The following are a handful of tips for tapping into your employees' outgoing personalities and encouraging them to have a voice.
Every organization's culture is different. How an employee melds his or her personality to that culture often correlates with his or her success. If the organization is serious and buttoned up, it would be professional suicide for someone to try and become the joker within the company. Conversely, if the organization is free-wheeling and extremely lax in their structure, a super aggressive personality might rub people the wrong way.
In most cases an outgoing personality will be embraced on both ends of the spectrum, because employers and colleagues alike enjoy working with individuals who are easy to be around, positive in nature, and always displaying a "can-do" attitude. The following are a handful of tips for tapping into your employees' outgoing personalities and encouraging them to have a voice.
1. Ask Questions
Human nature is such that people like talking about themselves. Thus, it's important to continually ask your employees about themselves, how they are doing, etc., and encourage them to ask questions back. Explain that showing interest in both a person and the job that they do will serve them well and likely lead to greater opportunities because supervisors will view them as attentive and ambitious.
2. Challenge Them to Be Bold
As a business owner, I appreciate when my employees are willing to offer their point-of-view on any subject. However, in order to do that, they must be willing to take chances and show confidence. While this may make them more vulnerable to potentially saying the wrong thing, I will always applaud someone who has confidence in their opinions, experience and skill set. This is something you must encourage by creating an environment that welcomes new thinking.
3. Give Opportunities
Any organization or manager loves when employees seek out opportunities to do something they have never done before or is a little beyond their reach. This will not only challenge them personally and professionally, but will benefit them in many ways: building self-confidence, raising their profile in the eyes of their manager, enhancing their skill set and, most importantly, communicating to everyone that they are a "company-first" employee. It's important to encourage them to ask for more and let them know its okay to step out of their comfort zone frequently--this is how they will grow.
4. Share Their Strengths
If your employees are strong in a particular area, you need to make it known! Perhaps they're a strong writer, strategist or creative--whatever it is, be sure to help them seize any opportunities to demonstrate their skills and communicate their abilities to their direct supervisor. Let them know that if they are not overtly communicative about the best ways for them to contribute to the greater good, these opportunities might be given to one of their colleagues and, even worse, their inherent skills won't be realized.
5. Encourage Them to Lead with Intelligence
Although it is important to have an outgoing personality and to be liked within an organization, employees can never rely solely on their personality to climb the corporate ladder--this is something every employee must learn as they grow. Their success will truly be realized if they lead with intelligence when they are communicating--it shows others that they're not only a great person to be around, but they're seen as smart as well--and that is an absolutely winning combination! Thus create a culture that embraces intelligent thinking.
For more than 20 years, my employees have heard me say that clients pay us for our point-of-view, so they must be willing to share their thinking when the client is looking for it. While this can be unsettling for some--particularly junior people--you will find that the more you encourage them to be outgoing, to share their voice, opinions and skills, the easier it will become for them and more likely it will lead to greater professional success.
MICHAEL A. OLGUIN is the president of Formula PR, a national public relations boutique with offices in New York, Los Angeles and San Diego. With over 25 years of experience, he has represented such high-profile brands as Newcastle, Kashi, and ESPN. @FormulaPR