They always say that still waters run deep, and that’s precisely why employers would do well to listen to the introverts in their team. While the more extroverted individuals may take centre stage when it comes to meetings and team discussions, the more reserved people shouldn’t be overlooked.
All too often in business it’s a case of who can shout the loudest and most wants to get their voice heard, and introverts can often be drowned out by more vocal members of the team. If you’re an employer and want to get the most from your employees, here are just a few reasons why it pays to listen to the quiet ones.
They Need Less Input
Don’t mistake introversion for shyness. Introversion is not about a fear of social interaction or judgment, it’s more about a reduced need for external stimulation. Extroverts require a lot of social interaction and stimulation to stop them from getting bored and to keep them productive, while introverts are perfectly happy in quiet environments and find mental stimulation in their own company and their own thoughts. That means they require less time and energy from you, and you won’t need to keep finding them new projects or entertaining them.
They’re Often More Creative
Creativity and introversion often go hand in hand. Introverts enjoy solitude and are more self-reliant, both traits which mean they spend more time thinking and coming up with creative solutions. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not ‘team players’, rather that they prefer to mull things over in their own way and often reach much more insightful and unusual conclusions. Introverts are thinkers rather than talkers, so give them the space to be creative and you’ll almost always find they have the best ideas.
They’re More Prepared
Extroverts can sometimes open their mouths without having engaged their brains first. In their rush to make sure their voices are heard, extroverted members of the team will often spend less time thinking things through and won’t come up with the most well-crafted opinions and ideas. While introverts aren’t speaking, they’re working things through in their own time and will make sure they’re better prepared when it does come to voicing their thoughts. More preparation time means more carefully chosen words, so give them the time they need and you’ll reap the rewards.
They’re More Focused
There’s a place for extroversion, but the more outgoing members of the team are easily distracted. Because they need more external stimulation to stay engaged, extroverts are always looking for their next ‘fix’ to keep their minds occupied – that means they’ll quickly tire of one project and want to move on to something new. By contrast, introverts like to get really stuck into a task and can stay focused for longer, delving deeper into a subject and exploring it from all angles. They’re better able to concentrate without the need to flit around for stimulation.
They Make Good Leaders
It’s always worth cultivating the introverts in your team, because they could well be the leaders of tomorrow. Those who are all ‘me, me, me’ rarely make good leaders because they enjoy the limelight too much, put their own ideas first and seldom take the rest of their team into account. Good leadership is all about listening to others, taking other people’s ideas into consideration and reaching sensible and balanced conclusions – all traits introverts have in abundance and extroverts frequently lack.
They Stay Calm
Another great leadership quality is the ability to remain calm in a crisis, and that’s something introverts excel at. Extroverts are less likely to take a step back when they’re under pressure and work out the best course of action, instead becoming flustered and turning the situation into more of a drama. Introverts stay level-headed when a crisis occurs, and that’s just what you need when others are in panic mode.
Those who shout the loudest often have the least to say, which is why every employer should pay attention to the introverts on their team. Introverts weigh things up more carefully, are self-reliant and more thoughtful, so when they do decide to speak their contributions are often the most valuable. Give them the time and space to do things in their own way, and you’ll often find introverts make the best employees.
By: Lizzie Exton