Most businesses will have a combination of two personality types in their employees: introverted and extroverted, freelance writer Gwen Moran writes in Entrepreneur magazine. While extroverts get their energy from external sources like meetings and interactions with others, introverts tend to recharge through time by themselves to think and plan.
Most dairy farm workers tend to be introverted — some are almost painfully so — while many dairy farm CEOs tend toward the extroverted side. This can lead to many basic misunderstandings and cross-communications. Use the following tips to help best manage your introverts:
- Give them time to think. Introverted employees typically perform better when they have a chance to think about ideas or meeting topics in advance, so creating an agenda and distributing it beforehand is a simple task that can help them to participate fully. If that's not possible, give your introverted employees some time after meetings to reflect and get back to you with additional thoughts. That's how you'll get the gems from them, Moran writes.
- Give them space. Too much external stimuli can be draining for introverts. If it’s not possible to let them work in a quieter office or cubicle, at least have a space where they can retreat, giving them refuge from the sensory onslaught of an open workspace. They may also do better with more independent work, she says.
- Plan early meetings. Since introverts tend to have more energy at the beginning of the day, try to time important meetings before lunch when their energy is highest. At this point, they haven’t been exhausted by dealing with other people and the hustle and bustle of the office all day. If that’s not possible, give them time to plan in advance and an opportunity to think through the meeting discussion and get back to you with more information or ideas later.
- Be comfortable with silence. When conversing with introverts, give them time to think and respond. If you’re managing an introverted team member, don’t let others interrupt or speak over him or her, she advises. Help your introverted employees speak their minds.
- Seek their feedback. Get answers and information from introverts in ways that make them more comfortable. Instead of expecting them to hold their own in meetings and spontaneous discussions about projects and issues, seek them out for one-on-one chats. When they've had a chance to prep for meetings, specifically ask their opinions to be sure they get a chance to contribute fully.