Conflict in the workplace has many sources. One of them is when colleagues have different personality type preferences. For example, extraverts like to develop ideas out loud. Introverts prefer to think them through.
Both approaches can work well on their own, but they can cause conflict when used together – that is, if we assume other people think like us (and that is a very common assumption):
How introverts misunderstand extraverts
When an extravert suggests an idea, it’s often a starting point for discussion. But an introvert expects that idea to have been thought through. As the discussion progresses, and the extravert develops the idea out loud, it can seem as if the extravert’s thinking is in a muddle.
How extraverts misunderstand introverts
When an introvert suggests an idea, it has often been well-thought through. But an extravert expects it to be the starting point of discussion. The extravert may find that any suggested improvements are immediately met with (previously considered) counter-arguments, making the introvert seem stubborn.
When working with extraverts
- …the first idea is the starting point
- …they may change their minds
- …so act as a ‘sounding board’ for them.
When working with introverts…
- …the first idea is the end point
- …they have thought it through
- …so find out what their thinking is.