Quiet employees are often the ones with the best ideas (which may be the case with introverts) or the strongest work ethic (often the case with those who are not inclined to socialize), or they’re the easiest employees to get along with (quiet people often don’t like drama and conflict). Regardless of the reason for their reserved ways, quiet employees can be worth their weight in gold — as employees, and also as co-workers, friends, and people.
It would be great to see more quiet people in positions of leadership. But by nature, quiet people don’t often seek leadership roles without targeted support and encouragement. Here are a few ways to help reticent workers to step out of their comfort zones and into the spotlight.
Are they interested?
First, ask yourself one question: Shy Steve doesn’t want attention … but does he want the opportunity that typically comes with it? If you know that Steve (or Sally or Sam) would really like to overcome this hurdle and climb the management ladder, your help is warranted. But if Steve would genuinely rather not be placed in a position of authority, you’ll need to find ways to leverage his ideas, skills, and gifts without formally changing his social role.
Make speaking opportunities easy.
Give your shy employee opportunities to speak up, take the floor, field questions and demonstrate their expertise. But pave the way and make the process as easy as possible. If they’re scheduled to speak during a meeting, bring them on stage early. Don’t let them stew in anxiety for 30 minutes first. When they step down, lead the applause. If they’re facing pushback during the Q-and-A and getting uncomfortable, step in and end the session. Allow them to find their feet gradually and on their own terms.
Encourage whatever builds confidence.
If your employee seems to glow under public praise and thanks, lay it on. But if their rosy blush is actually the sting of genuine and painful embarrassment, offer your praise in private. Use your social skills to discern the subtle difference. Meanwhile, if they need to overdose on coffee, splash water on their face, or spend some time chatting in your office for a minute before a speaking session or moment of leadership, indulge them.
Set them up for success.
Give your shy employees projects that highlight and make use of their strengths. Allow them to change gradually; don’t just fire off a few pointers and then expect a magical transformation. And above all, give them a net — a safe place to land — as they begin taking new risks and trying new things.
Work with a top staffing agency in Scottsdale
For more on how to manage each individual employee in ways that suit their strengths, weaknesses, and unique personality, contact the recruiters at the ACCENT Hiring Group.