Extroverts often get a lot of attention at the office. They’re the first ones to share their opinions in meetings. They’re good at chatting with their bosses, “networking” with colleagues, meeting new people, and forming new connections. But just because extroverts are vocal and sociable, that doesn’t mean that they have better ideas than introverts. And it doesn’t mean that they’re more productive or effective.
Introverts may be quiet, but they’re extremely valuable employees. Their strengths shouldn’t be overlooked. They tend to be creative, observant, and good listeners. They’re often focused and diligent. They’re self-motivated and able to work independently. And they also tend to be good at delegating – a quality that’s important for those in leadership positions.
But the modern workplace can sometimes be challenging for introverts. A lot of the things we do at work seem to have been designed by and for extroverts. (For instance, the open floor plans that are currently popular in many offices can make an introvert’s life miserable.)
So what can be done to make introverts a little more comfortable and productive? The website Quiet Revolution offers a few suggestions:
- Even if the office has an open floor plan, try to give introverts their own, defined space. A bookshelf and potted plants can help to create a little bit of privacy.
- It’s great to have big office parties that include employees, clients, and guests. But try to hold smaller work-related social events as well.
- At meetings, if you want introverts to share their opinions, it’s a good idea to create an agenda and include those people on it. The agenda will give them time to prepare and think about what they want to say.
- Give introverts the opportunity to structure their own workday and decide how to best spend their time.
- Recognize an introvert’s good work with an email or brief acknowledgement. Avoid the long, public speeches. (A big speech would be more of a punishment than a reward!)
Are you an introvert? Do you have any other suggestions? If so, please feel free to share them in the Comments section below!
Fosslien, L., & West, M. (n.d.). An illustrated guide to introverts in a start-up. Quiet Revolution. Retrieved from: http://www.quietrev.com/an-illustrated-guide-to-introverts-in-a-start-up/