It is easy to follow the perception that to be a success in the workplace, you need to be the loudest and most confident person so that your ideas are heard and selected over anyone else. However, automatically positioning louder personalities ahead of those who are quieter and more naturally introvert could have a detrimental effect on your organisation.
Businesses often become focused on the dominant, extrovert employees as they are the first to put forward their opinions and ideas. It can become easy to ignore and neglect the talent of quieter employees and misjudge them as being ‘too shy’ or not having any valuable contributions to make. Making these assumptions could be where your organisation is missing out on top contributions and ideas, as cognitive and business psychologist Dr Lynda Shaw discusses in this recent article on HR Review. Consider that introverts may prefer to listen and assess the situation first before making a judgement or proposition. They may be brilliant listeners and be able to provide the balance of having taken time to process and analyse the information from a variety of angles and viewpoints, to provide a more structured response. Understanding this concept of how introverts prefer to work, supports why in brainstorming or open meetings where employees ‘battle’ to get their thoughts heard first, the same extroverted personalities tend to dominate and direct the meeting. If naturally introvert employees are always ignored, then any valuable input or ideas they may have is also ignored, which could be stunting your organisation’s growth. “Their thoughts are just as important as the extroverts and it is crucial that their opinions are considered too”, comments Dr Lynda Shaw.
It is all about achieving the right balance; a mixture of employees who are confident fast-thinkers as well as employees who process and analyse information first before concluding to a decision, is the recipe for the most effective team. Additionally the stereotype of whether a leader should be an extrovert personality or not needs to be reassessed. A confident, extrovert leader may work best in one organisation culture, but a more teamwork encouraging boss could work better in another business.
The key is to get to know employees on a deeper level; understanding the way they prefer to work, their personality and how they work best. This can then ensure the best approach to effective teamwork is taken and employees are treated as individual personalities. Additionally to ensure the best outcome of a meeting is reached, ensure that everyone is given an opportunity to voice their ideas or opinions, rather than making it centred around who is first and most frequent to speak up.