Introverts can be extremely beneficial assets to a team, which is good, because odds are you have one—roughly half the population is one. That being said, introverts can seem a little difficult to manage if you don’t understand them or don’t know how. Here are some management tips to get the most out of the introverts on your team.
1. Don’t ambush them.
Introverts typically need time to sit and think about and process information in order to come up with an answer. Rarely does an introvert blurt out a contribution. So back off, and give them time and space. They don’t need to be alone all of the time, but they definitely need their independence. If their own private office is out of the question, consider letting them work remotely or use the conference room to get away for a bit. It will most likely increase teamwork and collaboration, because they’ll be able to contribute better, more thought-out solutions.
2. Consider them for leadership positions.
When it comes to teamwork, introverts are often considered to be individual contributors. But that may not be the best use of their talents. Depending on the person, team management could be the best fit for the introvert. Introverts are less likely to take unnecessary risks, or derail teamwork for the sake of their own ego—good qualities to have in team management roles.
3. Meet with them one-on-one.
Introverts don’t exactly enjoy speaking up (though, of course, that’s not always the case). Small, close-knit meetings can build trust, loyalty, and confidence, and allow management to hear ideas that may not come up in a larger group. In those larger group settings, you may need to get creative with the ways you evoke introverted input. For example, Jennifer Kahnweiler of the Wall Street Journal wrote, “One group I know distributes 10 tokens to each team member at the start of a meeting. When someone speaks, he or she gives up a token. The idea: No tokens, no talking.” If every voice isn’t heard, the best idea may go unvoiced.
The best way to get the most out of the introverts on the team is to communicate with them. Introverts are especially receptive to building relationships; once you have an introvert’s trust, you’ll have their collaboration. Communication helps you understand what engages introverts—as well as extroverts—so you can figure out ways to motivate them.
Susan Cain, writer and speaker on introversion, said “The vast majority of teachers report believing that the ideal student is an extrovert as opposed to an introvert, even though [studies show] introverts actually get better grades and are more knowledgeable… And interesting research by Adam Grant at the Wharton School has found that introverted leaders often deliver better outcomes than extroverts do, because when they are managing proactive employees, they’re much more likely to let those employees run with their ideas, whereas an extrovert can, quite unwittingly, get so excited about things that they’re putting their own stamp on things, and other people’s ideas might not as easily then bubble up to the surface.”
If you would like learn more about how understanding Behavioral traits of your employees, or prospective employees can have a positive impact in your organization. call Coach Michael Stelter at Advanced Business Coaching, Inc. (262) 293.3166.