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How to Manage Your Introverted Employees

by American Management Association 24. June 2011 09:29


As a manager, you are more than likely to be managing at least a few introverts on your team. Introversion is more than just one specific behavior—it is the defining aspect of one’s personality. Therefore you must adapt your management style. 

The first step is to identify your introverted employees. There are many defining behaviors associated with introversion.  Introverts are strong and confident but keep their emotions, thought processes, and personal matters internalized. Here are some steps you can take that will help you build a positive relationship with your introverted employees. 

Introverts think before they speak—in conversation, casual chats, and meetings. As a manager, slow down and give your introverts time to respond. Obviously, it’s important to address a number of different angles in any well thought out plan. Introverts tend to focus deeply on certain issues, exposing problems revealing ideas you may have not yet considered. During meetings, promote balanced contribution, by asking for opinions. If they can’t immediately respond ask them to think about it and come back to you later, either during or after the meeting. 

Do not mistake introversion as shyness or social anxiety. Remember, introversion is a hardwired, defining aspect of one’s personality—not a behavioral “weakness” that can be overcome, such as shyness or social anxiety. Assuming that something is “wrong” and working to correct it with your introverted employee will breed contempt and negatively impact the relationship.


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Thinking Management


6/27/2011 9:48:23 AM #

If you'd like to know more about how introverts work, please check out this blog post on my Psychology Today blog, The Introvert's Corner, and especially the comments, where introverts expand on the subject.

Sophia Dembling United States | Reply

6/27/2011 2:38:20 PM #

Someone just shared this NY Times article “Shyness:  Evolutionary Tactic?”  with me today.  Then I received the e-mail from AMA on managing introverted employees.  I thought others might find the NY Times article interesting.  Hopefully the link will work.

Nancy Schwartz United States | Reply

5/29/2012 11:53:32 AM #

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leading introverts « tyanaowings | Reply

2/9/2013 11:03:38 AM #

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