How to tailor your management technique to employees' personalities

By Aine Cryts

Your receptionist is cheerful, welcoming and always has a kind word for the patients who come to your practice--that's one of the reasons you hired her. You hired your coder because he's meticulous and focused; he prides himself on catching errors before bills are sent to an insurance company.

Your receptionist and coder are well matched to their roles. That's because extroverts naturally tend to embrace the sharing of ideas and constant action; they thrive when engaging with others in their daily work. Introverts, in contrast, work best in environments where they can quietly focus on their work and excel at building one-on-one relationships, wrote Francesca Gino, Ph.D., a professor at Harvard Business School, in Harvard Business Review.

While different personality types bring different strengths and weaknesses, managers must vary their strategies to bring out individual employees' best qualities and overcome challenges.

Here are three ways to manage introverted and extroverted team members at your practice:

Make sure you have a mix of introverts and extroverts on your team. The right combination of both personality types can help drive performance at your practice, Gino told Harvard Business Review in a separate article. While a team with too many extroverts can lead to a lot of tussles over egos, a team with too many introverts can result in less of a "shared team dynamic."

Minimize meetings before lunchtime. It makes sense to have your team huddle before you welcome your first patient of the day. Otherwise, try to minimize meetings before lunchtime, Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking, told HBR.

Scheduling meetings in the afternoon "gives people who prefer head down time the freedom to have that, but it also gives extroverts the knowledge that there will be time to talk things out," Cain said. Her point? Don't fill up team members' schedules with meetings. Often, people come up with the best ideas when they brainstorm on their own.

Leverage meetings and online collaboration tools. Open floor plans and face-to-face collaboration can be "overly distracting and counterproductive." Email, online chat and instant messaging allow more introverted team members to focus on their work, while being responsive to the rest of the team.

To learn more:
- read the first article and second article