When it comes to career advice, one size definitely does not fit all. Which is why it’s a shame that so much of what we hear about maximizing our professional lives seems geared squarely toward folks who love networking and prefer the company of others — in short, extroverts.
Over at Career Rocketeer, Dorothy Tannahill-Moran offers a few pieces of advice leaders should never give their introverted workers.
Among her big no-nos:
1. Just do it.
“This advice might work for Nike to say to athletes but it is about as unhelpful and useless as it gets for introverts,” writes Tannahill-Moran. “Don’t you think it we could ‘just do it,’ we would?”
Introverts often feel more comfortable if they prepare ahead of time. Seemingly paradoxically, this can actually make them great public speakers and leaders, but it often makes them seem less spontaneous than their extroverted peers. The solution to this is not to push them off the dock, so to speak.
2. Don’t be so unfriendly.
Ask any introvert for his least favorite question. We bet it’s “what’s wrong?” Because introverts are internally focused, their faces might not radiate their inner thoughts as clearly as an extrovert’s would. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because someone doesn’t have an animated countenance, they’re not interested in participating or that they hate your idea.
As an aside, if you want to measure how confident other team members are, you could do worse than waiting to see how they respond to introverted colleagues. What does it say, if they feel that every non-enthusiastic facial expression is a condemnation of their ideas? At the very least, it says they don’t feel supported.
3. You need to collaborate.
Everything goes in cycles, including business best practices. Right now, the thinking is that the best ideas come out of collaboration. This is true some of the time, but anyone who’s ever tried to make a decision by committee will tell you that it’s occasionally a good way to make sure nothing gets done.
Tell Us What You Think
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