Everybody’s different. Despite all the unity workplaces like to be perceived to have, individuals make up a business, and they all have unique quirks.
Quieter colleagues are a good example of this. They don’t participate in office politics and perhaps lean into introverted qualities more. That’s okay for the most part, but there are times when their engagement does matter; meetings, staff social events, and team brainstorming sessions.
Consequently, you may look for ways to naturally bring them out of their shells. Every worker should feel confident in their position, well-liked, and made to feel valued.
So, how can you succeed in these aims? Read on for some musings about bringing quieter colleagues out of their shells.
Everybody is prone to human error. There will often be a time when employees need to receive feedback.
That said, the delivery of these critiques is vital. It’s not uncommon for some workers to feel humiliated and bullied. If you give negative feedback publicly, the quieter colleagues may feel similarly, which can greatly harm the trust they feel in you, as well as their level of self-confidence. Public praise may also be embarrassing, so positive feedback should be given privately as well.
Feedback should be given to your employees privately. Performance reviews can be conducted in your office, and any other comments you might have can be put in an email or message via a workplace chat system. In the latter scenarios, they’ll then have a written record of your comments, which means they won’t feel anxious about repeating mistakes or approaching you again for reminders.
Invite Their Critiques
Of course, feedback shouldn’t be one-way in a business environment. All employees have their own ideas about how things should be done, but quieter colleagues may be less willing to express their opinion due to shyness or anxiety.
Polling and Q&A platforms like Vevox can help here. You can engage and interact with your in-office and remote workers all in one platform. The polling and Q&A features can have live results, and users can participate anonymously too, which means quieter colleagues will be more likely to provide detailed and honest answers to any questions you pose.
These types of tools enable you to get to the heart of any concerns your quieter colleagues may have. It also assures them that these communications will be absent of any office politics and that their comments won’t negatively affect them. No concerns or difficult emotions will be bottled up and cause further stress. The anonymous nature of Vevox also creates trust; everybody has an equal voice and should interact responsibly.
These processes should be recurring, too. The more regular these occurrences, the more accustomed quieter colleagues will be to contributing their ideas respectfully. Though the polling and Q&A platforms may always have their uses, it might be that introverted workers will eventually feel more comfortable speaking up in person, too.
Many business bosses like to establish a workplace culture. However, this doesn’t mean that every employee must behave the same way in all situations. The individuality of the worker shouldn’t be lost.
After all, introverts excelled at working from home, the quiet deliverers able to stand out with their efforts. Perhaps a hybrid work scheme will enable these types of employees to appreciate the best of both worlds. Demonstrating that you’re willing to bring out the best in them, and work partially on their terms, is a great step forward.
Business relationships should always be about give and take. If you can show that you’re willing to get on the introvert’s level, they may be more inclined to return the favour. It gives them a level of control and agency over their career that others may not have been so willing to offer. You’d also build their confidence, which can develop other facets of their workplace demeanour later down the line.
Note Who They Like
Quieter colleagues are often keen thinkers. Though they may not always express it openly, they will have opinions about their colleagues and warm to some more than others.
Try to note who these individuals might be. Does the quiet colleague laugh at a particular colleague’s jokes? Do they have a smaller circle of friends in the business that they prefer to interact with? Once you note these positive patterns, you could try to double down on them for the introverted worker’s benefit.
For example, you could group them together with ‘their people’ for teambuilding exercises or mentoring schemes. You could also run staff social events where their team gets together rather than the entire business. That way, things can be less overwhelming for them. They may also expand their circle of friends if their group introduces them to others in the company.
Of course, it’s important that all employees get on and interact, so things shouldn’t become too insular. That said, quiet people tend to come out of their shells the more they’re surrounded by people they’re comfortable with, so occasionally leaning into that is a good idea.
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