The good news is that some leaders recognise the need to manage different people in different ways. More specifically thinking about introverts having different needs to extroverts. But then came the interesting question, “does it take longer to manage an introvert?”
Should you manage introverts differently?
Well…you should, and you shouldn’t. You should manage your team to get the most from the whole team, not just part of them. Being adaptable and treating each person slightly differently, at different times, is going to get more from your team than treating them all the same. So it’s not manage introverts differently, it’s manage all staff appropriately.
It does not take longer to manage introverts
My simple answer is and you may be surprised, NO. Why do I say that?
- It’s about managing different people differently, not “just introverts”.
- Managing introverts more effectively could save you time: If you manage people more effectively, you’ll be saving time, by having less problems and downtime afterwards.
Tips for managing introverts and saving time.
- Zip it: You know that bit when you ask a question and then wait for the introvert to answer? It’s due to internal processing, is that few seconds wasting time? Not really, but if you are tempted to answer for them, stop. Wait a bit longer, you are more uncomfortable with silence than they are. Another few seconds won’t make a huge difference but does show you’re listening. If there’s still no answer, give a gentle but positive prod (“I know you’ve dealt with this before and would really appreciate your view.”). By the way, the more often you answer for them, the more you’ve trained them to never answer, so get out of the habit.
- Give the gift of time: – Plan your meetings earlier, don’t spend longer doing it. Send the notes out, make the meeting objectives clear with any data and pre-read. Now the introvert can process the information and you’ll have a far more informed discussion. That’s not taking longer, it’s what you do anyway, but a bit earlier.
- Talk one to one: Sometimes you’ll get better feedback one to one. Keep the session brief, but always give them notice “later on I’d love to hear what you think about x would you pop into my office?”. Now you’ll get quality feedback, without wasting time.
- Frank Sinatra: Allow introverts to do it their way (where possible). If they do more work and you do less, you’re saving time. Let them do what they do best. Allow introverts (and everybody else) to work how they feel comfortable.
Saving time through better team meetings
Meetings can be where introverts are less likely to perform well. They’re among other people (energy draining), put on the spot with little time to process information(internal processing). Here’s some ideas to save management time through better meetings.
- Earlier in the day: Introverts get more drained with social interaction, so meetings earlier in the day are likely to have more energy.
- Agenda and data earlier: Sending information a few days early, rather than in the meeting makes a big difference.
- It’s OK to think: Getting everybody to join in the discussions gives better results, which saves time. Build a culture where introverts know it’s OK to take time to think about an issue or a question.
- Direct questions: Ask introverts directly, if they’ve not already commented, what they think once others have shared their ideas.
- Negative culture: Discourage negative feedback in the team. An objective point explaining why something doesn’t work is OK but teasing, sarcasm or personal critiques won’t help. If the culture stops people wanting to say anything, it needs fixing.An objective point explaining why something doesn’t work is OK but teasing, sarcasm or personal critiques won’t help. If the culture stops people wanting to say anything, it needs fixing.
That’s 9 tips which will help managing you team, allowing you to manage the whole team more effectively. Overall time taken, no extra to big saving.