Written by: Dustin Mitchell, Engineer, Electrified Systems
Everyone knows that extroverts are outgoing, and social. And, of course, it’s equally known that introverts are the exact opposite: shy, and always keeping to oneself. Right?
Wrong. This common knowledge is based on a misunderstanding. So what’s the real deal? The reality is, extroversion and introversion is more related to how you get your energy. Moreover, this is critically important in the work place! I’ll explain why, after we define these terms a bit better.
My favorite way to explain it (being the engineering dork that I am), is through an analogy about charging a battery. A “social battery”!
An extrovert charges their social battery through socializing, itself. This is very much like a car battery, where the battery is charged while the system is in use. (Side note: the thing that does the charging is the alternator…they very product I work on at DENSO!)
However, an introvert loses charge on their social battery when they socialize. Instead they must be left alone, more akin to charging your smart phone: It charges fastest if you plug it in, and leave it alone.
You may be able to come up with a better analogy than me (and feel free to share it, below). However you parse it, the most important thing to remember is: Extroverts feel energized by socializing, and introverts feel energized by solitude. (And if you don’t strongly identify with either, you may be a mystical creature known as an “ambivert“.)
To provide more clarity…
|Extroverts tend to…
|| Introverts tend to…
You’ve probably guessed by now, that I’m an introvert. For me, socializing is incredibly fun, but also very draining. In fact, the more fun it is, the more drained I am the next day. (We sometimes call this a “social hangover”.) For me, socialized too much feels very similar to studying really hard for a big test: physically fine, but mentally drained.
It’s important to note that, nobody in this world is 100% one versus the other. (Example: I enjoy small talk, when my social battery is charged up.) This is why my lists, above, use the phrase “tend to”. It’s better to think of it as spectrum with extroversion on one end, introversion on the other, and ambiverts in between.
I said before, that this topic was critically important to us here at DENSO, in the workplace. Now that you know what I mean by these terms, we need to discuss why this matters in the workplace:
Meet Dustin Mitchell, DENSO engineer and blogger. DENSO is committed to a culture where every associate’s diverse talents and strong passion enable us to contribute to a better world. What’s at your core? What are you passionate about? What drives and motivates you? We want to hear from you.