You have (of course) introverts in your team and you may have realised that there are some areas where managing different people in your team is good for team performance. But have you ever thought about introverts at Christmas? Parties, social gathering, more noise, more disruptions and displays of emotions? Even in a remote working, zoom meeting Christmas many of these issues are (or should) be happening.
Introverts are not quiet timid and shy
Two of the big myths are that introverts are timid and shy. In many cases it might be true that your introverts are quieter than other members of your team.
Introverts and social engagement
The reality is that introverts tend to find engaging in social situations draining, rather than energising (to be more precise an increased sensitivity to dopamine means over stimulation happens more quickly).
Introverts at Christmas
As we approach what could be described as the peak people season (real or via zoom) here’s some things to consider giving the quieter members of your team. Your introverts may enjoy the fun but also want more recovery time
- Recognition. Some of your team may be introverts that hide in plain sight. They may adopt more outgoing behaviours as they know many people expect it. Recogising this may allow you to manage the introverts in your team differently. You might start with letting them know you appreciate their introversion, or just allowing them to realise you understand.
- Understanding: We all like to feel appreciated. The 7 most most annoying questions introverts get asked noted how many introverts don’t like being criticised or judged for not always wanting to socialise. Give the gift of understanding, by considering their social energy, rather than comment on them not wanting to always socialise.
- Space: Giving the gift of space so your introverted team members can work on their own few hours can allow them to be at their most productive and creative, it’s extroverts who find space more intimidating. Arrange time when you’ll catch up or check in, rather than always trying to get answers. One important rule in delegation is to arrange how you’ll follow up, rather than keep chasing up.
- Leaving early: Introverts like to party and socialise. However they have limits. Self aware introverts may want to leave the (virtual) party earlier than others. Not because they’re anti social, not because they’re disinterested in the business, but because their “people energy” is depleted. Don’t make it a big thing
- The gift of time. Normally when speaking to leaders about the gift of time I refer to the importance of getting agendas and data out in time to allow people to reflect on it. One of the biggest things your introverts may need at this time of the year is the gift of time, so they can recover from socialising. Introverts recharge spending some time alone. 2020 has been odd and meant people working from home alone time. Back-to-back (zoom) celebrations can quickly drain that energy, just like “real” celebrations.
- Back off the annoying questions. If you haven’t already read The 7 most most annoying questions introverts get asked you may find them interesting. Changing the way you chat to your introverts may be one of the greatest gifts you can give them – and you as your team’s performance will improve.
And the new year?
If you’re also looking towards the new year and all those pesky new year resolutions (no, don’t get me started), maybe think about how you can help develop the individuals in your team in ways that suit them.