Introverts and extroverts recap

Diversity JC had a really good discussion bout personality type orientation and interacting with those different from you, and just who gets their way and when. It was good to have all parts of the I-E spectrum represented too, from me the extreme introvert

to Judy Booth, an ambivert

to DoctorPMS, the extreme extrovert

and everyone in between. Several people pointed out that is hard to disentangle Introversion/extroversion from other personality traits like shyness, anxiety, and perfectionism. Those are things that both introverts and extroverts can be.

And it was also brought up that a key part of this is viewing your personality as a strength and not a hinderance, something I think introverts may struggle with more often in the extrovert-idealizing Western world, but certainly we all feel at times like our personality type is ill suited to some situations.

But that is why humans are amazing; introverts can act extroverted and vice-versa, it’s just not our most comfortable state and it takes a lot of energy to act against our default type, but there is value in pushing ourselves. So the idea is not to always cater to introverts and give them time to process questions…it can be OK to go fast through things

When it comes to classrooms and interacting with others in the lab or on our teams, it’s important to take time to discuss how each member of the team likes to work, and maybe take into account other personality traits/diverse viewpoints as well and craft a plan of working together based on the composition of the group. It’s definitely a shift that I’m not sure takes place a lot. Taking time to talk about creating an environment that works well for everyone (and to check in occasionally too). This may be an idealistic vision, but I think it’s one in line with the transition from academics as the ‘sage on the stage’ to the ‘guide on the side’. It’s up to those in authority to set the example as well as the students/mentees chime in and create a learning environment for students, the lab, the work team. That means acknowledging an extrovert’s need to talk things out straight away. Or making sure an introvert gets the time the need to concentrate on a task to get it done. It takes all types. It all starts with all of us understanding the full spectrum of personality traits. I think those that participate in the Diversity JC will have a head start in working well with others. And if all else fails, you can always send a message to co-workers through prominent signage:

Photo by Thom Sanger, PhD. Used with permission.
Photo by Thom Sanger, PhD. Used with permission.

Thanks all for participating this week and see you for our next #DiversityJC in two weeks!

Ian Street

Doctor PMS

Emily S. Klein


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