One’s attraction to working in social groups may be culturally influenced. In the United States, for example, we tend to idealize charismatic extroverts. (Think celebrities and media-savvy CEOs.) Because extroverts usually talk the most (and often the loudest), their ideas are heard and often implemented.
Psychologists agree that introverts and extroverts work differently. Extroverts tend to tackle assignments quickly. They make fast and sometimes rash decisions. They are comfortable with multitasking and risk-taking.
Extroverts think out loud and on their feet; they prefer talking to listening and are comfortable with conflict, but not with solitude.
Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy some parties and business meetings, but after a while they wish they were at home with a good book. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak and often express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict.
Leaders must understand each team member’s strengths and temperament. The most effective teams are composed of a healthy mix of introverts and extroverts.