How to Better Support Your Introverted Employees

ACS Career Consultant Kristin Nuzzio shares ideas to make introverts more comfortable, and productive
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Kristin Nuzzio, Group Leader, Formulation Sciences, PPG
Kristin Nuzzio, Group Leader, Formulation Sciences, PPG

Support your more introverted employees by creating opportunities for them to contribute and share their ideas in a smaller team environment. As a manager, it is important to create a space where all associates feel that their ideas will be heard and respected. Try breaking into pairs for discussion or have team members write their thoughts on Post-it Notes before reviewing in a larger group. Encourage quiet employees to utilize virtual and asynchronous tools to engage with colleagues during meetings, for example through chat functionality, reactions, or file sharing, where they can participate without feeling put on the spot. 

If you are planning to ask a question and go around the room to receive responses, give team members the question or topic in advance so everyone has time to think about, and prepare, their answer. During 1:1 meetings, help associates identify their unique strengths and articulate the role they played on a successful project. Discuss strategies for how they can advocate for themselves and their accomplishments within your company. On your end, this could include highlighting one of their projects to other managers to help their work gain visibility, or connecting them with a mentor outside of the team to expand their network. Some people find public praise to be uncomfortable, so ask what they prefer in terms of recognition. Consider sending introverted employees an email acknowledging a job well done and copy senior management or leadership, asking for their opinion on other projects, or utilizing internal company rewards systems to further recognize their work.

This article has been edited for length and clarity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.

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