It’s estimated that one-third to one-half of the world’s population is comprised of introverts. Yet research shows that many leaders have difficulty effectively managing and leading more inner-oriented employees. Here are three ways to adapt your management style to work with introverts:
1. Know your employee’s preferences. Introverts may prefer e-mails over face-to-face meetings in many instances. Many introverts also don’t like being called on in meetings unless they have had time to prepare what they plan to say. They also aren’t as likely as extroverts to highlight their own accomplishments and speak up with their own opinion and beliefs. Get to know the individual members of your team and tailor your leadership style to bring out the best in each one.
2. Give them space. Introverted employees typically thrive when left alone to complete their tasks. They also are more likely to find interruptions taxing and may do best in quiet areas of the office. Sometimes, giving an employee a choice in where they work in the office can be a tremendous help.
3. Don’t force them into socializing. Not all employees want more office parties or team bonding activities. Socializing with colleagues can be beneficial for team cohesion, but for significantly introverted employees, being forced into these activities could be more detrimental than helpful. Accept that not all employees want to socialize with others for fun, and let your introverted members of the team decide if/when to participate on their own terms instead of goading them into it.