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Leverage Your Introverted Employee Strengths (And Their Extroverted Coworkers)

Posted by Paul O'Keefe on Jun 14, 2016 11:00:00 AM

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The prevailing wisdom is that most work environments are made for extroverts. And, on the surface it would appear that the world of business is best suited for the extrovert, with its meetings, networking and high levels of social interaction; however, that's not the case. Some of the most successful business people are introverts, such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Steve Wozniak. In fact, an estimated 40% of CEOs are introverts. The truth is that such people have learned how to recognize and develop their introverted tendencies, harness them for power and use them for the greatest benefit. So, you may ask, “What are these strengths of introverts and how may I leverage them for the well-being of my organization?

Introverted Employee Strengths Include: Calm, Focus, More

Still waters run deep, particularly in introverts. One of the introverted employee strengths is being thoughtful, calm and focused. Introverts are best at intense, focused work that demands great concentration. This is a decided plus because their deep thinking leads to innovative ideas and ingenious strategies. They also tend to examine all the cons of a situation before they ever introduce it to another person. By the time you hear about their novel concept, most of the kinks will have been worked out by your introverted employee.

The Introvert Thinks before Leaping

One of the introverted employee strengths is to think, analyze and examine before ever speaking. If they’re in a staff meeting or workshop, they’re not going to fire off the first thing that pops into their head, unlike their extroverted counterparts. No, they will think on the idea from every avenue and figure out every loophole and weak point before they ever speak up. When and if the introvert speaks up, it would be well worth your time to listen because more than likely it will be of value. You never have to worry about redundancy, irrelevancy or babbling with your introverted employees. They would just as soon not speak. Tied to this introverted strength is the ability to listen and listen well.

Listening is One of the Introverted Employee Strengths

In the workplace, the introvert listens to everyone, all the while evaluating every bit of information in order to arrive at the best possible conclusion. When comparing introverts vs extroverts at work: The extrovert speaks, often rashly, without much consideration of all the options and the pros and cons; whereas, the introvert is inclined to listen and not give an opinion. It would be a wise idea, if the introvert doesn’t give an opinion in the meeting, to find them later and ask for their thoughts. They'll supply genuine insight into what was said. 

Another of the Introverted Employee Strengths is Preparation

One of the greatest strengths of the introverted employee is being prepared, whether for a meeting, presentation or in observing a project deadline. This is because the introvert has given whatever it is they're working on plenty of deliberation. They're more than prepared to answer the questions that may come or silence the objections that may arise because they've already thought about them. This is a strength of introverts vs extroverts at work and can be used to your employees’ benefit. Most extroverts are quick to answer and feel comfortable shooting-off-the-cuff; whereas, the methodical preparation of the introverted coworker serves to balance the extroverts on the team.

Depth is One of the Introverted Employee Strengths

Tied into the introvert's propensity to amply prepare is the tendency to move beyond proficiency to in-depth expertise. Because introverts tend to work on skills in solitude for extended periods of time, they become masters of their desired skill more readily than extroverts as well as more quickly. True expertise can only serve as a benefit to your organization.

Creativity is One of the Introverted Employee Strengths

No doubt about it, the ability to think outside the box is necessary in any industry. In order to stay on the cutting edge, a company must constantly develop new products and novel ways of providing its services. This ingenuity must come from somewhere. One of the major strengths of introverted employees is their creativity and ability to innovate. Research shows that the most creative people in a variety of fields have some level of introversion. This makes sense because creativity often flows from solitude, deep reflection and focus.

Introverted Employees Tend to be Natural-Born Writers

Given their internal dialogue, their uncanny observational skills and tendency to be quiet and listen, introverted workers often develop into exceptional writers. Applying their focus and attention to developing their writing skills, introverts learn to communicate most concisely and effectively in their writing. Every company needs excellent writers, whether for daily communication, blogs, speeches or otherwise. Nothing can tank the public image of a company like material that is poorly written and incoherent. Given the tendency of extroverts to talk before thoroughly considering, it is often a good idea to have a brilliant, well-written speech on hand that was prepared in advance by an introvert.

Introverts Often Make Exceptional Public Speakers

Surprisingly, introverts tend to be excellent public speakers. This is because their skills in observation and understanding people help them to present in an engrossing way. They’ve watched people long enough to know what people like and they understand how to present in an engaging manner because of their own internal awareness. On the flip side, once the presentation is over, introverts may not like going into the audience and meeting people one-on-one. Small talk bores them, and face-to-face interactions can be overwhelming. For this reason, they’re generally not very good at networking. They’re also not very good at being part of the audience in an audience participation segment. However, keep them as the speaker and you should be fine. Unlike extroverts, their non-verbal awareness let's them know when to stop speaking, change the subject or lighten up the presentation before the audience grows bored.

Introverts Often Make Strong Leaders

In terms of leadership, research favors introverts vs extroverts at work. Leaning heavily on their ability to be attentive and truly listen, introverts tend to make better leaders than extroverts. They are also more likely to implement the ideas of their staff, giving their employees more power in creating and developing their own ideas. They tend not to have a vested interest in touting their own brand, so this allows employees to shine for their own work, which is also a great motivator.

Start Leveraging Your Introverted Employee Strengths Today

The best advice? Stop trying to fit square pegs into round holes. Allow your employees to be who they are while maximizing their strengths. Have an introvert? Not a problem. When you understand their innate character and grow their strengths, you can enlist their expertise in ways that are sure to help your company succeed. In fact, you might consider putting an introvert at the helm of your organization (if you aren’t one yourself) and watch it flourish.

You may also be interested in these employee development posts:

To learn more about the benefits of employee development, contact Edge Training at 800-305-2025.

Topics: Employee Development, leadership development, Employee management, Millennial Development

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