Personality tests such as the Myers Briggs personality test have always been an inevitable part of the recruiting process for many companies. Not just for labeling people with different personality types and opting them out, but for getting to know the people and providing a thriving work environment for them.
For introverts, who are often left out as not fit for socially exacting workplaces, this might be good news as companies are taking measures to provide a pleasant work experience for them. As for companies that care about their employees’ personalities, they are one step ahead of others in increasing employee productivity.
Introverts are typically naturally self-motivated, analytical and reasonable, good listeners and as a result, good learners, concentrated, and more dedicated — oh! Are these also what you’re looking for in an ideal employee?
But to tap into their potentials, you need to know how to treat them and how to provide a pleasant work experience for them.
What makes one an introvert?
Although it’s not a good idea to describe one as fully introverted or extroverted, research shows that there ARE some genetic and cognitive differences between extroverts and introverts. It seems that compared to extroverted people, introverts lack a gene that makes the brain immediately responsive to external rewards.
In other words, introverts are less immediately receptive to external events and are more responsive to inner projections. Whereas extroverts process external stimuli through a short pathway responsible for taste, touch, and visual and auditory senses in their brains, introverts sift the information through a longer pathway responsible for more complicated tasks such as remembering, planning, and problem-solving. This makes them need more time to process information, but it typically pays off: Introverts can be problem-solving machines.
The seeming reservedness of introverts might be caused by their cognitive tendency to deeply analyze what they perceive through their senses. They need some time alone to recharge their brain power and make sense of their whereabouts. Their inner tendencies make them carry some nifty personality traits such as being self-motivated, analytics-oriented, a good listener and as a result a good learner, more concentrated, and more dedicated to the tasks they care about.
So, isn’t introversion what we should look for in candidates? Not so fast. First of all, employee diversity is a strength at the workplace. Second, it’s not that easy to hack into the true abilities of an introverted employee. You will most probably see the guy strange and unpleasant.
How to treat introverts
Personality comes in a package. It is true that introverts have personality traits that make them great on analytical tasks, but they probably have problems with protracted team collaborations. Some introverted behavioral patterns might make people think that an introvert is rather strange, aloof, or self-centered.
If you want to make the best out of your introverted employees, remember the following tips.
- Be their best friend. Introverted people are typically not conversation starters, and they might easily lose track of their previous friendships. If an introvert does not check on you frequently or is reserved in group meetings, don’t think that they are selfish or totally closed. Try to make friends with them by gaining their trust and you’ll see that they’ll come to your help more than others.
- Let them shine. Introverts might think against the grain and this means that they can come up with unconventional ways to solve problems. When dealing with their new ideas, give your introverted employees time to prove themselves. Give them enough time to put their ideas into practice. This will give them more confidence. As Sam Ovens explains only practice gives you confidence.
- Pay attention to them. It is easy to neglect introverted people. After all, they tend to be wallflowers in parties or inarticulate when they don’t have something special to say. Remember to give everybody an equal chance to show themselves, irrespective of whether they are warm and chatty or seemingly cold and reticent.
- Don’t force them into group works. This seems a bit challenging. Your whole company might be set on group values and this might be the propaganda you keep drilling into your employees’ minds. But before judging introverts for not being as excited as others in group tasks, take time to think of a method to use their problem-solving abilities to your benefit while respecting their preferences. Remember that in a community every personality type should have enough room to prosper.
We normally have a dose of introversion and extroversion. Or as Carl Jung puts it, “there is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert. Such a person would be in the lunatic asylum.” Yet, introverted characteristics might be said to make one a thinker or problem solver who can increase the productivity of a company. Learn how to provide a pleasant work experience for introverts, and they’ll be who you just needed in your company.
Mostafa Dastras has written for some important companies such as HubSpot, WordStream, SmartInsights, and MarketingProfs. What keeps him up at nights is how he can help his clients increase sales with no BS content marketing (or how people can grow an email list). Visit his blog, LiveaBusinessLife, or connect with him on LinkedIn.
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