As managers, we need to be able to deal with all types of employees.
There are those that are extremely talkative, energetic, and ready to share their thoughts; while others are more quiet, shy and tend to keep to themselves.
It can be challenging to lead an introvert, as that individual can be uncomfortable sharing her opinion, bringing up issues, or speaking up in meetings.
However, some of the most successful people in history are introverts, such as Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama. Introverts can bring many positive benefits to the company, but they do need a special approach.
Utilise these tips to work successfully with an introvert in your office.
Provide a Quiet Space – Extroverts typically thrive in a conference room, or a large office with cubicles and chaos.
However, introverts typically want a personal, quiet space in which to work. If possible, offer a private office or a walled-off cubicle in a quiet corner to a person that craves privacy.
If that is not an option, consider creating a quiet space that is designated as a “noise-free area.” This can be a break room, a roped off part of a lunch area, or a patio. Having the option to get away from the hustle and bustle of the office life and recharge, even for a few minutes, can provide the necessary boost to introverts.
Offer One-on-One Time – Meetings are usually loud and competitive. Employees tend to interrupt each other, and can resort to yelling to get their voice heard.
This type of environment can silence introverts, causing them great anxiety and stress.
They don’t feel comfortable raising their voice, and tend remain quiet throughout the meeting. This is why it is beneficial to both the employee and the manager to have one-on-one time to meet and discuss possible issues, future goals and any feedback.
It is much more likely that this individual will open up and feel comfortable speaking in a quiet place with no other participants, than having to try and get her point across in a hectic space.
Provide Time – A common characteristic of introverts is to carefully consider and think about something, rather than to give an answer right away.
In the corporate world, this is often difficult, as managers need to dole out information, and get a yes or no instantaneously.
Managers often get annoyed with the slow pace of introverts, who want to mull over decisions before committing.
However, you should consider the value of a carefully thought-out answer, rather one given on the fly.
Try to provide time for your introverted staff members to think over possible promotions, projects or ideas without forcing them to provide an answer right away.
Dealing with introverts at the office can often be stressful as they tend to think and act differently that other employees.
However, these kinds of people can offer many benefits to the company. Change your management style to successfully deal with introverts with these three tips.
Head of Training
Originally published: 2 June, 2017