Drawing Introverted Employees Out of Their Shells

Diversity is always valuable to have in workplace teams, but the strengths of each personality type need unique support to emerge. Employees who are introverts may especially prove to be challenging to work with for some extraverted managers or teammates, so it's crucial to take a few specific steps when working with them. Use these three tips to help you bring your introverted employees out of their shells so that they can make their best contribution to the organization.

Provide Moments of Solitude

As you develop plans for bringing out the best in your introverted employees, it's important to als0 think about the origins of their energy. Psychiatrist Carl Jung once pointed out that, while extraverts derive energy from interacting with others, introverts regenerate themselves through solitary reflection.

Depending on certain aspects of their personality type, introverts might be very skilled at making presentations to a group, but the experience can be a bit more difficult for them if they've been forced to interact with people during the hours preceding their contribution. Introverts will successfully pull off a speech or lead a group activity much more effectively if you provide them with an opportunity for some solo work and reflection beforehand.

Assign Solo or Paired Work

Though extraverts refine their ideas through active conversation, introverts are much more productive when they have the chance to sit down alone and work out the details of a plan or procedure ahead of time. Once an introvert works out a plan, he or she may welcome the opportunity to talk it over with a single colleague to take advantage of some outside feedback. Introverts perform better at following the thread of an idea when they aren't forced to undergo the added pressure of relating to a number of people all at once.

Spend Your Introvert's Social Energy Wisely

If your office needs someone to organize or manage an event, it's better not to press an introvert into service. While such a person may feel duty-bound to put their best foot forward in making all of the arrangements, they will be exhausted by the process and not as effective as they should be in the actual content of their work.

Instead, utilize the outgoing energy of an extravert to set up a venue and to talk with all the participants and vendors. Meanwhile, your introvert can use the preparation time to quietly develop flow-charts that will display complex ideas and solve procedural roadblocks.

Using personality type assessments can strengthen teams and improve communication as it allows each person to contribute in their most effective manner. When team members start to understand how personality type affects behavior, they can move past their frustrations with one another and nurture a sense of mutual cooperation and appreciation for diversity. 

Molly Owens

Molly Owens is the founder and CEO of Truity. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. She began working with personality assessments in 2006, and in 2012 founded Truity with the goal of making robust, scientifically validated assessments more accessible and user-friendly.

Molly is an ENTP and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she enjoys elaborate cooking projects, murder mysteries, and exploring with her husband and son.

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