How To Manage Employees Who Are Shy?

by Srikant Chellappa Jun 14,2022

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

A team comprises of different types of people. And it is their cumulative effort that drives high performance. Some employees are more shy than others, and it makes them uncomfortable sharing their views openly. Even then, their contributions are equally important and they must be taken into consideration while making decisions. Shy employees have their own set of talents and skills, and it depends largely upon the efforts of a manager to help them grow.

When a person is shy, they are not comfortable with speaking up for a variety of reasons that can range from not being comfortable around people, feeling awkward and anxious, etc. Quiet people, on the other hand, do not speak not because they are afraid of speaking, but because they feel like they don’t have anything of value to add to the conversation. A quiet person may not say much, when they do say something, they want it to be meaningful and relevant and they have usually put a lot of thought into it.

As a manager, one of the things you must learn to do is recognize the personalities your team members possess.

That is when you will be able to play to their strengths and recognize their weakness.

In this post, we are going to focus on managing shy employees. Sometimes the shyest of employees can be a hidden genius or a miracle worker. All they need in order to shine is a little nudging. Here are 6 ways how you can manage employees who are shy. The below tips will also be helpful in conducting effective performance reviews for shy employees.

How To Support Your Shy Employees Don’t Put Them On The Spot

Some people thrive in the spotlight regardless of how its thrust on them, shy people, on the other hand, will just retreat deeper into their shell. They hate being the center of attention and will be stressed out and worried. Understanding employees expectations should be the first step for a manager to contemplate upon where these employees can add value to the system.

Also Read: 5 Questions To Avoid In An Employee Engagement Survey

Don’t Point Out Their Shyness

Not being able to express an opinion without anxiety or not feeling confident are just some of the issues shy people deal with. Trust me; shy people have noticed they are shy. That’s why it is not a good practice to point out their anxieties to them.

They probably are even working on trying to be more open and assertive. When you notice shy employees taking part in a conversation or expressing an opinion, respond positively to it. Furthermore, you should also ensure that other employees hear and value their opinions which will give them the motivation and confidence to speak up openly.

New Ways of Communication

Face to face communication does not always work with shy employees. But digital communication, on the other hand, is a different ballgame. It’s easier to communicate on the internet (also the reason why people delight in being internet trolls). So if you notice shy people in your team, it is better to communicate with them over a chat or personal messengers or in a one-to-one session where they do not feel nervous or intimidated.

You can also use opinion polls and surveys to get their valuable input while making team decisions.

Also Read:The Reason Why Google’s Objective And Key Results Work

Give Them Time

Most people are not good with coming up with amazing ideas on the spot. Especially shy employees. They do not thrive under pressure. You can slowly teach them to not fear pressure but when you want them to be creative, give them some time to mull over the ideas. Most shy and quiet people work the best when they can mull over ideas by themselves.

While brainstorming with a team, it is quite difficult to expect every team member to participate equally in the ideation process. Moreover, when you have shy employees in the team, it becomes even more difficult to get equal, creative participation from all.You can use quiet brainstorming to help shy employees come up with ideas.

Supportive Environments

To manage your shy employee better, ensure they are in an environment where they are not overwhelmed. Talking to people, addressing large employee groups are things shy employees are not comfortable doing. Even if they power through and somehow manage to do it, the experience is going to be anxiety-filled for them. They are better suited to research-based, one-on-one jobs that involve mindful work as opposed to talking with people.

Let Them Know They Are Valued

Shyness often connotes weakness to most people. However, research shows that shy people are more creative, innovative, and better at problem-solving than extroverts. They just need an environment that helps them process their creative juices.

Many organizations fail to utilize the amazing skills of their introverted employees by not valuing them properly. Helping everyone succeed in a team is the job of a manager, and you must ensure that your shy team members are equally valued as others.

 How would you help shy employees integrate better? Engagedly’s Social feature can make communication between employees so much easier. Request a demo to know more about it!

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Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2024.

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