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Tips to manage introverted employees

By Jana Angeles | 17 April 2019

Introverted employees are often seen as quiet, shy individuals, but many people make the assumption that they aren’t as productive since extroverts thrive in social situations and they don’t.

No matter how senior you are in a management position, you’ll need to be more accommodating to an introverted employee since their communication styles and the way they work is different from extroverts. 

Generally speaking, introverts tend to be the listeners of the group; the ones that generally leave all the processing in their heads before they speak.

So, before you assume your introverted employee is underperforming at any stage of their position, perhaps you still haven’t made the most of getting to know them on a professional level.

Advantages of introverts in the workplace

  1. Fantastic listening skills.
  2. They are always prepared.
  3. Strong focus on their work.
  4. They are supportive.

Introverts are the underdogs of the workplace - most people assume that because they’re the “quiet achievers”, their resistance in communicating verbally can be somewhat intimidating. However, if you get to know them, there are some standout qualities that make them good employees.

According to Inc, here are the top qualities introverts have that make them valued in the workplace:

1. Fantastic listening skills.

Introverts are known for being great listeners, which can be a huge asset, especially when working in a team environment. They have the ability to read team dynamics and can help diffuse toxic situations from occurring.

2. They are always prepared. 

When it comes to a big presentation, an introverted employee is less likely to improvise in a meeting. Expect them to come prepared with everything from notes to talking points. It is also fair to make an assumption that they have probably already imagined what could happen, which can give them the confidence boost needed when presenting to staff or involving themselves in discussions during meetings.

3. Strong focus on their work.

Introverts don’t like associating themselves with chit chat because this means they are taking their focus away from their own workload. Introverts are quiet in their nature since most of the time, they are working on a task that requires their full attention. Unlike extroverts, they would rather have their concentration on one task before they move onto the next.

4. They are supportive. 

Introverts are great when it comes to doing work that supports a team. Due to their nature of being focused in their work, they thrive in detailed-oriented tasks that could help extroverts in the workplace focus on other things that take priority.

As you can see, introverts have many strengths and while they prefer to be managed differently, managers are encouraged to be accommodating to all kinds of personalities they deal with in the workplace. Here are some tips to better manage introverts in the workplace.

How to manage introverted employees

  1. Allow them to be autonomous, but also give them support.
  2. Make room for flexible work arrangements.
  3. Plan ahead.
  4. Provide training opportunities for professional development.

1. Allow them to be autonomous, but also give them support.

hikers supporting each other

Business News Daily suggests that introverted employees feel more comfortable if you give them the space to go about their daily responsibilities.

While most office spaces are open-plan, if you know that they work best in a space where they have a bit of privacy, designate them in the quiet corner of the office or allow them to work-from-home on occasion. 

While introverts work well in tasks where complete autonomy is required, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t check in with them every once in a while. As a manager, you can schedule one-on-one meetings to see how they’re tracking. This will allow them to address any concerns and questions in a comfortable space.

2. Make room for flexible work arrangements.

mother working from home with child

Being flexible at the workplace can help increase employee retention and boost productivity levels. Most companies are now gearing towards a flexible work environment since it can have a positive impact on a business. Not only is the option of flexible work attractive to prospective employees, it is seen as a company perk too. 

Introverts value their own space when they are working on their day-to-day tasks, so giving them the option to work-from-home every week can help them feel motivated and recharged.

Cutting down on face-to-face meetings will also help them get through their work uninterrupted. It also shows that you trust that they get the work done, especially if the office is open-plan.

3. Plan ahead.

business woman planning ahead

According to Forbes, it’s important to plan in advance when it comes a general workday, especially for introverts. Introverts prefer to know early if they have a meeting during the week or the week after to be able to mentally prepare themselves for it.

This also gives them time to make any necessary research and have time to prepare. It is useful to give them a clear agenda at least a day or two before a big meeting or networking event. 

Not only will this help boost their participation, but you also recognise that they will be more engaged. Introverts having a clear idea on what their day looks like will benefit them as employees and it will show that you respect their time.

4. Provide training opportunities for professional development.

online learning concept

Introverts are mainly overlooked when it comes to leadership positions because many underestimate that they don’t have the skills needed to communicate effectively and work with different people.

However, this is a mistake most employers make since Barack Obama, past president of the U.S for two terms is classified as an introvert and his leadership has left an impressive legacy to so many people. It’s been noted that during his presidency, Obama would keep to himself for hours after he had dinner with his family as a way to recharge.

By providing training opportunities to your introverted employees, you can help develop their communication and leadership skills.

Upskilled offers a wide range of courses in leadership and management, helping potential leaders or those currently holding team leader/management positions develop their skills even further and gain new ones. The benefit of online study is that individuals can fit their studies around their schedule of work and other commitments.

Opportunities like this can help give a vouch of confidence to your introverted employees, which could make them great leaders one day.

Are you a manager looking into further study?

If you’re a manager needing qualifications, or simply want to develop your current skill set, Upskilled offers a range of management and leadership courses to help you move up the ranks. These courses also help prepare you to lead and inspire teams in positions where leadership is a strong focus. 

Courses can be completed online around your schedule and most qualifications can be obtained within 12 months. They are also self-paced so you can complete them at a time-frame that suits you (ideally within 12 months in a certificate or diploma-level course). If you’re looking at leadership opportunities, don’t wait and start your course search here. 

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