Managing a team is knowing your members and being able to manage them individually. In a team, there are different types of personalities with different characteristics and behaviors but with unique skills and ideas. Some team members will express their ideas easily, but others will need more support to get there, such as introverts.
Who is an introvert?
Introversion refers to the state or tendency, driven by internal gratification and mental well-being of an individual. Perceived as reserved and less talkative beings, introverted individuals find more pleasure and comfort in being alone than in a group. Introversion is not the same as shyness or social isolation. Introverted individuals generally prefer solitary rather than social activities, while shy individuals avoid social interactions because of fear and anxiety.
Why does your team need introverts?
Introverts are a real treasure for the company. They are thoughtful, observant, and well known for providing relevant solutions. Generally, introverts maintain a harmonious relationship with their fellow employees.
In many areas of life and especially in business, you need to know how to speak loudly and quickly, have a very developed social network, be very daring, like to put yourself forward, be a good speaker and more. This is why companies prefer to recruit more extroverted profiles in decision-making and management functions.
If you’ve got a thousand reasons to prefer a team without introverts, here are six reasons your team or company in general needs them.
1. You speak? Well they listen
Listening is a very powerful instrument. Often much more powerful than speech. One thing about introverts is that they don’t take up too much space. Introverts are known to be active listeners. They don’t just listen to what their interlocutor is going to say. No, they pay attention to details and value the words of others.
2. Introverts are less involved in conflict
Creating your own space does not allow introverts to imitate that of others. Introverts focus on their tasks and interact when necessary which prevents them from provoking tension. And even when they are involved in a conflict, their listening skills promote rapid conflict resolution.
3. Introverts are independent
Creating their own space gives introverts a form of independence. They like to work alone and do not need rigorous monitoring to carry out their task as they have a great capacity for concentration. Oftentimes, in business, it is enough to give them a project, explain the basics to them, and then they fly on their own, needing very little help.
4. Introverts love to write
They don’t talk too much but most of the time they love to write. What is said orally can later be distorted, damaged, even forgotten, but when something is written it has a certain value and can be preserved over time. They are more apt at writing excellent reports because not only do they enjoy writing, they are good listeners and are interested in details.
5. Introverts act with caution
Being careful is an asset in carrying out tasks as well as in maintaining harmonious relationships. Introverts are sensitive in their dealings with others, rather than being heavy and vigorous. They treat others with understanding, tact and respect and are not inflexible. They observe and think deeply before taking risks. Also, they prefer to avoid risky comparisons and aggressive suggestions.
6. No one is totally introverted
Introversion should not be an obstacle for an individual because at some point everyone is able to reveal a new face depending on the circumstances or the objectives. No one is totally introverted or extroverted, Carl Gustav Jung made it very clear in his book Psychological Types.
You, therefore, have the power to lead an introvert to open up, to express himself freely, and to participate in activities like everyone else, but for that, you have to know how to do it.
How to manage introverted employees in your team
Accept their nature
First of all, you have to know how to recognize that each person is unique. An introvert is an introvert and you must first come to terms with this fact. Your goal is not to change them but to lead them to evolve and bring out the best in them. For this, you must show patience and understanding.
If you dedicate time to know your team, you end up building a strong relationship with them which places you in a better position to help them improve their performance.
Offer them their own space for expression and creation
The layout of the current society is made in favor of extroverts. Whether it is workplaces or schools, everything is done to promote group work in open spaces. Susan Cain, in her book The power of introverts made a remark that 70% of American workers occupy open spaces. But for introverts, as naturally calm people, it is important that they have a quiet workspace that they like. To get the most out of their talent and creativity you need to give them the vibe they need. This implies a quiet workspace and also time alone.
Encourage them to speak up
Introverts are not used to interacting to share information they do not think is relevant. They prefer to think and analyze in order to arrive at a concrete result. But by dint of thinking and pursuing the ideal, introverts often forget to talk about their ideas which could have made things happen. It is therefore important that you encourage them to share their thoughts. One tip for getting them involved would be to ask them for their opinion on a meeting or discussion as a start.
Promote written communication
Incorporate methods for communicating in writing. You can already start with little written reports, or adopt the little Happierco strategy where everyone has to list their tasks, expectations, and impressions every start of the week driven OKRs and check-ins. This is also a great way to give feedback. Either way, find a place for written communication to facilitate the exchange with introverts.
Give them positions of responsibility
Most of the time introverts are underestimated. Many think they won’t make good managers because they don’t have the skills to communicate effectively and work with different people but the truth is they might prove to be more capable because of their ability to bring their support. In addition to their listening skills and their great empathy, they have a great sense of responsibility. So give them the opportunity to prove themselves, they will surprise you.
Avoid rushing them
Just because you have to get them to express themselves or integrate better doesn’t mean you have to be on their backs all the time. If there’s one thing introverts hate, it’s feeling pressured. Focusing on them every time could be misinterpreted. Ask them questions, but don’t ask them all the questions, ask others as well. Be careful that your help does not turn into relentlessness.
The evolution of the world of business implies the evolution of our perceptions and also of our management strategies. Each individual, whatever their difference, has a talent and a place in the business world. It is this diversity that makes the difference. The qualities of an introvert will then be very useful for the company to make it prosper.
However, it is the managers who face the greatest challenges. If the way you manage works with most of your people, it’s important to adapt yourself to help introverts feel more fulfilled in this environment of yours.
Adjust your managerial style to address all types of personalities present in your team.