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Dynamic Happenings

7 Quick Ways to Manage Introverts at Work

January 13, 2014 General

The question of managing introverts at work is inevitable, primarily because
introverts are not some aliens spotted rarely, riding in and out of their flying
saucers. They form a significant portion of society. Statistically speaking, you are
likely to stumble upon 1 introvert in every 4 people you meet. So even if you are
not an introvert yourself, you knowingly or unknowingly are dealing with one, all the
time, as your spouse, boss, friend or colleague.

What Are We Missing?

The contemporary society and corporate culture is so constructed that it seems to favor extroversion in all ways of life. The very definition of success, especially corporate success, is determined by how good a person is in the following domains.

✔ Networking
✔ Communication
✔ Presentation
✔ Multi-tasking
✔ Group participation

We live in an age where being actionable, outspoken and flamboyant is more valued than being reflective, sensitive and modest. And that is exactly why extroverts are perceived as more valuable assets to the organization than introverts. Resultantly, introverts are signed off as losers or nerds or big bores. No wonder, they find themselves out of place. And that is where a great deal of talent is lost from our personal and professional lives.

The reason why intellectual gifts of introverts remain undiscovered at large is because there is a wall of myths surrounding them that stop people to really understand what they are all about. The common belief is that introverts are shy and inert. No, they are not. Shyness is when one can’t interact; introversion is when one doesn’t want to. Neither they are any less energetic or less passionate than their extrovert counterparts. It’s just that their energy and passion are directed inside towards their solitary pursuits (which are professional pursuits many times).

Introverts have always played a silent yet significant role in taking the society up from rags to riches. Do you know what Albert Einstein, the physicist; Warren Buffet, the investor and Steven Spielberg, the filmmaker have in common? They all are introverts and not just these, many of the world’s renowned thinkers were-and-are introverts.

How to Set the Ball Rolling?

So, now when we understand that there’s more to introverts than what is believed. The next question arises, how to get the best out of them.

1. Be cool with them
All introverts are crying out silently, ‘Do not try to change me. I am okay with what I am and so should you’. Empathize with them and let them know that you like them the way they are, rather than expecting them to become outgoing and sociable. They will appreciate it immediately and will let you enter in their world. Know who they are and what they are good at. Spot their unique set of skills and figure out how it can be translated into increased productivity for your organization. And most importantly, do not forget to give them their due credit. 

2. Trust them
Networking is not their cup of tea. Says who? Building healthy profitable relationships comes not from the fancy talk but quality. It’s a fact that the customers don’t stay because of the icing on the cake but the cake itself. When it comes to creating deep healthy relationship with your customers you can count on introverts. Moreover, introverts have a better sense of empathy which give them the unique ability to get in and out of the customers’ shoes making them better at understanding what your customers really want.

3. Involve them in decision making
Introverts deal with the world differently. They tread the unbeaten paths rather than going with the flow. This latent thinking gives them a fresh, innovative approach of dealing with situations. So, take your pick! Who would you count on, for streaming new ideas? Extroverts who are hard wired in the same-old-fashioned way or introverts who can really bring something new on the table.

4. Make them speak out their mind
Dynamic speakers always steal the show in meeting and conferences. But it’s not necessary that one who’s good at spinning words has the best ideas. Susan Cain, one of New York best selling authors, quotes “People followed Moses because his words were thoughtful, not because he spoke them well.” At times, introverts stay silent in discussions not because they have no inputs on a certain subject but because for introverts, conversation must be deep, intellectual and analytical and not just a chit-chat over popcorns. You need to constantly inspire introverts to come up with their insights and suggestions.

5. Assign them a role that fits
Introverts are more focused on ideas than their counterparts. They long for ‘eureka’ moments and not the ‘cheers’ of champagne glasses in a dazzling party. Give them a role that stresses on research and creativity rather than being in spotlight.

6. Give them a healthy work environment
Make them comfortable at work place. If they want, give them an isolated cubicle instead of shared workspaces. Provide them an environment that let them, as well as others, to look at their way of doing things in a non-intrusive and honorable way.

7. Most importantly, let them do their job
It is a misconception that introverts are very cynical and serious about their work. Their seriousness is in fact a sense of responsibility to fulfill the role they are expected to. They are self-driven and that makes them the ideal employees. They don’t rave and rant about their achievements. But they do express themselves through their work and they do it with élan.
Introverts: Extroverts – Can they live happily ever after?

We are not suggesting a cerebral superiority of introverts over extroverts here. What we are looking at, is a world where both introverts and extroverts are valued equally in their own spheres of expertise. Let us give you an example. We all know Steve Jobs as the father of Apple. But just so you know, it was the other Steve, Steve Wozniak who single-handedly designed the basic framework of what we know today as Apple. But in the words of self confessional Wozniak, Apple wouldn’t have seen the light of the day if it had not been for Steve Jobs. And that is exactly our point. What we need to create something GREAT is a well-balanced effort of both introverts and extroverts.

Cheers to yin-yang!

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