Communication is critically important in business. It fosters productivity, team building, and better customer service. Good leaders work hard on making themselves better communicators. Yet, a focus on good communication may make you undervalue certain employees or dismiss certain candidates: introverts. Overall, introverts may not excel at communication. That can make them look timid or less competent than similarly positioned extroverts. Yet, introverts often make for outstanding employees, and here are five reasons why.
While your average introvert will work on a team and do their fair share, it’s not their preferred mode of operation. Introverts typically value working independently because it helps them avoid social overload. That means they typically develop excellent intrinsic motivation to get things done, if for no other reason than to avoid having a manager looking over their shoulder all the time.
That makes them great candidates for small, longer-term projects that you need finished but lack the bandwidth to personally oversee every single day. You can check in with them once a week or a couple of times a month to provide necessary course corrections and offer insights. Otherwise, you can let them run with it without worrying all the time.
They Bring Different Strengths
Extroverts bring a lot to the table. They’re good with clients and often excel in team leadership and sales positions. Yet, they are also prone to think about things at a shallower level. Introverts are more reflective by nature and will routinely think more deeply about problems than their extroverted coworkers. This can give them a better grasp of a problem.
It also typically means that introverts are more creative. They see more, so they imagine more. It lets them develop out-of-box ideas and solutions that might otherwise go overlooked. The good news is that you can test some of these traits with assessments, such as those from DISC Plus, prior to hiring someone.
They Dislike Office Politics
Office politics are hard to avoid. People gossip. Management plays favorites. In fact, office politics are generally the domain of the office extroverts who are vying for positions or promotions. Playing office politics requires that you spend a good portion of your day interacting with other people about things that aren’t all that directly related to work.
The very nature of office politics with all of its interpersonal interactions is something most introverts would find shudder-worthy. They’d much rather spend their time doing their jobs well and banking on that work ethic to help get them promoted. Chiseling out hours of every day to try and one-up a coworker just isn’t part of the game plan.
On the whole, introverts are more thoughtful about the things they say and do, which makes them invaluable in meetings. While extroverts might spend twenty minutes bouncing ideas of limited value around, the introverts in the room are looking for a good idea. That means, when they do decide to speak up, you’re getting a thoughtful, typically well-reasoned response to a question. Those responses may not provide an immediate solution to a problem, but they can take conversations in entirely new and more productive directions.
Introverts typically prove very dependable as employees. While an introvert might like a glass of wine or a beer, they’re less likely to get talked into going out for a few and calling in sick when they’re hungover on a Wednesday. In business parlance, they show up. That lets managers use them as the anchor for teams and, despite what many think, they can often perform admirably as team leads. They may not get people fired up in the same ways, but they can often encourage creative thinking and prompt more initiative from team members.
Introverts on Your Team
Introverts often get overlooked as employees and candidates because they don’t bring the same kind of social skills to the table that extroverts offer. Yet, these candidates and employees can prove themselves highly creative, independent, thoughtful, and dependable. On top of that, they usually have little to no interest in office politics, which means less drama around the water cooler. They can even do a good, if differently oriented, job as team leaders.