What is an introvert? We all have a natural position on a scale of extraversion* / introversion. We can be at the end of the scale, or somewhere in the middle. This does not mean that we cannot adapt, but it's simply that we are naturally in that place and that is where we feel most comfortable. Introverts can be extraverted for a period of time, but there are some conditions. The more introverted someone is the more likely it is that they will need a rest after extraverted behaviour, because it is much about how you give and gain energy. Es are energised by people, Is expend energy when interacting and, like a battery, need to recharge.
Introverts also need warning about what is coming next, and should not be pushed into the limelight without preparation. All of this is very important when it comes to team building events, because many such events revolve around extravert activities. Often event companies will choose young, extraverted people to be their instructors. Without experience these youngsters, with the best of intentions, can be the last person that an introvert wants to be in control.
There are a few issues here. The last thing that a team building event should do is alienate participants. This is always important, but in some cases a department can be made up of a specific type of personality type and when an extravert instructor runs an activity it can feel like a bad fit. Much is said about 'taking people out of their comfort zone' and, when appropriate, that can be very powerful. However, without understanding and care it can be an unpleasant experience that achives the opposite. Team building sometimes gets a bad rap and crass, ill considered delivery has a lot to answer for.
Another issue is that introverts have a lot to offer a team. In western corporate culture we tend to reward extraverted behaviour (this is the opposite in Japan, for example). Introverts are often quiet and thoughtful. They sometimes see the dangers which others miss. Demonstrating the value of all personality types in a team is one of the key goals of effective team building.
The key is to choose the activities well and have an experienced event manager who can make an assessment of the group and encourage everyone to participate on terms that suit them. This is about building trust as much as anything and this is when an event manager becomes a facilitator.
Call us to discuss our experience of groups and talk through the type of event that might be a good fit for your team.
*Is it extravert or extrovert? Rumour has it that when Carl Jung was asked this question he replied that it is extravert because 'extro' is bad Latin.