A young woman with long dark hair works at a computer in an office. She has a red wired earbud in one ear and is smiling slightly as she looks at the computer monitor. Behind her can be seen rows of desks with similar computer monitors.
Introverted employees may have preferences for quieter workspaces or opportunities for uninterrupted "deep work," and it's important to accommodate these preferences when possible. — Getty Images/Carlina Teteris

Self-described introverts often have a more reserved approach to work and life than their extroverted counterparts. These may be the quieter employees who might not naturally step into the spotlight in a team meeting or the ones who thrive doing solo work or having one-to-one interactions.

With the right management and encouragement, introverted employees can thrive in any workplace as a leader or as an individual contributor. Here are 10 ways to support introverted employees and help them succeed.

Ask for their input and preferences

Noisy open office spaces, mandatory sharing at group meetings, and large team outings may be fine for extroverted employees. However, these situations could have a negative impact on an introvert’s mood and productivity. By asking your introverted employees for their input and preferences, you’ll better understand their workplace needs, as well as know where to make accommodations when necessary and feasible.

Assign them a work buddy

Introverted employees may be more comfortable working one-on-one with someone than in a large group setting. One potential way to leverage this is to assign them a work buddy. Both employees can bounce ideas off each other and support each other, while also giving the introverted employee enough mental space and energy to recharge away from the whole group.

Don’t put them on the spot

Introverted employees may not always volunteer to speak up in a crowd if they prefer to keep to themselves or want time to think before talking. Find alternative ways to solicit feedback that don’t require on-the-spot responses, such as having employees write down their thoughts or scheduling time to meet with them privately.

[Read more: How to Build Connections With Customers, Even if You're an Introvert]

Create an inclusive environment

An introverted employee might benefit from designated time for “deep work mode,” where they can focus on their tasks without interruptions from others. Conversely, an extroverted employee may want built-in opportunities to brainstorm with peers before approaching a task. Building an inclusive environment that allows each employee to choose their own approach will help the entire team thrive.

Introverted employees don’t need to change who they are to succeed in the workplace.

Develop a rapport

Building a rapport with introverted employees often requires intentionality. They’re less likely to strike up random conversations with people they don’t know well or aren’t comfortable with, especially in a group setting. Having one-on-one meetings is a great place to start; in addition to talking “shop,” asking about their personal goals and future plans can show them you care and help them feel more personally connected.

Focus on their strengths

Introverted individuals have numerous strengths in the workplace. They are often good listeners and make keen observations that might otherwise go unnoticed. Additionally, since introverts tend to think before speaking or acting, their responses are well-measured and pertinent to the situation at hand.

Allow them downtime

The defining difference between introverts and extroverts is how they gain and lose energy. While extroverts gain energy from being around people, introverts gain energy by spending time alone or in smaller group settings. Building downtime into an introverted employee’s schedule will help them recharge after extended periods of social interaction, allowing them to perform at their highest level.

Practice patience

Connecting with introverts and making them feel like part of the team doesn’t happen overnight. Making the effort to understand your introverted employees, as well as demonstrating an ongoing commitment to building a workplace that supports them, will help build safety and trust over time. Be patient with them and the process.

Celebrate them in small, personalized ways

While most people want to be recognized for their achievements, an introvert might not want public accolades or grand gestures. Consider celebrating your introverted employees in smaller, but still meaningful, ways to make them feel appreciated without feeling overwhelmed. A thoughtful email or a gift card to their favorite restaurant can go a long way.

Don’t try to change them

Introverted employees don’t need to change who they are to succeed in the workplace. Leaning into an introverted employee’s strengths, while understanding and accommodating areas that are more challenging for them, will help them feel safe enough to show up to work as their whole (and best) selves.

[Read more: How To Be a Good Boss (Even if You’re an Introvert)]

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