In this post, I wanted to look at interpersonal conflict in the workplace caused by clashes of personality between introverts and extroverts and how the idea of the interconnected workplace can be used to help deal with the problem.

What is the interconnected workplace

The rapid advancement of technology, particularly in the fields of communication and connectivity has led to an evolution of traditional offices into what Steelcase first described as the interconnected workplace.

The main principles of the interconnected workplace are:

  1. Optimize Real Estate
  2. Enhance Collaboration
  3. Attract, Develop, Engage people
  4. Build Brand and Activate Culture
  5. Wellbeing at Work

With the business environment becoming consistently more challenging and complex, companies are increasingly focused on productivity and workflow optimization. In this climate, it is more important than ever that team members with varying personalities be able to work effectively together.

Enabling harmonious collaboration

Here are a few tips that can help reduce friction between introverted and extroverted employees and promote stronger and more effective inter-office relationships.

Communicate meeting agendas ahead of time: By laying out the agenda for meetings ahead of time, introverts will have the opportunity to consider the matter and plan their ideas or responses ahead of time rather than being required to ‘wing it’ during the meeting.

Provide spaces that cater to different people: Extroverts require groups of people to maintain their energy and usually prefer working through ideas as a group. With open plan offices now the norm, creating specific ‘ideation areas’ and ‘quiet zones’ provides employees with different personalities specific areas for them to use for either collaboration or contemplation when dealing with particularly challenging problems.

Supplement in-person sessions with electronic communication: When brainstorming ideas, introverts tend to fair poorly, often due to their desire to present their views only in more structured and thought out manner. Not losing out on this input is important so managers can use email or online work groups , where introverts can take their time to present their points in full.

Ensure that everyone has a voice: If you are a manager or team lead, it falls to you to make sure introverts are given a chance to express their views and needs as they are unlikely to demand time to voice their opinion. This can be mitigated by avoiding loud, free-wheeling high-energy discussions and encouraging introvert employees to engage more during meetings.

Creating an interconnected workplace while also minimizing intrapersonal conflict can be a challenge. However, by creating a workspace that enables a good flow of communication, diversity, and consideration of all voices; connecting employees with each other becomes much easier. This also leads to higher moral and employee productivity.

How do you smooth out friction between introverts and extroverts in your workplace? Share them in the comments!

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