Think about your employees. Odds are you could easily identify introverts and extroverts among the team. Who are the more social and action-oriented types? Who tends to be quieter and more contemplative? Both personality types have their distinct advantages and disadvantages in the workplace, and as their leader, an important part of your role is helping them all work together.
In this article, we’ll highlight some of the top strengths and weaknesses of introverted employees, beginning with a few major areas where they tend to struggle.
Indecisiveness on the spot
Introverts are thinkers by nature. When presented with a task, they’ll closely examine every angle and have a plan of attack for any obstacles that arise along the way. Unfortunately, this often means they will struggle when an unexpected, on the spot decision is needed because they haven’t had a chance to properly analyze the situation.
This is a challenge that only becomes more of an obstacle on the way up the corporate ladder if left unaddressed. Introverts shy away from being the center of attention, so the thought of having to give a presentation to a room full of executives or a prospective client can be paralyzing.
Building personal relationships
Because of their quiet, introspective nature, building interpersonal relationships with co-workers and colleagues can be difficult for introverts. Unlike their extrovert counterparts, introverts have a hard time making the first move to get to know someone, which can often be perceived as standoffish.
However, introverted employees also bring some important, positive characteristics to the table.
They’re great listeners
Introverts aren’t usually the first to speak up, but they are always dutifully taking mental notes and processing what everyone else is saying. And when it does come time for them to make their voice heard, you can be sure they’ve thoroughly thought through what they are going to say, and rehearsed it in their heads a few times, before they say it.
They manage their emotions well
Due in part to their aversion of having the spotlight shone upon them, introverts often have a much tighter grip on the outward expression of emotions than their extroverted counterparts. In tense situations where maintaining composure is essential, introverts can play a key role in keeping the peace and ensuring a level of decorum.
They’re creative thinkers
Introverts’ tendency to dedicate more of their mental energy to thinking about and analyzing every possible side of a situation often leads to creative solutions that are overlooked by take-action extroverts. Finding the sweet spot where these two personalities work in tandem is the key to executing on innovative initiatives.
The key to leading both introverts and extroverts is maximizing their strengths while also helping them address and develop their weaknesses. What are some strengths and weaknesses you’ve noticed in your introvert employees? How have you addressed their weaknesses? How have you capitalized on their strengths? Let us know in the comments section below.
Great post! I like that you recommended some strategies to help them out. Thank you for sharing.
Learned a little more about myself as an Introvert! Thanks.
Thanks for this article.
I know that I am an introvert and you hit the nail on the head! I definitely like to analyze and work the problem to find the solution. I want to know it is going to work instead of finding out it doesn’t.
Another struggle for introverts is sharing an office. We like it quiet, we think better and can concentrate. Noise is very distracting to us.
It is so true that we introverts need quiet. I was recently forced to give up my tiny but private office for large room full of people. It’s so distracting! If only my office mates wouldn’t talk so loud, maybe I could handle it.
This article made me think of Susan Cain’s best-selling book: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking. Recommended reading for people leading teams of accountants, engineers and other professionals that attract introverts.
thanks. I totally relate
I thought I was an introvert however I have more qualities of an extrovert than I realized. Great article here!
The article definitely struck a cord with me. There are 2 very distinct personalities in our office and this will help us with understanding each better.
I would be interested in seeing this spoken about the extroverts!
You’re in luck! We will be featuring extroverts and their strengths and weaknesses in an upcoming article later this month! Stay tuned!
Agree, the book by Susan Cain – Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking is a must read.
I have more qualities of an introvert than the qualities of an extrovert