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As a society, we tend to listen to the loudest voice in the room. This is where extroverts may have more advantages in the workplace than introverts. However, the loudest person doesn’t necessarily always have the best ideas.   

That means it is up to leaders to make space for introverts to feel and be heard. For example, introverts may have anxiety about speaking up in meetings.

This isn’t to say that introverts have less to contribute; quite the opposite. Introverts tend to be thoughtful and reflective people who prefer to let their work speak for itself.   

Throughout her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain encourages us to change how we see introverts and, equally importantly, how they see themselves.

So how do you support introverted employees in reaching their full potential? The answer is simple: by using emotional intelligence. As a leader, you want to explore the following approaches to your management style to best engage your introverted employees.

So, how do you support introverts in the workplace?

1. Give introverts a space to share their ideas.

Team meetings make it easy to identify introverts from extroverts. Leaders need to accommodate their meetings to benefit both types of team members, allowing introverts to speak and extroverts to listen.

Utilizing technology like private group chats and direct messages in a remote or hybrid setting may help introverts feel comfortable sharing their ideas.

Leaders may also consider having one-on-one meetings with all their employees. This creates an environment for introverts to share their ideas and leads to productive feedback sessions that benefit both the employee and the employer.

2. Recognize their unique value.

Recognizing someone’s value is essential for any employee, regardless of whether they are introverted or not. But when it comes to leadership, introverts may be routinely overlooked for leadership positions.

This is despite the fact that introverts possess emotional intelligence competencies that contribute to great leadership abilities. Introverts tend to practice impulse control and look at all possible outcomes before acting a business practice that offers reliable results. This practice also contributes to their problem-solving abilities. Introverts think before they act. In fact, a study by Adam Grant at the Wharton School found that introverted leaders often deliver better outcomes.

The point is, if you are an extrovert, take the time to look beyond what you think an ideal leader/employee should look like. Just because a leader/employee does not act like you does not mean they don’t bring value to the table. In fact, because they behave and think differently than you, that could bring great opportunities, innovation, learning and growth.

3. Know that one way of being isn’t better than the other.

​​Introverts and extroverts recharge their energy differently. Introverts need time to recharge alone after being social. Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy by being around other people. Identifying these characteristics will allow employees to learn to recognize their feelings and pay attention to body sensations, increasing their emotional self-awareness. 

It is important to understand that extroverted nature is not better than introverted, and vice versa. Introverts and extroverts bring different sets of skills to a team. Skills that a company (and the world) need to function.  

No one is 100% introverted or 100% extroverted. As humans, we are complex and have characteristics from both.

The EI Experience training workshops and online programs can help you become a leader for all people introverts and extroverts. Helping your team meet their full potential.  

For every introvert who excels with independent work, there is an extrovert ready to collaborate. Together, they make the perfect team!

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