Introverts are usually brighter than extroverted people. They typically have a lot to contribute to the discussion, but they aren't heard because of their nature.
In this article, we'll look at the 10 best strategies to engage and help introverts in remote teams. It will help you increase their job satisfaction, come up with better decisions, and get ahead faster.
How to Engage and Help Introverts in Remote Teams?
Understand Their Nature
A balanced workplace is critical to make all types of personalities thrive. If you're a team leader, your number one priority should be to set the right atmosphere. You must make sure that everyone feels good and has ideal conditions.
One way to do that is to understand the nature of introverted people. You should look at their strengths, limitations, and understand the way they think.
Common Traits of Introverts are:
- Quiet and Reserved
- Become energetic when dealing with ideas
- Do activities on their own
- prefer to get to know a few people
- Can understand situations clearly & Objectively
The easiest way to find out is to ask directly - privately, of course. Also, a common misconception is that engaged people talk all the time in the discussion. That's rare, even with engaged introverts. In fact, they usually take their time, think about all the logical arguments, and only then present you with their opinions.
Be sure to talk to them privately, understand the way they think, and get them on board.
Leverage the Power of Anonymity
A remote environment is very comfortable for introverts because it's less personal, and you're doing everything online. Yet, it still isn't perfect, and they can encounter a few issues along the way.
Sometimes discussions can heat up. People start taking sides, talking aloud, or even shouting at each other. That's a nightmare for introverted people, and they will most likely feel powerless and cared.
An easy way to prevent that is to create a box of ideas where everyone can contribute their opinion anonymously. Then, as a team leader, you can read it out loud, pick the best strategy, and make everyone happy.
It's a simple trick that will engage introverts and make them feel more comfortable. Of course, if you are in a remote work environment, you don't have a physical box and will need to use online alternatives such as diBoks. Anonymity is one of the best ways to engage introverts and help them make their ideas heard.
Let Them Prepare in Advance
Introverted people are deep thinkers. They need time to process all the information you've provided them to come up with a smart solution. As a result, they rarely rush decisions or think on their feet.
That's why you must let them prepare for the meeting in advance. You can create hand-outs or briefs where your team members can see exactly what you will discuss in your meeting. This shouldn't be limited to introverts only, though. Instead, it would help if you allowed everyone in your team to prepare for it in advance. It will lead to much more opinions, smarter solutions, and better results. No wonder the most successful companies like Amazon use this to their advantage. Do the same for your business too. Let your team prepare in advance and come up with more impactful ideas.
Create Smaller Groups
The more extroverts in the group, the lower the chances of introverts engaging. Extroverts will most likely take the lead, and your introverted teammates will not feel comfortable sharing their opinions with the rest of the team. That's why it's best to split large teams into smaller groups where everyone can thrive.
If you're working remotely, you can easily accomplish that with remote work software. For instance, let's consider you're using Slack. You can easily create multiple channels where smaller groups can talk. Then, after a few minutes, you can all return to the main channel, where you all can share what you've come up with.
Not a fan of Slack? No worries, there are many other solutions you can try. (here is a list of a few of them.) Splitting your team into smaller groups will allow your introverts to share their ideas and lead to more significant results in the long run.
Writing over Talking
When you have a discussion, you need to think and respond quickly. There is no time to look at things from a different perspective or form a complex decision.
You just go with a flow and say the first thing that comes into your mind. Unfortunately, that is getting introverts into a very uncomfortable position. They are not used to it and would prefer to take their time and give each thing they say a little bit more thought. That's exactly where the writing over talking strategy comes in handy.
If you have a lot of introverted teammates, be sure to apply this strategy. It's a simple trick that can make their lives a lot easier. It can also save you a lot of time and resources and lead to better decisions.
Everyone likes to get public recognition and a pat on the back, right? Well, not really…
While extroverted people may fancy it, introverts don't, and they would much rather avoid it in the first place. But even though it may not seem like it, introverted people do need recognition too. But how do you give them credit for their genius strategy while keeping them happy?
It's easy. You do the same as with extroverted people, but keep it private. So, for example, if you're in a workplace, you can invite them to your office and give them a pat on their back privately or send them a private email when working remotely. Do whatever suits you the most. Just make sure to keep it private.
Be There for Them
Successful leaders constantly strive to bring the best out of employees. You must understand that with introverts, you must be a bit more proactive and ask about their needs and desires yourself.
Team building may seem intimidating for them, so you must reach out to them, get to know them, and learn about their motivators. You can then readjust your strategy and goals to match their style and create a more complete strategy. Always ask your teammates what they need and what is already working for them. Create a friendly atmosphere and let them know that you are here for them. It's the only way to drive the best results and have an entire team of engaged employees.
Read our blog on "How to Keep Remote Employees Engaged and Happy?"
Introverts usually prefer loneliness rather than a crowded and noisy area with hundreds of people working. You should leverage that and offer flexible work hours to your team members and employees. Doing so allows your introverted teammates to come into work early and leave late, working mainly alone or with only a few people.
You can also divide your team into smaller groups and create a flexible work schedule. Each group will work at different times, which will make it easier for introverts to get the job done. It will also increase privacy in the workplace. But again, it depends on the type of work you do and your organization. While this tip may not lead to better engagement of introverted people that much, it can make their life a lot easier and increase job satisfaction.
Offer Help With Courses
While being an introvert is fine, it may be very limiting. But, that doesn't mean that your introverted teammates should accept their limitations and do nothing about them. In fact, they should do the exact opposite...
It would help if you encourage your teammates to reflect on their weaknesses and problem areas. After that, you should figure out a way to help them. There are many ways to do so, but the easiest one is by using online courses. It's especially convenient nowadays, where we can't attend in-person conferences due to the coronavirus. We are forced to stay home where we work and learn remotely.
Be sure to provide your introverted teammates with access to online courses. Encourage them to improve and help them work on their weaknesses. (here are a few online course platforms you can provide them with)
Realize Not All Are the Same
While introverted people have a lot in common, there are still a few crucial differences between individuals. In fact, there is even such a thing as a hybrid person - possessing characteristics of both introverted and extroverted people. That's why it's essential to understand the nature of your teammates and talk to them directly.
You must provide them with an open environment where they can talk freely. Don't assume that quiet people have nothing to say, or that extroverted individuals can't work alone. Everyone prefers different things, and it's your job as a team leader to find out what fits your team the most. Don't make assumptions. Instead, prioritize regular 1:1 meetings and find out what works.
Introverted people make up over half of the population. If you're not making them feel welcomed or engaged, you might be losing on big opportunities. In this article, we've talked about 10 ways to engage introverts in remote teams. Follow the advice above, get your whole team on board and drive better results. It's the only way to grow your business and achieve long-term success.