, in-person conversations
Public praise, recognition in team meetings
Never mistake quiet for lack of motivation
Email, instant message, text
Private praise, congratulatory email