Leaders come in every personality type from Introvert to Extravert and all sorts of other flavors. One truth of effective leadership is that a good leader has to know is how to bring out the best in each person they are responsible for leading.
It’s not always easy to know how to interact with some people, especially when the behavior isn’t your type.
You might even find some behaviors annoying but despite that, your job is to get employees or reports to work as productively as possible.
Here are 7 tips for effective leadership of introverts and how to bring out the best in the introverts you work with:
- Ask them what they think. Just because the introvert isn’t as outwardly engaging in conversation, doesn’t mean they don’t have something to contribute. They may simply be hoping for a chance to join in but interrupting is not something they are prone to do.
- What you see is not all you get. Introverts have fantastic things to contribute but you may not know it at first glance or even second glance. You may not think you should have to dig their assets out of them, but if you do, you may be richly rewarded. You probably have a star and don’t even know it.
- They need process and think time. If you want the best that an introvert has to offer, don’t just spring things on them and demand an instant answer. Of course, you might get an answer but the best answer will be one where you have planted the seed and harvested a response later.
- They aren’t shy or anti-social. A myth about introverts is that they don’t like to be around people. Untrue. They are as social as the next person it’s just that they need to be alone to produce their best work and to think through things. They do get grumpy when that solitude is interrupted or when not given enough alone time.
- Email is your friend. Introverts do love to write. It allows them to collect their thoughts before communicating. Wanna know something? Email your introvert.
- Expect depth and expertise. Your introvert will go very deep in areas of interest to them. You can create a resident expert if you unleash all of that focus. This is tremendously powerful to have that kind of an asset.
- Too much talk may shut them down. An autopilot feature that the introvert has is to shut down talking and may go so far as to shut down the listening. This is especially true with too much talking and too much stimulation going on around them. If you notice it, don’t worry the brain is still engaged. You might want to suggest a break.
In the pursuit of effective leadership, you have to learn that not everyone functions the same. You have to be alert and know how to adjust so you can turn each person into the best version of who they are.
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