Managing introverts in a world that is geared toward valuing and celebrating the extroverts among us, can be a challenge.
In a previous blog post, Understanding the Introvert in the Extrovert’s World, you read about the characteristics of the introvert and extrovert based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I mentioned that this is an assessment tool used by many companies to discover employee preferences when dealing with the world.
Study results indicate that between one-third to one-half of our population falls into the introvert classification. Chances are very high that you have a few on your team. We often overlook these individuals, seeing them as “the quiet ones”. We run the risk of discounting their input, seeing them as potentially disinterested, or ignoring them completely.
Some ideas for how this personality type is best managed and how to take advantage of the valuable skill set they bring to the corporate problem-solving and creative process table appear below.
[tweetthis]Remember: Introverts go within to recharge their energy reserves. [/tweetthis].
With this in mind, here are some of the best practices for working with the introverts on your team:
- Give introverts time to think and respond. Send meeting agendas in advance so the introvert has time to prepare their thoughts. Introverts generally dislike being called on the spot.
- Create opportunities for the introvert to share their thoughts in writing. After sharing meeting agendas in advance, call for ideas to be emailed to you prior to the meeting, for those wishing to do so.
- Create work spaces for tasks best performed in isolation. In the open floor plan design, adopted by many organizations a few years ago, it was thought that this type of space would encourage communication and idea flow. For the extrovert, it does. But, for the introvert, who values quiet space in which to think and organize, this arrangement can be taxing. Quiet work spaces give the introvert the environment they crave.
- Send energy the introvert’s way. You can best do this by respecting his way of processing and working.
The challenge of managing the introvert and extrovert personality types in our work groups doesn’t have to be difficult. Recognizing and celebrating the differences can go a long way toward better problem-resolution, customer service, and innovation in our corporations.
How do you manage the introverts in your company?
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