Introverts: How To Lead Them

This is the last article from my series about introverts. This time I want to summarize the key lessons and a form of simple user manual that can be packaged with every new baby introvert that comes to this world. Keep in mind that I’m myself introverted person so I just guess how extroverts would see us and in case I’m off mark let me know.

How to task them

When giving a task to introvert you just need to remember that he or she may not be comfortable to immediately ask for clarifications (especially when in bigger group). When you combine this with the fact that introverted person will be easily discouraged from asking if you are not approachable you can get into trouble. The best thing for you to do is to follow up regularly to create opportunities for questions.

Saying something like “if you have problem, my doors are always open,” may work for extroverts who will happily pop in, but may not work for introverts. You need to be the one who is proactive and who reaches out to his team.

How to provide and get feedback

In private. In general, introverts are able of introspection and are open to feedback as long as it is respectful and meant to help. You don’t need to sugar coat it, but at the same time you need to be able to provide well balanced communication. If all you do is just complain and provide negative input then you may destroy their self-confidence and ability to provide their feedback back to you. Just treating others with respect like adults usually does the trick.

And if you want to get feedback on your own performance then it all depends on the relationship you built. If there is enough trust then asking for feedback face to face is certainly possible. Just don’t expect they will just bluntly tell you all the things you need to change. Most likely it will be more subtle and you need to read between the lines. As a general rule you should assume that when they decide to speak there is some message incorporated in their statements. They don’t make small-talk unless pressured. With this in mind you should take seriously even the smallest issue they mentioned as most likely they played it down and it is probably bigger issue than they let you believe. And of course well crafted “anonymous” survey can also give you some insights though usually much less actionable.

How to appreciate them

It might be just me, but based on my experience most of the introverted people are internally referenced and thus can find the internal motivators and don’t expect too much from others. It doesn’t mean that they are not happy if they get recognition, it is just that they don’t really expect it. Giving recognition to such an individual must be done in way that won’t be stressful for the person. Marching him in front of the whole company and asking him to say few words is definitely not the right thing to do. Sending out an email to everyone is a bit better. And a simple heartfelt thank you and pat on the back in a small circle of his team mates is probably the best. Just don’t make a big deal of it.

How to befriend them

Being open and honest, humble and non-judgmental, listening and showing empathy, taking interest in them and not talking about yourself all the time, meeting in places that are less public than a stadium of fifty thousand people but at the same time more public than your bed room should do the trick.

It doesn’t mean that introverts like to mingle just with other introverts. In fact, it might be the exact opposite. Being around more extroverted people brings a sense of inclusiveness and belonging that all of us need. It is at the point when being forced to actively participate in mingling and talking to people when the introvert won’t feel at home.

And please, don’t start your conversation about profoundly private topics until you know them really well and ideally let them first volunteer some intimate details by themselves first before you try to pry for more.

How to party with them

Don’t. As mentioned above introverts (there are always exceptions) actually like being around more extroverted people who keep the social engine humming if they are not forced to participate too much. I’m a great example. I love to sit down with my friends and just listen their talking and joking. I may try to say something from time to time but I have no need to lead the conversation and I get pushed out of my comfort zone when being asked to share stories. Usually I try to be as brief as possible just to satisfy their curiosity and then get back to more comfortable position of attentive listener.

How to make them angry

This has nothing to do whether you are an introvert or extrovert. There are other personality traits responsible for these. The only thing to keep in mind is that it is likely that introverted person won’t show it externally when he or she is angry. And even if yes, then chances are it will be just a short outburst and then try to control it again.

How to make them happy

Just leave them alone. No, seriously, again happiness is not something that depends on one being introverted or extroverted. Each of us is different and what to do to make us happy is strictly individual. Not to mention the fact that each of us is responsible for his or her own feelings and other people cannot “make” us feel something we are not willing to feel. I may write a post on this topic as part of a series about coaching and NLP. For the time being you may want to consult this post Positive Approach To Life.

Twitter type summary: “Leading introverts is easy. Just be respectful, ask, listen and use empathy to let them find a way how to follow you.”

Are you living with introverts? Why? What are your experiences? What is good and not so good on your relationship?

Photo: lichdinhtb /

Categories: Coaching, Introverts, Leadership

Tags: , ,

3 replies

  1. Wonderful blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers?

    I’m hoping to start my own blog soon but
    I’m a little lost on everything. Would you suggest starting with a free platform like
    Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally confused ..

    Any suggestions? Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: