For an introvert, the workplace is full of anxiety-inducing occasions such as presentations, meetings, lunches and events. With so much focus on collaboration, introverts are finding themselves more on edge than ever before. Highly valuable yet sometimes misunderstood, introverts are sometimes overlooked so it is important to ensure they have a workplace where they can flourish.
Provide advance notice about meeting agendas
One effective way to alleviate anxiety is to provide advance notice of your meeting agendas and, if you can share what you’d like them to contribute, this is even better. This gives people time and space to prepare. Give them the opportunity to have the floor without being steamrolled by more forceful voices. Be sure to recognize their contribution and complement their ideas sincerely yet privately.
Take baby steps
Change takes time so taking baby steps allows for introverts to adapt. If they don’t want to contribute to meetings, allow them to write a memo before or after the meeting outlining their thoughts. If they are new to a project or organization, be sure to introduce them.
Allow some opportunities for working independently.
Introverts often thrive when they are independent. Although team collaboration has its place, so does uninterrupted quiet time. It is important to offer space.
Offer support to help introverts overcome their anxiety
To empower introverts, offer support. Consider recommending introverts join a class on public speaking or sign up for a group such as Toastmasters on the company’s dime. These safe outlets can give introverts practical training and experience to help them be more comfortable speaking in front of others.
Introverts have definitive boundaries, and it’s important to respect those boundaries. Recognize that events that seem exciting and exhilarating to some may trigger panic in others. Be direct about the value of their insight. When you work with introverts, you’ll find the reward is often worth the effort.
Nadine Greiner, Ph.D. provides Executive Coaching and Human Resources solutions. Her mission is to make the executive experience exceptionally enjoyable and effective. She believes that the world needs great leaders and has dedicated her career to helping them.
As an organization psychologist and former corporate CEO, Dr. Nadine understands the pressures and demands executives face. She offers her clients the high expertise that only comes with three decades of consulting success, and a dual Ph.D. in Organization Development and Clinical Psychology. Dr. Nadine is an in-demand speaker, teaches in doctoral programs, and coaches other consultants. She is the author of two books: ‘The Art of Executive Coaching: Secrets to Unlock Leadership Performance’, and of ‘Stress-less Leadership: How to Lead in Business and in Life’. amazon.com/author/nadinegreiner