by David Lykken
In leadership, communication is key. If we as leaders can't properly connect with our people, then there's no way we can inspire them to do the work that brings the organization success. All the leaders I speak with know this to be true, but there is one mistake I see many leaders make: they assume that everyone on their team can be communicated with in the same way. This cannot be further from the truth.
Good communication requires an understanding of how each team member is “wired” and a willingness to adjust our communication style to meet their needs. And, if there is one group that leaders often have difficulty communicating with, it's the introverts. Introverts, or what I like to call the “melancholic” personality types, are often more quiet, serious, and contemplative than others on the team. Many leaders often mistake these qualities as being disinterested, negative, or anti-social. But, the truth is that introverts can be some of the most intelligent people on our team. We just need to know how to connect with them.
You might be surprised how talkative introverts become when you get them in a room for a quiet, one-on-one conversation. When they aren't surrounded by crowds of people, they open up and begin sharing their ideas. And, since they don't talk as much as extroverts, they spend a great deal of time thinking and developing ideas. So, you can be sure that when they do speak, it will be worth listening to. As leaders, we've just got to communicate on their terms.
Some on the team may thrive with group activities and social events, but introverts need to be communicated with in a different way. If we can adjust our communication style to the personality types of our teams, we've move a lot further a lot faster. Give it a try!