On Introverts


It’s quite likely that 40-50% of your employees are introverted.

Rather than trying to make them more like the extraverts on your teams, consider these…

I have learned that introverts, thanks to their tendency to speak quietly and reasonably, to ask questions, and to listen to the answers, can make unusually strong negotiators.”

“Many introverts seek out deep, serious conversation in which they can focus on a single topic of mutual interest. (A University of Arizona study found that)…the happiest people have twice as many substantive conversations as the unhappiest and participate in far less small talk.”

Both of those quotes are from Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts, about whom I have blogged previously.

Steve Wozniak, a now very famous introverted engineer: “I don’t believe anything really revolutionary has ever been invented by committee. Not on a committee. Not on a team.”

Psychologist Adrian Furnham, PhD, puts it even more bluntly: “The evidence from science suggests that business people must be insane to use brainstorming groups. If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficiency is the highest priority.” Taken from The Surprising Benefits of Solitude.

I know many groups now do personality testing to try to understand the best ways to coach, manage, and reward their employees. If yours is not one of them, at least read Susan Cain’s book and do your best to understand you may be wasting a very precious resource.

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