To go straight to a popular belief, no, introverts people are not necessarily shy and they don’t necessarily don’t like people!
I am an introverted person, but I don’t mess with talking to and be with people … but moderately!
Introverts need some time to be alone or quiet to recharge their batteries, to think and plan. Inversely, extroverts are energised by the “outer world” and tend to be outgoing, vocal and think-out-loud.
A total opposite personality but according to a study one-third to one-half of the population consider themselves as an introvert. Introverts are not as rare as we can think and there are some rules to respect for getting from them the most of their productivity!
- Time to think: introverts employees perform better if they have time to think about ideas or meeting topics in advance. Let them get prepared if you require a justification about a task they did.
- Quiet place: too much external stimuli can be draining for introverts. Understood they ask for a kind of a refuge against the noise coming from an open space to be more efficient.
- Listen: An introvert can be seen as « boring » because he doesn’t speak out loud or as much as an extrovert does. But when introverts speak it’s important to pay attention: these types are careful with what they say and tend to put in a great deal of thought before getting vocal.
- Accept silence: No introvert employees are not rude (or not more than the others), they just don’t have something to say about every project or topic!
- Don’t interrupt them abruptly: in general, they are good at focusing at work and as I said above, introverted employees need time to think before answering. So if you have a question or ask them for help you’d better send an email before.
- Use one to ones: introvert employees are more comfortable with a one-to-ones talk than speaking in a meeting with several co-workers. In this way, you will get a more accurate and relevant feedback.
- This point brings us to the last point, but not the least: don’t give them public attention. If an introverted HATE something it is having attention shifted in their direction without notice (during a starting pot or to introduce them to the staff, for instance)
If you want to know more about the introvert personality, check out Susan Cain’s TED Talk The power of introverts.
Please consider those points next time you deal with an introvert person 🙂