Sure, we all live in an extrovert-oriented world, but introverts still make up a significant percentage of the human population.
If you are a team leader, a manager, or a CEO, you most definitely have to communicate with your team members on a daily basis. Be it work matters or discussing more personal topics, conversations, meetings, and scheduled mutual activities add up significantly to your leadership approach.
We’ve discussed numerous times the importance of implementing exceptional people skills if you want to do the job right. Interpersonal characteristics such as empathy, active listening, sharing, and giving away advice are absolutely crucial for your mentor’s resume but today I’d like to point out another important aspect of leadership – knowing your team members at their core.
Of course, you’ve already heard about extroverts and introverts. But how can you apply this knowledge to your day-to-day work environment?
Extroverts and introverts 101: what stays beyond those character traits?
Nowadays we live in an extrovert-oriented world. Traits like easygoingness, being talkative and easy to talk to, being a natural in social activities and gatherings, and always being a step ahead in terms of growth and personal brand development is seen as extremely valuable and a doorway to a successful career and personal life.
Perhaps that’s why extroverts tend to feel a bit more “in known waters” any time they are participating in social situations. But we must not forget that introverts sum up a huge part of the human population in general. Besides, they have some amazing traits and characteristics that are greatly respected.
People who are extroverted draw their energy from their surroundings, including from other people. It’s just how they are wired: they prefer crowded spaces and thrive in loud situations. Extroverts rarely (especially compared to introverts) need some alone time since they are having a hard time spending time by themselves. They tend to “think out loud” – they virtually craft and shape their thoughts when speaking. In a nutshell, extroverts get their drive from their surroundings and other people. You can easily spot an extrovert in your team – they are the talkative ones that love to chit-chat and are always up for team building.
Introverts, on the other hand, are less loud and more private people. The reason for this is because they draw their energy from within – introverts tend to use their alone time to recharge and reboot. That’s why usually they feel exhausted and in need of a nap after socializing while extroverts are ready for more. Introverts are overall more private and prefer quiet surroundings. You can rarely spot them socializing to the extent extroverts can. They speak less and usually when they have something important to say. In general, introverts are not fans of small talk and they have the tendency to overthink things a lot.
I believe all those details are really important for anyone who serves the role of a leader in a team.
What’s the best approach when you have an introvert in the team
With all this being said, I think it’s safe to assume that introverts and extroverts require a much different approach from one another.
Usually, leaders find communication with introverts a bit more challenging since sometimes it could be quite difficult to take them out of their shells.
Here are 5 useful tips:
- try your best you make the introvert feel comfortable in your company – introverts may seem shy or withdrawn the first few times so it’s important for you to gain their trust;
- a good idea would be for you to be asking all the questions at first – introverts rarely (especially in the beginning) are likely to start a conversation; I recommend you to ask questions; this also shows them you value their opinion
- and don’t push too hard when it comes to social activities – perhaps you’ve organized team building activity and your introverted employee declines the offer. Don’t be too pushy – they’d appreciate if you accept their decision with a smile
- assign them individual tasks from time to time – introverts can perform outstandingly in a team but sometimes they’d appreciate some alone time while working
- ban all jokes that point at their shyness – in teams sometimes extroverts find introverts’ silence a bit awkward
To wrap things up
There’s a high chance you have an introvert in your team. That’s great since introverts tend to be more focused, productive, and great at delivering an outstanding job to the smallest detail. All you need to do to let them shine is to take care of ensuring a positive and calm work environment for them. Exactly calmness is what they truly appreciate. If you manage to help your employees feel comfortable at the office, I can guarantee you’ll witness some dazzling work results in no time.