Author Profile Picture

Ryan Kh



Read more from Ryan Kh

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Train talented introverts to be stellar managers


Last week, Amy Crawford wrote a very insightful article about tailoring learning styles to individual employees. Crawford makes some excellent points, because every employee has their own perspectives and learning styles.

The individualized training approach is necessary when you are training introverted employees to become managers. Introverted employees are often overlooked for promotional opportunities, because their boss believes they won’t be able to lead effectively. Avoid making this assumption, because some of the best managers are introverts. You simply have to understand their perspectives and train them accordingly.

Here are some competencies and lessons that need to be emphasized more heavily while training introverted managers.

Focus on Confrontational Skills

Confrontation is one of the most difficult challenges an introverted manager will face. It will never come easy to them, but there are ways they can work around it. Here are some tips to work into your training:

  • Emphasize the need to think the problem through and know the best course of action before engaging in conflict resolution. It’s harder for introverts to be assertive and follow-through on disciplinary action or resolutions if they have doubts about the solution.
  • Help them find a way of wording their concerns in a non-threatening way. Leading passive, first-person phrases are ideal.
  • Don’t undermine the importance of direct, face-to-face communication. Passive aggressive managerial styles can create a lot of workplace tension. Introverted managers need to learn to balance tactfulness with assertiveness.
  • Discourage them from diluting negative messages with unnecessary compliments. Introverted managers often take this approach to minimize the discomfort of being confrontational, but it weakens their message.

Training should include some real-world scenarios where the manager will face confrontation.

Get Employees Engaged Through Challenging Activities

Introverts can be highly productive employees. As managers, they can also inspire managers to be more productive. Why is this? Because they thrive on the tasks at hand, rather than socializing.

Keeping employees challenged is the best way to foster engagement. According to the 2017 State of Company Culture Report, 61% of employees that feel engaged at work feel challenged or very challenged. Only 12% of employees that were not engaged in their work felt challenged.

What does this mean for introverted managers? Instead of teaching them to be more outgoing and spend more time chit-chatting with their employees, you want to show them how to get their employees engaged in tasks that they find meaningful. Make sure they can match the right employees to the right tasks and inspire them to find excitement in their work.

Discuss the Benefits of One-on-One Communication Styles

Most workplaces are open settings that encourage communication with many employees. This style is ideal for extroverts, but introverts may feel overwhelmed by it. John Brandon states that introverted managers such as himself may prefer dealing with employees in one-on-one settings as much as possible.

“The classic difference between an introvert like me and an extrovert is when we walk into a crowded room. I usually try and meet one or two people and engage in a deep conversation. An extrovert wants to meet everyone. That's an important lesson when it comes to crowed dynamics and understanding group trends. Even though there is wisdom in the crowd, that doesn't mean I'm the best point person to do the research. However, I may be the best person to analyze what all of the extroverts have found out about the crowd. At least they know their names.”

Introverted Managers Can Thrive with the Right Direction

Introverted managers are as likely to excel as their more outgoing colleagues, but they need to be given the right direction. While training them to lead, it’s important to be aware of the traits that make them unique. Don’t try to turn them into extroverts. You can’t fight their natural personality style. Instead, you want to focus on teaching them to leverage their own gifts and find ways to cope with difficulties with confrontation.

ShutterStock - Stock photo ID: 300388079

Author Profile Picture

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!