By Jim Wong, CPA | February 15, 2017

“Quiet is might. Solitude is strength. Introversion is power.” – Laurie Helgoe

The corporate world of today is an interesting melting pot filled with working individuals of various backgrounds, generations, genders, religions, races and even personalities.

Whether you’re an outgoing person or more of an introvert, your personality tendency may impact a job interview, getting acclimated in a new work environment and or performance evaluation.

In fact, a business’ corporate culture by definition includes the behaviors team members exude. That’s why it’s important to have resources available for professionals to practice when communicating and interacting with fellow colleagues, management or leadership—especially with those who might not have similar personality traits.

Stereotypically, accounting, finance and information technology professionals are generalized as reserved, quiet and analytical people—or introverts—as opposed to, say, overtly social sales professionals—or extroverts.

While not every introvert is exclusively a shy person, introverts often do prefer a different work environment than their extroverted counterparts.

It’s important for hiring managers to understand these differences and nuances between their introverted employees and their extroverted team members. As the accounting, finance and information technology space continues to evolve, a strong leader should be aware of how to make their work environment a productive one for all employees, not just the extroverted team members. In today’s competitive war for talent, the best Leaders I have seen know how to foster a culture that recognizes and encourages diversity including personality types. These leaders are able to integrate extroverts and introverts in a way that enhances the culture and overall performance of their team.

I recently read an article on that covered this topic. So, I decided to share some of the suggestions as well as a few of my own.

Learn more in the 4 Ways To Create An Introvert-Friendly Workplace below.

1. Encourage multiple forms of communication. 
This is a relatively easy way to keep introverted employees engaged with teammates—consider opening up additional mediums and channels of communication rather than simply using the phone. Email, texting or even instant messaging (IM) are good options. In fact, many email providers have IM and texting capabilities, which an introvert might be more comfortable using.

2. Try taking a step outside of your comfort zone. 
It’s important for everyone on a team to try stepping outside of their comfort zones every now and then. The CIO article mentions an organization that participates in an informal weekly meeting where introverts are given the opportunity to share their ideas in a less structured, formal environment. While it might not be feasible to organize this type of venue every week, it can be helpful to have this open environment every now and then to encourage everyone on the team, introverts and extroverts, to share ideas freely.

3. Don’t make people feel guilty. 
For many organizations, especially startups, there is often a high-energy culture that while exciting and fun for many team members, might be slightly off-putting for those introverted team members. That’s not to say that managers should cancel their extracurricular events such as happy hours, however, it’s essential to ensure that people understand these events are voluntary and not required. Managers should be mindful that there is not an unwritten rule that attendance is required. For some introverts, happy hour is not necessarily the easiest place to relax. That said, no team members should feel guilty one way or the other for participating or not participating in after-hours work events.

4. Consider your office space. 
In order to create an inspiring and productive office space where everyone can work at their best, leadership might want to consider the layout of the office. Instead of only having open floor plans, it might be smart to consider adding private workspaces for team members who prefer working in a quieter atmosphere. If that’s not possible, work-from-home hours can help mitigate issues surrounding quiet versus energetic work spaces.

What are some other ways to make your workspace more comfortable for introverts? Comment below and let us know.

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