How to Help Introverts Become Successful Leaders?

September 6, 20162:03 pm1026 views

Extroverts seem to make an impression quickly in the minds of their senior managers and employers, they are mostly considered for leadership positions owing to their ability to express situations with clarity and proactiveness. Introverts on the other hand are least noticed by managers, when it comes to promotion and viewed in the light of skepticism if they can manage a team or handle leadership roles.

As introvert employees are timid and shy, they are more focused and inertly motivated to perform, physical surroundings around them do not impact or hinder their performance and progression goals.

It is important for employers and senior managers to understand how introvert employees process the information, and derive the energy to result in productive outcomes.

Extroverts are energised to perform and their energies are propelled by the “outer world” as they are outgoing, vocal and think-out-loud.

On the contrary, introverts gain energy from within, their inner world of thoughts, reflection, ideas and spirit of innovation. Extroverts approach and resolve the situation at hand through effective communication, whereas introverts prefer to think, reflect and act silently.

Do these specific traits hinder introverts to become successful leaders? Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking writes, “When it comes to leadership, introverts are routinely passed over for leadership positions, even though introverts tend to be very careful, much less likely to take outsized risks.”

An interesting research by Adam Grant at the Wharton School has found that, “Introverted leaders often deliver better outcomes than extroverts do, because when they are managing proactive employees, they’re much more likely to let those employees run with their ideas, whereas an extrovert can, quite unwittingly, get so excited about things that they’re putting their own stamp on things, and other people’s ideas might not as easily then bubble up to the surface.”

Leaders need to adapt their leadership styles to the type of people they are leading. Proactive employees and highly innovative workforces need a receptive leader who can listen, understand and act wisely to best-control and manage them.

See also: Dealing with Arrogant Employees: How to Manage Them

Conversely, a passive team with lack of innovation and efforts require  a demonstrative leader, who can actively set a clear direction.

According to Professor Francesca Gino from Harvard Business School, introverts can be better leaders than extroverts, especially when the employees are naturally proactive.

Employers, especially managers and HR professionals have to understand the different needs of introvert employees at the workplace. Once they figure out, the best strategies to manage introverts, they will reap many benefits in terms of increased productivity and creativity at work.

Respect their spaces. Today’s open workplace design allows noise and interference from other employees during work hours. This disrupts workings of an introvert employee to work as per their own working styles and approaches.

HR managers and employers should provide private working spaces such as cubicles for introvert employees to fuel the innate drive and passion for excellence. Once the introvert employees are provided with private working arrangements, they can work optimally right in their own ways and be able to excel at work, come up with innovative ideas, and can become top performers.

Employers should also encourage introvert employees to schedule alone time and use do not disturb signal when necessary. This support system will help introverts to thrive, and perhaps help them to become star employees, and potential leaders with their own unique approaches towards work.

Allow them to virtualize the communication. Introvert employees find it extremely difficult to converse directly, because they are timid and shy. However, they are able to express ideas and suggestions clearly on emails, chats, and other messenger softwares and applications.

Senior managers can help streamline communication channels for introverts to harness digital mediums and virtualisation platforms that facilitate clear communication using Smartphones and Notebooks.

Harnessing new technology-enabled mediums of communication for the introvert employees based on their specific needs will help them interact and coordinate with the team better, recognize each other’s skills and build a great teamwork system in place.

Furthermore, employers should assign really important projects to introvert employees to train and guide them on job using effective virtual communication mediums to converse, and collaborate with other peers.

Promote the Shining Introverts

While these silent workforces, outshine themselves by being doers rather than talkers, they always meet employer expectations on time. However, most often they miss out on promotions and employers fail to notice and recognise their contributions towards effective team workings.

This unfair treatment and discrimination at work towards the introvert employees can disrupt the solidness of teamwork and dampen professionalism inside a workplace.

Supporting them to be top performers at work is not enough. Instead, HR managers and employers should help introvert employees advocate their great contributions to gain more visibility, offer credits for their work and help them acquire leadership positions.

A great organization will accept individual differences, including introverts at the workplace. The silent employees are not less-valuable compared to the extroverts. Instead, they can be great assets and successful leaders in the future, if employers provide them adequate support, training and understanding to groom them for the challenges of business.

This dedicated workforce, nevertheless needs recognition, promotion and training like the extroverts do. It’s time for employers to look beyond perceptions.

Next read: Overworked Employees: How Can HR Manager Avoid Employee Burnout?

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