How To Engage Introverts In The Workplace
How do you engage introverts in the workplace?
- Understand introverts
- Be the first to engage in conversations
- Provide a voice for introverts
- Don’t forget praise and feedback
- Offer flexible work options
- Be mindful during meetings
- Suggest leadership roles
Introverts are people who are often quiet in group settings and enjoy spending time alone. They are often more reserved in social gatherings and also do better in quiet environments — unlike extroverts who seek out social interaction and thrive in busy environments.
But unfortunately, most employee engagement strategies are designed for extroverts. If you truly want to create a more engaged workforce, you also need to learn how to engage introverts in the workplace. Keep on reading to learn more.
The first thing you need to do to engage introverts is to understand them. While no two introverts are exactly the same, some personality traits can help you recognize introversion.
Introverts need plenty of time for themselves and think of periods of solitude as essential for the best health and well-being. Too much socializing can drain them, and they have greater sensitivity to negative evaluation. Introverts also work better on their own, and they often choose behind-the-scenes roles when working in smaller groups. They’re also great listeners and like to watch from the sidelines.
As a leader, you should notice their strengths, while being mindful of their limitations. Understand that while a quiet employee might seem like they’re unengaged, this could be not true. An engaged introvert will look different from an engaged extrovert.
Be The First To Engage In Conversations
Chances are, introverts would not be the first to strike up new conversations, so it’s a good idea for you to reach out to them first. This is especially true with people they don’t already know. You can help them feel more comfortable by introducing them to others, especially during corporate events, meetings, or activities.
Provide A Voice For Introverts
Most introverts find it easier to express themselves through written text, so make sure to include this in your employee engagement strategy. Just because they are quieter and reserved in real life doesn’t mean that they have nothing to say. You can take advantage of apps to help them have more of a voice.
Other than that, it’s also beneficial if you ask them direct questions, so they can share their feedback on certain things. Even if they work better alone, introverts can feel isolated too, so don’t leave them out.
But don’t single them out, because it’s intimidating to be in the hot seat. Anonymous surveys are also a great way to get more information from a team, without putting a person on the spot.
Don’t Forget Praise And Feedback
Just like extroverts, introverts need recognition too. Just because they often work behind the scenes, and are not in the spotlight, doesn’t mean that they don’t need to be recognized.
One way to motivate introverts is to give them a shout-out in a meeting. This way, you can show your appreciation without needing them to directly respond. A personal email will be well-received too.
Offer Flexible Work Options
Extroverts thrive in a busy workspace, but introverts are not the same. They work better on their own because it allows them to focus their energy on the task, without having to worry about tuning out the chatter.
For introverts, it’s better if they have the opportunity for uninterrupted work time. You can offer flexible work options, so your employees can either come in to work earlier or leave later, so they can work in an emptier office.
Be Mindful During Meetings
Remember that introverts thrive better alone, or in a smaller group of people. That’s why when you’re arranging teams in your engagement activities, try to limit the number of participants in teams.
For meetings, make sure to create an environment where a person can speak without cutting one another. This can create a chaotic setting that forces introverts to keep to themselves. Other than that, make it a point to give a heads up before meetings or activities, as this gives introverts time to prepare, so they can engage better.
Suggest Leadership Roles
Introverts also make great leaders, as they are good listeners, thoughtful decision makers, and great problem solvers too. Consider the most successful introvert leaders in history, such as Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffet, and others!
As a leader, you need to know how to engage introverts in the workplace, so you can create a more engaged workforce. Understand their personality traits, know-how, and where they thrive the best, and support them for positions that fit their personality and skills.
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