Extroversion versus introversion. Despite numerous studies and anecdotal situations that show otherwise, people still continue to assume that somehow extroverts are more successful in the workplace than introverts. As I have blogged about in the past, that is simply not true. Introvert power comes from tapping into what makes introverts different from extroverts, and not by taking on more extrovert traits. In fact, in the past I have blogged about how introverts lead, and how introverts network.
Which is why I was delighted when my professional colleague Dave Byrnes agreed to guest on the blog today. Dave is known as The Introverted Networker, and not surprisingly, he helps introverts use sales and networking to succeed in their business and careers. Today he writes about how leaders (extroverts or introverts) can help their introverted employees maximize their introvert power and productivity.
Convert Your Introverts for Greater Productivity
There has been a lot of press about the power of introverts and their differences from extroverts in recent times. While better understanding is great as a leader, you may be asking yourself how this affects the bottom line.
How can you turn these insights into increased productivity from your introverts and improve job satisfaction so they stick around longer?
A common stereotype around introverts and extroverts is that extroverts are naturally better salespeople. A collection of studies, however, has shown this isn’t the case and that introverts have equal potential to excel in sales.
Let’s look at productivity from the perspective of selling. As an employee, selling isn’t restricted to sales positions, everyday employees are called on to sell their ideas in the workplace and to sell themselves for their career progression.
Here are three ways to help your introverted employees to sell, and in turn increase productivity for you as a leader.
Selling Products or Services
Technology and the way people want to buy today means the cold-calling, door-knocking salesperson is no longer relevant. Introverts excel at building deep relationships and at listening. Forget about outdated quotas around activity, such as sales calls made per day. Allow your introverted salespeople use their strengths to build deeper, more profitable relationships and help your prospects feel they have been listened to, not sold to.
Selling Their Ideas
Introverts’ tendency towards listening and deep problem solving mean they can often miss the opportunity to jump in at meetings or other collaborative situations. Introverts take longer to process information, so giving them some advanced warning of topics for a meeting can allow them to contribute more strongly. You can also give them the space to contribute after a meeting – that additional time taken may mean they pick up on something that was missed.
Selling Their Career
An area introverts can struggle is putting forward their own case (self-promoting) in terms of career development. For job satisfaction and productivity, it is a win-win to make the extra effort with quiet employees to ensure they are in a position that suits their strengths and personality. Can you work with your introverts to not only find a career progression that suits them but help facilitate those conversations?
Selling happens every day in organizations. If you can empower your introverted employees to work to their strengths, they can excel in all three of these areas.
What are you doing?
So leaders, extroverts or introverts, tell me what you are doing to maximize your introvert power. Let’s share some ideas that you’ve used (or seen used) in the workplace. Please add your comments below.
As the Introverted Networker, Dave Byrnes helps introverts use sales and networking to succeed in their business and careers. Reach him at http://www.introvertednetworker.com.