How to supervise an introverted employee

How to supervise an introverted employee

Question: 

Our company has reorganized and I now supervise the IT guy, along with the administrative staff. I don’t have a handle on what makes him tick. He sits in staff meetings and doesn’t say a word. When I talk with him, I have to pull information from him, and when I ask him questions he’s incredibly slow to respond. I went to Moose’s Tooth to buy the staff pizza last Friday and he came into the break room, got two slices and went back to his desk.

I don’t know how to supervise him; however, he does good work.

Answer:

He may be introverted. If so, he prefers handling projects individually or working one-on-one, rather than group interaction. He may also need time and space to process his thoughts, and the chance to carefully reflect on your questions before answering them.

If you’re more extroverted, you two dance to a different drumbeat. You can, however, learn how to supervise him by asking, “How can I best supervise you?” “What do you want from a supervisor?” And, “What performance can I expect from you and what standards should I measure your performance against?” While you likely won’t get immediate answers to these questions, the ones you get may tell you everything you need to know.

© Dr. Lynne Curry is author of ”Beating the Workplace Bully” and ”Solutions” as well as owner of the management/HR consulting/training firm The Growth Company Inc. Follow her on Twitter @lynnecury10 or at www.bullywhisperer.com

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