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How to let introverted employees bloom

Did you know that roughly one third of the world’s population are classed as introverts? That’s a huge number! Quite simply, this means that a third of people tend to exhibit similar characteristics when it comes to social interaction. Introverts often think carefully before talking, prefer their own company to being in a large group, and tend not to speak up in meetings.

They will also avoid confrontation at all costs, and can have difficulty saying ‘no’ – particularly at work! However, when it comes to business, introverts have a unique range of strengths which are all too easy to overlook.

Letting introverts shine

Introverts are hugely powerful in the workplace, if they are given the tools to allow them to shine. And it’s really worth taking the time to invest in your business’s introverts, because you just might find that your team includes a few introverted hidden gems, who might never have gotten the recognition they deserve, or the responsibility they need to really excel.

If you’re interested in helping the introverts in your workplace to make the most of their potential, and push your profits through the roof as they do so, just take a look at some of our top training tips for introverts.

Give introverts a platform

Whilst it’s commonly assumed that introverts are anxious about the idea of public speaking, this isn’t always the case. In fact, some introverts thrive on being given the platform to communicate their ideas and thoughts, as long as they are given plenty of time to prepare to do so.

Learning and development teams should encourage introverts to work on their public speaking skills via public speaking training which is tailored to them. Public speaking is one of those soft skills which should never be underestimated, so it’s well worth investing in introverts within the team who just might grow into brilliant speakers.

Introverts tend to make excellent speakers as they naturally prefer to go into great detail about their ideas and plans before sharing them with others. This can enable them to speak very well on topics they are passionate about. Many of the world’s top public speakers class themselves as introverts – just look at Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates.

 

Think differently about communication

All too often, communication in workplaces is dominated by extroverts. It’s easy to see why this happens, and to some extent it’s unavoidable. However, there are ways in which introverts can be encouraged to share their ideas.

Learning and development teams would do well to encourage all members of the workforce to think a little differently about how they communicate. It’s crucial that staff understand that there’s more to business than networking and conferences, and training sessions can be a great way of getting this message across.

Whilst training staff in new ways to communicate, learning and development professionals might want to suggest new forms of sharing ideas which play to introverts’ strengths. Tech is a great tool to utilise here, and introverts will often be able to express their ideas far better via channels such as social media than they will when put on the spot.

During this training, focus on soft skills such as teamwork and adaptability, and discuss how both introverts and extroverts might benefit from different ways of communicating.

Whilst employers may feel that team members shouldn’t need be coaxed into speaking up, the fact remains that often they do. It doesn’t take much to allow the whole team to hear what an introvert has to say, and businesses may well find that the points they make are far more useful than those of their extrovert colleagues.

Nicola McHale, leadership development coach and trainer at the Institute of Recruiters said “Introverts don’t say anything unless it is worth saying. So the quality of their input is usually spot on. They think first before speaking and they ask great questions because they think fast.” (1)  

Motivate and inspire introverts to put themselves forward for leadership roles

In business, the people who tend to win promotions and ultimately end up in leadership roles are the extroverts. They’re the bigger personalities in the office, the ones who stick in people’s minds and the ones who really push for promotions. However, they’re not necessarily the best people for the job.

To build the most successful business possible, you want to make sure you’ve got the top people in the roles which suit them down to the ground. So, businesses ought to take a closer look at some of the more introverted members of their teams, and make it known that they are doing so.

Learning and development professionals can help in this process by running motivational workshops which give introverts the confidence to go for the roles which they really want.

Sometimes, it’s just a case of giving someone the self belief they need to enable them to grab an opportunity when it arises.

Introverts need to know that they do stand a chance of promotion and they can make it to those all-important leadership roles. Muse writer Hope Bordeaux explains, “like extroversion, introversion is not only a natural leadership trait – it’s an immensely valuable one.” (2)

Let introverts speak, and listen to what they have to say

In business, and in life in general, we tend to give greater emphasis to the importance of extroverts’ ideas, simply because they find it easier to articulate them.

Susan Cain, American author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts In a World That Can’t Stop Talking, sums it up, saying “Whether it is job adverts using words such as ‘upbeat, people person and team players’, practices like open-plan offices or brainstorming, the overall ability to put yourself out there is the great value of the age. But research shows there is no correlation between the most talkative person in the room and the best ideas.” (3)

Training introverts according to their known strengths and weaknesses is the best way to get the maximum potential from these hugely valuable members of your workforce.

Encouraging new ways of thinking and new tools to share ideas at work will prove profitable for your business, and it’ll also be motivating for all involved too.

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(1) https://www.ft.com/content/34d170a2-4c56-11e3-923d-00144feabdc0

(2) https://www.inc.com/the-muse/3-strategies-introverts-succeed-extroverted-workplace.html

(3) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17510163