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7 Ways for Extroverts to Manage Their Teams of Introverts Well

7 Ways for Extroverts to Manage Their Teams of Introverts Well

If you have a team of introverts to manage, consider yourself lucky. Introverts have great insights and listen well. They are independent and observant. Having them on your team is valuable.

However, as an extrovert, you have a different communication and working style from them. You may find it difficult to connect or understand your introverted subordinates. Sometimes, they may even seem a little aloof and unapproachable to you. So how do you nurture their talent and get them to contribute more?

Here are 7 ways to help you manage your teams of introverts well.

1. Listen.

Never interrupt your introverted subordinates when they are talking. It takes time and effort for them to process and share their thoughts with you. Extroverts have the tendency to brainstorm out loud in groups. But refrain from adding your inputs before your introverted subordinates complete their speech.

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Brainstorming out loud is ineffective to introverts. Not only are your breaking their train of thoughts, but they may think you aren’t receptive to new ideas. So they may not share their ideas with you in the future.

2. Give them time to think.

Don’t get your introverted subordinates to share their opinions on the spot, especially in a meeting. You won’t get much out of them. Introverts need time away from people to reflect on their own. They need to formulate their ideas and thoughts before sharing with others.

Instead of asking them to contribute spontaneously at a meeting, give them the questions or detailed agendas a day before the meeting. This gives them ample time to prepare and think about the problems. You will be amazed by how many insights they contribute when you do that.

3. Divide them into smaller teams.

Introverts work better in one-in-one setting and smaller groups. If your team is too big, you may consider dividing your team into smaller sub-teams. These allow introverts to forge better relationships and communicate with one another better.

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This applies to team-building activities too. If you are organizing games for your team, divide them into smaller groups. The participatory level of introverts increases as the group gets smaller.

4. Use written communication.

Sometimes, the best way to communicate with introverts is to use written communication, such as emails. Group chat messenger is also useful to build the relationship of the team members.

Written communication is better for introverts because it’s less simulating. Introverts get overwhelmed quickly from face-to-face interactions. They pick up non-verbal body cues and energy from others during conversations too. Thus, they get tired easily from verbal communication.

5. Provide them a quiet work space.

Introverts need a private and quiet place to work. They find it hard to concentrate at work when their colleagues are constantly talking and interrupting them. Some of them may even get so frustrated and unhappy with their lack of productivity that they feel resentment towards their fellow co-workers.

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If possible, give introverts their own cubicles. Give them the peace and space to work independently. If this is not possible, at least separate them from your other extroverted subordinates. Allocate a room for people who want to work quietly so that they can work without interruptions.

6. Redesign your performance appraisal.

Never judge your introverted subordinates’ work capability by their ability to socialize and communicate with people. They will feel unappreciated and unfair because being quiet is their strength. It allows them to collect information and be analytical.

Furthermore, talking less doesn’t mean they are bad communicators. They connect with people well by listening to them intently. They can achieve the outcome you want but with a different method. So their performance should be appraised based on the work they have done and not how similar they are to you.

7. Allow them to be themselves.

As a manager or a boss, it’s your duty to bring out the best in your team. Motivating them to improve themselves is good, but don’t pressure your team members to be someone they aren’t.

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Don’t make social or networking events compulsory for them. Give them a choice. Introverts don’t get as much value from these events as extroverts do. Also, don’t force them to go for presentation workshops if they aren’t interested. You should tap on their strengths instead of focusing on their weaknesses.

Featured photo credit: Encuentro de Empresas del Sector Turístico / Franklin Tello via flickr.com

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Yong Kang Chan

Self-Help Author (Writes about Self-Compassion and Mindfulness)

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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