Give Your Shy, Reserved, Senior Leaders All The Support You Can Give

Did you know that over a third to a half of the general population are introverts? 

That means one or two out of every three people that you know are probably soft-spoken, reclusive, and shy individuals.

Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, says that shyness is about the fear of social judgment. She defines introversion as how you respond to stimulation. Introverts prefer quieter environments.

And now you report to an introverted senior leader. How can you support them with giving meaningful recognition to staff?

To understand the differences between introverted and extroverted leaders, remember the contrast that extroverts crave large amounts of stimulation in their environments. No matter your personality trait, the key is simply being in the zone of stimulation that is right for you.

Our society thinks outstanding leaders have to be gregarious, outgoing, extroverted people. But there are plenty of great introverted leaders. 

Interestingly, introverted leaders are much more careful and averse to taking risks. Adam Grant, Wharton School of Business author and professor, found in his research of introverted leaders that they often deliver better outcomes than their extroverted counterparts.  

Introverted leaders are more likely to let leaders run with their ideas. 

You’ll find that introverted leaders are where they are because there was no choice. There was a cause or something that drove them to lead out and do something right. They prefer a quiet environment of solitude. This is essential for them to stimulate creativity and be the best type of leader they can. You’ll also find them relying on other people and they often hire extroverts to fill roles they prefer not to do.

Here some tips to aid your introverted leader in becoming a great recognizer of staff.

  1. Don’t assume that your introverted leaders are not good at giving recognition. It simply is not true. Give them the supports they need. So, help them out and give them resources to learn how to recognize people better. Send them the links to your recognition program’s user tutorial videos and guides. Give them a signed personalized copy of a recognition related book to study and learn from.
  2. Send them latest books to read or learning courses to take. If you have a corporate library, have the librarian send out regular updates on books that will help leaders. Make sure you have books on motivation, feedback, recognition, and rewards in your library catalog. Also, ask your learning and development specialists to highlight the latest courses on the same topics on your LMS system. Send a bulletin with all the internal resources available out to all your leaders to benefit from.
  3. Provide them with a few excellent mentors they can draw upon. It can be hard for introverts to build new relationships with other people. Introduce them to internal subject matter experts or exemplary recognizers that can show them the ropes. Set up leadership forum sessions where leaders can learn from one another. You might invite a leader to share what went well and where they can improve with recognition giving.
  4. Give allowances to people’s preferred thinking style. Introverted people often require more time to ponder matters. You will find them taking everything in before they make a succinct and essential point of view on the subject. Introverted individuals need to show they are still team players by verbalizing their need to think things through to explain why they are deferring making a comment.
  5. Team them up with an extroverted leader. I know of one organization with a more introverted CEO who has a CHRO who is more extroverted. They have worked together in paired interview formatted videos that are broadcasted out to all employees. This gives the introverted leader the strength they need to be seen as a capable leader.
  6. Recommend your leader schedule in time for recognition. Have their executive assistant schedule in small blocks of time for recognition giving. Let the direct reports of your leaders share exceptional stories of outstanding employees. Your leader can now make the time to handwrite notes or go on the recognition platform to send special ecards out to employees.
  7. Suggest they take a public speaking course. You do not expect introverted leaders to be a professional speaker. Yet with coaching or instruction on public speaking it can definitely boost their confidence. It will help prepare them for participating in formal award events. And it will assist with making eye contact and expressing recognition to well-deserving employees.

You can play a pivotal role in supporting any of your leaders who are introverted by nature. Ensure they know where to go for help and make sure you have the recognition resources available for them.

Recognition Reflection: How do you currently help any of your introverted leaders become better recognition givers?

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