As people like Elon Musk and Warren Buffet show, introverts can be highly successful in business. If this describes your boss, a few communication strategies can strengthen your relationship and help you get ahead.
1. Ask for One-on-One Meetings in Advance
Crowds and a lot of interaction drains introverts. Subsequently, introverts want to decide where they direct the energy they have, and they want people to be respectful of their space. Requesting one-on-one meetings ensures that your boss won’t be over-stimulated and can give you their full attention. It also gives them the opportunity to prepare for the communications they know will take some of their internal fuel.
2. Use Email or Chat, Leaving Phone Calls for Last
Many introverts prefer written communications (e.g., email). They enjoy referring to the text for accuracy and pondering what you’re saying. By contrast, if you call your introverted boss, you stop their train of thought, demanding their attention and giving them no power over whether to allocate their precious energy reserves to you.
3. Think Ahead and Leave Yourself Plenty of Time for Responses
Introverts can work on the fly, but they value the opportunity to retreat with problems at hand. Thus, keep an eye on your project calendar, and get in touch with your boss right away if you perceive a current or potential issue. Far from ignoring your ideas or concerns, your introverted boss will spend time researching, inquiring, and considering different variables, coming back to you when they can answer confidently.
4. Clarify What Your Boss Wants Outright
Introverts aren’t necessarily shy, but they generally are not as quick as extroverts to express themselves, either. That hesitation can lead to unnecessary conflicts and reworks. If you’re not sure what your boss’ preferences are, ask. Alternately, use phrases such as “So what I’m hearing from you is...”
5. Give Details, But Stick to the Point
Most introverts are drawn to details that can aid them in decision making. Interaction can be exhausting for them, however, so stick to the topic and give only relevant information. If your boss pushes you to focus on a specific area or move forward, they’re not disinterested—they’re just preserving their energy!
As you try to communicate with your boss, remember: Introversion is neither “wrong” nor “right.” You’re an introvert or you’re not. As long as you’re respectful in what you write and say, your boss will notice.
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