Diverse teams have been proven to improve company products and performance again and again. But workplace diversity isn’t just about culture and gender; workplace diversity can also mean understanding different personality types and leveraging their unique skills. How can companies unlock the power of introverts?

The Overlooked Introvert

It often happens that certain aspects of the recruiting and hiring process (meeting new people, making a strong first impression, and confidently showcasing your skills and accomplishments) tend to favor extroverted personality types. In fact, highly extroverted people are 25% more likely to get hired, and 65% of senior executives feel that an introverted personality is a barrier to leadership. Regardless of skills and experience, introverts are less likely to get hired, and more likely to be overlooked for advancement and leadership roles. 

In many cases, the modern workplace is also designed to foster the strengths of extroverts. Open-plan workspaces, highly interactive teams, and meeting-intensive workplace cultures all tend to favor extroverted personality types. However, nearly half of adults are introverts, and many companies are missing out on everything they can contribute to the workforce. 

What are the Strengths of Introverts in the Workplace?

Introverts usually prefer to take in a lot of information and think things over in detail before they take action. Extroverts often follow a similar process, but they do it out loud, voicing ideas, asking questions, explaining the reasoning, amending suggestions, and making decisions in a rapid, verbal, collaborative manner. Both personality types can arrive at the right decision in the same amount of time, but the process is very different.

The quietness of an introvert often creates the misconception that they are shy or that they are arrogant. While introverts may be either shy or arrogant, those aren’t inherent attributes of the personality type; they are often simply taking in information and processing it. This methodical approach to decision making can make them a great asset in the workplace. An introverted personality:

  • Is more likely to be motivated by thoughts and reasoning rather than emotion. An extrovert is highly responsive to the emotional feedback they get through interacting with others, which plays a large role in their decision making. Introverts are less influenced by these factors. 
  • Is more independent. Introverts rely less on social feedback and external encouragement. This makes them more able to work independently and require less feedback. It also makes them more likely to voice an unpopular opinion or disagree with team members, which can sometimes add a much-needed outsider perspective on team decisions. 
  • Is more likely to be a good listener. Extroverts tend to command attention and dominate conversations. Many people prefer working for introverted leaders, because they are more likely to listen and withhold judgement. This gives junior employees more time to learn, develop their own skills, and solve their own problems. Introverted leaders are more receptive to suggestions and bottom-up decision making, improving the strength and independence of their subordinates and the whole team. 
  • Is less reactive. Introverts are more likely to not jump on an enthusiastic bandwagon, and are also more likely to remain calm in a crisis. 

In other words, while extroverts have highly social personalities that showcase their strengths in job interviews, networking events, and public forums, introverts have many qualities that make them excellent leaders and great teammates, and they can act as a calming or critical voice when needed. 

What do Introverts Need to Succeed?

Many workplaces value their introverts as low-maintenance, reliable, methodical employees. But appreciating introverts as simply a functional cog in the wheel does not allow companies to truly leverage the abilities of this personality type and get the most value from their insights and perspectives. To foster your introverts, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Allow time for preparation. Because introverts like to think before they speak, they may not accurately share their true capabilities without preparation time. Providing interview questions, meeting agendas, or topics of discussion ahead of time gives introverts time to organize their thoughts and share them when they are needed. 
  • Recognize their contributions. Many introverts do great work without calling attention to themselves, and extroverts that insist on more recognition tend to receive it. Make an effort to recognize and appreciate the efforts and accomplishments of quieter team members who may not demand it. 
  • Provide quiet work space. Of course, not every introvert needs a private office, but highly active open-plan offices are often a source of distraction and frustration for introverts. Give them quiet, focused work time by allowing flexible working hours or work-from-home time, or set aside a quiet office or conference room as a talk-free work zone.

Introverts improve the strength of working teams with their consistency and resiliency, their willingness to offer needed criticism or unpopular opinions, and their ability to nurture the talents of other team members. If your job interview format or company culture are designed to showcase and favor extroverts, it’s worth considering whether your processes have an unconscious bias toward certain personality types, and how you might modify your expectations. Balancing a workforce with different abilities, strengths, and perspectives helps improve the internal processes of a company, as well as improve their final product for the consumer. If you want more information about how to create a thriving company culture, contact grapefrute today. 

Would you like a cohesive team with a blend of personalities able to get the job done, contact grapefrute today.