Introverts and extroverts: how should companies be training both?

Dr Elliroma Gardiner
Organisational psychologist Dr Elliroma Gardiner

When managing a diverse workforce full of distinct personalities, it may be a challenge to create a one-fits-all training solution, especially if your industry relies on the creativity of your employees. Now a new study is shedding light on this problem and says what may be best for extroverts may not be the same for introverts.

The work compared the short-term effectiveness of ideation and relaxation programs, as it studied 163 volunteers that were put in one of three different sections: ideation training (e.g. brainstorming), relaxation training (e.g. stretching techniques, reducing anxiety, meditation) and a no-training control group.

“Extroverts were more creative when they had training in creating ideas, while introverts were more creative when they were encouraged to be relaxed,” said Dr Elliroma Gardiner, one of three authors of ‘Learning to relax versus learning to ideate’(Thinking Skills and Creativity, 2016, volume 21, pp. 97-108).

The results may be useful information for business owners looking to get the most out of their employees when it comes to planning training sessions. Especially those looking to tailor creativity programs and maximise employee performance in those programs.

While introverts and extroverts received the most benefit from different training methods, Dr Gardiner points out that both groups received a boost in creative performance compared to those who did not get any training.

“It doesn’t cost a lot of money; it doesn’t take a lot of time to do these trainings” said Dr Gardiner.

“If you are a company relying on your workers to be creative and you’re not providing training, this may be some good evidence that maybe you should”.

Dr Elliroma Gardiner is a lecturer at Griffith University’s School of Applied Psychology and a member of the Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing. Her research expertise is in organisational behaviour, particularly in personality, risk-taking, self-regulation, leadership, group performance and creativity.

(This article is authored by Bart Padjasek, Media and Communications Intern, Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing).