This article examines the relationship between extroverts and introverts and suggests that gregarious behaviour may, in fact, be detrimental to one’s career.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Careers, business studies

Key Questions to Explore:

  • Why would gregarious behaviour be detrimental?
  • What are the needs of both extroverts and introverts in the workplace?
  • How can a workplace culture that addresses personality needs be developed?

New Terminology:

Gregarious, extrovert, introvert

Materials Needed:

No special requirements

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

Many companies spend a great deal of time and effort on team building in that hopes that, once  bonding among the members has taken place, there will be increased productivity. There is the old standby four-step development of phases of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. During the Forming stage the group membership is established. The Storming stage comes when the members’ individual behaviours start to generate friction within the group. The third stage, Norming, emerges as the members identify what behaviours are bothersome and agreements are reached within the group outlining patterns of acceptable behaviours and conduct. The fourth stage, Performing, comes as the group members agree on performance behaviours and focus on the tasks at hand with consideration for the identified needs of the group members.

The needs of workplace employees, however, are as varied as the number of people on the site. It is important, therefore, that any efforts to create an effective workplace culture take into consideration the various personalities and needs of those in the group. This lesson will have the students reflect on this need and examine ways in which that might be accomplished.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • Begin the lesson by asking the students to describe an extrovert.
  • Ask them next to describe an introvert.
  • With those definitions established, divide the class into working groups of five or six students and ask them to discuss whether they think an introvert or extrovert (or neither) is more likely to be promoted over the other.
  • Have them discuss and list the reasons for their group choice.
  • Have the groups report their findings.
  • With this as background, provide the students with a copy of the article and allow them time to read it.
  • Once this has been done, have the students report their reactions and any insights that they might have gained from the article.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Ask the groups to discuss ways in which members of a group could be sensitive to the extroverted or introverted nature of their colleagues and actions that could be taken to establish a work environment that is conducive to both extroverted and introverted personalities.
  • Have the groups report their findings.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

The students will be able to:

  1. Identify the characteristics of both introverts and extroverts.
  2. Recognize that there are different needs for different personality types.
  3. Identify ways in which a workplace environment that supports personality differences  can be developed.

Confirming Activity:

  • Assign the following written task for homework: “Does the insight you gained from the lesson in any way alter how you are going to behave in the workplace. In what way and why?”