Introverts are having a bit of a moment. Part of that is due to the consciousness-raising efforts of Susan Cain and her bestselling book Quiet. But as Gary Vaynerchuk has pointed out, all the attention introverts have been receiving isn't just about good PR. Technology has also made it possible for quieter types to reach more people with less draining in-person interactions.
In short, introverts are able to achieve more and more, and more and more people are realizing it.
What if you're one of them and, as a boss whose team includes quieter types, you'd like to ride this wave of awareness to greater productivity? What steps can you take to make sure your office is introvert friendly?
There are few better places to go for advice than the blog of Susan Cain herself. There recently Liz Fosslien and Mollie West provided a funny and succinct illustrated guide to making sure your work environment isn't sabotaging your introverted teammates. Check out the complete post for the witty pictures, but here in brief are the pair's recommendations:
1. Provide private spaces
"Open floor plans take years off our lives. If possible, give us our own space," request Fosslien and West. If you can swing providing private space, know you'll probably be pleasing your more outgoing employees too -- and also battling germs. Basically no one likes open plan offices but bean counters and bacteria.
2. Mix up office socializing
"In planning employee bonding activities, look beyond the noisy 'all-company mixers.' We can be intensely social, but prefer one-on-one or small group interactions," recommend Fosslien and West.
3. Provide plenty of prep time
Introverts like to think before they speak. Remember that when you're planning meetings. "If you want us to speak up at all-hands meetings, provide an agenda, and put us on it. We do best when we can think before we share our thoughts," say Fosslien and West.
4. Solitude is a perk too
The best kind, for introverts, in fact. "We don't rely on external stimulation via ping-pong tables, sound systems, and snack areas. We can give you our best work while sitting in a room by ourselves," Fosslien and West explain.
5. Autonomy equals productivity
This recommendation from Fosslien and West is also likely good advice for employees of all personality types: "Give us the freedom to structure our own days, and we'll get the work done."
6. No toasts, please
Not everyone will be thrilled when you call them out for their achievements in front of a crowd. Some, in fact, will be mortified. "Recognize our good work through thoughtful gifts or simple acknowledgements, not public toasts," advise Fosslien and West.
7. Packed schedules lower productivity
"Team travel takes energy. Socializing after all-day site visits or client engagements burns us out," Fosslien and West remind bosses, so "let us have down time we need."
Introverts, are there any others steps you'd recommend bosses take to make their workplaces more introvert friendly?