The Quiet Gems in our Workplace
Written by Deanna Hunter
How well do you know your employees? Knowing them – who they are, what makes them different, how they approach their life and their work – can be the key to their success and ultimately yours. Sometimes we focus on what appears to be the negative aspect of people, trying to ‘fix’ it. Maybe it’s the thing that is most different from you or the fact that differences make a person stand out in an awkward way. It seems to me if we hone in on what someone is naturally good at we allow them to shine and the awkward bits become less visible and maybe even less awkward.
Take, for instance, the introvert on your team. In a world that is designed for extroverts, we introverts tend to stick out as the awkward ones – the ones who don’t really fit in. By the way, the simplest way to understand the difference between an introvert and an extrovert is to understand where each gets their energy … how they recharge their batteries. Introverts get their energy from inside, they recharge by being alone. Extroverts get their energy externally, from other people. Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” has a ton to say about this topic. I highly recommend this book as it’s a great read and you’ll gain insight into yourself or the other important people in your life.
I can tell you from personal experience and from years of observation as an HR lady, that introverts are quiet gems on any team, if you can just find a way to tap into them. Chastising them for not speaking up enough, or not being a team player because they don’t join the others for drinks after work on Friday is not the way to do it. Instead, listen when they do speak up. Typically, when they do, they have something well thought out and important to add. Or, give them a venue to speak up that is outside of a team meeting. Give them a desk out of the way in a quiet spot, or better yet let them work from home. You’ll see their productivity and likely their engagement, skyrocket. Stop treating them like introversion is a fault or a disease. At least one third of the population have tendencies to introversion, enjoy the difference!
Check out this blog post by Christine Chartrand for some other things to think about www.atmanco.com/en/6-reasons-love-working-with-introverts