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3 Powerful Ways Leaders Can Bring Out the Best in Introverts

Let introverts have their moment to shine

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BY Pauline Mendoza - 07 May 2018

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PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

To find value in things, always look beyond the surface. That holds true for the workplace, too.

If you have team members who don’t outwardly express ideas or who often shy away from recognition, don’t immediately discount them. Just because they don’t want to hog the spotlight doesn’t mean that they can’t contribute to your team’s success.

As such, knowing personality types helps organizations create effective strategies in the workplace.

"Since personality type provides a framework for understanding individual differences, and provides a dynamic model of individual development, it has found wide application in the many functions that compose an organization," writes Gordon Lawrence and Charles Martin in their book Building People, Building Programs.

Psychologist Carl Jung made his contribution to the study of psychology by proposing and developing the concepts of introversion and extroversion. He said that an introvert’s interests and energies are drawn and directed inward while extroverts do the opposite.

Introverts typically need to exert extra effort for social interactions. They value alone time. But don’t misconstrue their silence for lack of ideas. Often it’s the quiet ones who have it all figured out.

As a leader, here’s how you can bring out the best in them.

 

1. Respect their need for a space and time to be alone

Dr. Gia Sison, who specializes in occupational medicine, advises leaders to respect introverted team members’ need for a space and time to be alone.

She explains introverts are not fond of socializing as much, so one way to help them is to respect their need for alone time.

“Pressuring them to socialize will not help them grow,” she says.

To bring out the best in them, she says leaders should instead bank on introverts’ strengths like creativity and the ability to focus intensely on tasks.

 

2. Recognize their achievements

“What we usually do — if there are even small achievements, we affirm them for that,” says Sison.

Introverts shy away from the spotlight so they are not often recognized for their work. Part of a healthy work culture is giving credit where credit is due.

“It is important to maintain self-esteem, particularly if someone is uncomfortable speaking up,” writes Susan Steinbrecher in this Inc. article. She says that providing positive feedback will encourage them to contribute more.

 

3. Engage them

“It’s really just including them in your conversations,” says Sison. “If you have a meeting, getting their opinion will matter much to them.”

An introvert may find it hard to initiate interactions, but they are good observers and listeners. As a leader, it’s crucial include them in the conversation. In discussions where extroverts dominate, it will do your company well to let introverts have their moment to shine.