How to Manage Digital Extroverts
Extroverts at work have no problem speaking up and sharing their opinions. They love to network with colleagues. In the digital world, they thrive on social media and use it to connect with friends, family and work colleagues.
Extroverted employees can be a real asset in the digital workplace because of their outgoing personalities. Their ability to engage others can be a boon and a boost to company morale, particularly when employees work at a distance from one another. However, there is an entirely distinct set of skills when it comes to managing digital extroverts.
Here's what experts had to say about harnessing the power and potential of digital extroverts in the workplace.
What Are the Qualities of Digital Extroverts?
One of the main qualities of digital extroverts is that they are likable, and often people look up to them in the workplace. Simon Brisk, commercial director at Cheltenham, England-based Click Intelligence, said their ability to relate well with others is a benefit in the workplace.
"Their extroversion helps increase collaboration in the workplace," he said. "Another benefit of having an extrovert employee is that they encourage others to participate who may be less inclined to do so."
Extroverts are comfortable forming close relationships with many people and are willing to take on tasks and roles other than their required ones. Their sociability opens up channels of communication and collaboration and can bring introverts into the conversation, said Ifty Nasir, CEO at London-based Vestd.
"Extroverts bring something vital to the table when everybody is working from home," Nasir said. "They keep the communication channels open and are far more likely to organize socials to keep the team connected."
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Why Do Extroverts Need to Be Managed Differently?
There are many different types of personalities in the workplace, and they all require a slightly different management style. What works for an introvert may not work for an extrovert.
Extroverts in particular need to be managed because even if they are known to be friendly and helpful they can be a little bit over the top, which can overwhelm some people, including customers and colleagues.
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"Most managers think extroverts don't require any special management style since they're always engaged and communicative," Brisk said. "This may not be true for every situation. For some people, extroverts can be very annoying to be around."
Extroverts may be very effective in their own work but the can reduce the productivity of others around them if left unmanaged, he added.
Tips to Manage Extroverts in the Digital Workplace
Extroverts get their energy from spending time with other people, so it's best to surround them with a team. Give them opportunities to speak up but make sure they give introverts opportunities to do the same. Here are a few management tips:
- Encourage them to listen: Brisk said it's essential to encourage extroverts to listen more to the people around them. "Extroverts can sometimes become very self-absorbed, so it is important to remind them to take time to listen to their peers and show empathy as they do so," he said.
- Don't allow them to dominate conversation: Ensure that extroverts don't dominate the workplace and aren't taking away opportunities from their quieter counterparts. Managers should step in if they're holding the floor too long to allow someone else to share their opinion.
- Give them clear rules: Extroverts are an asset for the company, but they, too, must follow the rules. Remind them of their limitations and their responsibilities and help them understand what they can and cannot do.
- Encourage them to take on hobbies: Encouraging extrovert employees to take on hobbies is a good way to put their energy to good use and bring something new to the workplace. "For example, many team members enjoy taking virtual fitness classes together to keep each other accountable in their wellness and harnessing a sense of community in the workplace," said Albert Galarza, global vice president of human resources at Vancouver, Canada-based TELUS International.
Extroverts can play a positive role in the digital and remote workplace, helping to connect employees and boost collaboration. But their contributions need to be monitored, particularly in remote and distributed situations where subtle interpersonal cues are harder to pick up.
That said, the best way to manage digital extroverts is by tapping into their energy. Extroverts love solving issues and problems in the workplace. Nothing's better than encouraging them to keep doing what they're doing and take the lead in new endeavors, while encouraging them to be sensitive to the needs of others.