7 Tips for Motivating (and Keeping) Introverts at Work

November 18, 2021
7 Tips for Motivating (and Keeping) Introverts at Work
Creating a cohesive workplace is always a challenge. But perhaps one of the most confusing aspects of creating a unified office is balancing extrovert and introvert personality types. These 2 personality types can feel so different. Extroverts love the limelight, sharing their perspectives, and answering questions rapidly. Introverts tend to contemplate solutions over a longer period and shy away from calling attention to themselves.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t similarities. Both introverts and extroverts ultimately want the same thing: To feel valued in the workplace. The problem is, when it comes to creating a workplace for introverts, managers are often stumped.

How to identify an introvert

First things first, what is an introvert, really, and how can you identify introverted employees? An introvert is an individual who is typically quiet, reserved, and independent. They may need more time than others to recharge after social interactions and are less likely to feel content after social activities. Some traits that usually point to a more introverted personality are:
  • A reserved or quiet manner
  • Preference to work alone or 1-on-1
  • Creative and excited about ideas
  • Prefers time away from people to work
  • Contemplative, slow to share
  • Analytical and methodical
  • Plans ahead

The benefits of hiring introverts

Before we get into how you can draw introverts out of their shell and give them a chance to shine in the workplace, it’s important to note their strengths or benefits. Understanding the benefits of an introverted employee will help you better assign tasks with their personality type. Some benefits are:
  • Listening to others
  • Organizing and planning
  • Developing ideas
  • Observing and analyzing data
  • Maintaining a self-motivated mindset
  • Completing tasks in a goal-oriented, systematic way
  • Communicating in concrete terms, not abstract thoughts

Introverts usually don’t require as much supervision as their extroverted colleagues, and they tend to plan more thoroughly.

In other words, introverts usually don’t require as much supervision as their extroverted colleagues, and they tend to plan more thoroughly. They also excel at developing ideas and incorporating everything they learn from even the most minor observation. However, there are certain activities or mindsets that introverts may struggle with, including:
  • On-the-spot questions and prompts
  • Social burnout
  • Easily interrupted
  • Anxiety about team building activities and group functions
It’s essential to keep in mind that few people are “pure” introverts or extroverts. Most lie somewhere between the two. However, knowing these strengths and weaknesses can help you make more strategic decisions regarding employee management.

7 ways to manage introverts in the workplace

There are many ways you can successfully manage and support your introverted employees without demotivating your extroverted ones. Many of the ideas on this list center around providing flexibility. Our top 7 things you can do to better manage introverts at work are:
  1. Provide closed spaces. First, you’ll want to have some workspaces where people can work in solitude. This doesn’t mean you need to give everyone their own office. Even a “quiet” workspace can do the trick.
  2. Respect boundaries. Don’t pressure your employees to participate. Introverts require time to recharge and may not be up for every team building activity. And that’s okay.
  3. Create introvert-friendly team activities. Speaking of team building activities, it can help to have some introvert-friendly options. This can include having weekly questions in you Slack channel or an online game to bond over. Introverts may be more interested in online or text team building activities than those that will put them on the spot.
  4. Give them time. Once you’ve given our introverted employees an assignment, give them some time to get back to you for questions.
  5. Be thoughtful on how you ask for answers. If you’re doing a general meeting, try prompting questions or answers at the end of the session, or let your team know they can always speak with you later. Some introverted team members may prefer to talk 1-on-1 rather than in big groups or may take time to formulate questions.
  6. Provide opportunities. When assigning tasks and career development, think about what activities mesh well with your employees’ personality types. Matching job tasks off someone’s strengths will not only provide you with better results, but your employees will appreciate the chance to shine.
  7. Manage discussion. Consider moderating group discussion to ensure that introverted employees have a chance to speak.

Managing both introverts and extroverts in the office

It’s important to remember that most people aren’t entirely extroverts or introverts, and many management styles may still overlap.

When we separate your employees into 2 extreme personality groups, it can quickly become overwhelming. But it’s important to remember that most people aren’t entirely extroverts or introverts, and many management styles may still overlap. Furthermore, there have been studies on what both personality types tend to prefer in the workplace. For example:
  • Extroverts prefer idea generation training, while introverts like workplace training that focus on removing mental barriers.
  • Extroverts prefer immediate rewards. While introverts don’t necessarily improve with rewards, they may react more negatively to punishment.
  • Extroverts excel with interpersonal communication-based work, while introverts may require more goal-orientated tasks.
Keeping these three main differences in mind can help you better assess which strategies to use on which employee.

Learn more about your employees

Before you can do anything, you need to learn who your employees are. And surveying your employees and receiving feedback on what kind of a workplace they like is one easy way to figure out who might be an introvert or extrovert. Then, you can put your management skills to work.

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