Elevating Introverts at Work

Elevating Introverts at Work 6 | 3

Hey there introverts at work — we see you! Extroverts are often overrepresented on management teams and many leaders are unsure how to coach, give feedback to, and advocate for a thoughtful introverted employee in a culture where multi-tasking extroverts are rewarded. On this episode of the Radical Candor podcast, Kim, Jason and Amy answer a listener’s question about how to communicate the unseen efforts and accomplishments of introverted employees to senior management.

Listen to the episode:

Radical Candor Podcast: Elevating Introverts at Work


@inwardwin Is your workplace designed for extroverts only? Let’s uncover the bias that overlooks the power of introverts. #IntrovertsAtWork #ChangeTheWorkplace #introvertleadership ♬ original sound – Inward Win


The Question:

I’m a senior manager at a Big Four consulting firm, I’ve been here for 12 years. I love building teams, mentoring, and sharing advice on how to navigate the complexities of our firm. However, while I’m very good at sharing big-picture advice, I have found that I’m really struggling to provide advice to people to explain how to get them ready for promotion to the next level.

 I’m a fairly easygoing person, a bit of a people pleaser, and always look for the best in people, which means I tend to accept someone’s personality for what it is and not ask the right questions to help push them harder. I realize this makes creating deliverables harder and can sometimes create extra work for others. 

In talking with other leadership about why folks might not be ready for promotion I’ve heard them say things as vague as — we’re not sure what he does all day or she makes things harder to complete than it needs to be, but those aren’t super tangible and can be hard to provide actionable feedback on. 

I try to explain that he was working with team members one on one, or reviewing documents before they were finalized, or cross-referencing complicated regulations against each other, or training other people up – but some of that stuff isn’t quite as sexy as “completed a deliverable.” Maybe there’s a better way to frame what they’re doing. 

The culture that I’m working within favors multi-taskers and quick problem solvers, so the folks who are more thoughtful thinkers and doing the behind-the-scenes/soft-skill stuff aren’t always seen as the leaders. It’s hard to explain to them what they’re doing wrong because they might be taking all of the right steps, but maybe just not moving as quickly as somebody else would.  Possibly for good reason though if the work is super detail-oriented. 

So sometimes it seems like the feedback that you need to give ties more to how to alter the perception you’re giving off to others so that it doesn’t seem like dragging feet or excuse giving, as opposed to needing to give feedback on how to do the actual work. This is the feedback that feels harder to give. It doesn’t super feel fair to give, but also, it’s hard to envision that person acting at the next level when they can’t seem to push things ahead in a way that feels meaningful. And while the things the culture favors are a little bit of a bummer for folks who are more thoughtful thinkers, it also feels like they need to work within that system that’s been created.

Sometimes even telling someone to take more ownership over deliverables or develop an executive presence with clients doesn’t even feel super tangible. But also, I even have the problem of identifying the actual problem enough to get that far, I just assume that’s the cost of working with that person. 

Do you have any tips for turning the “something’s just not quite right/ready” into actionable feedback to help people make it to the next level?

Radical Candor Podcast Checklist: Elevating Introverts at Work


@oktree #stitch with @theawkwardblackman are you an introvert at work? #office #work #officelife #corporatelife #corporateamerica #worklife #money #friends #relationship #gossip #mentalhealth ♬ original sound – Yoko 🇰🇭


  1. Remember, you don’t have to be certain about your conclusions to share your hypothesis, sometimes just sharing what if is helpful.
  2. If you’re not comfortable bragging about yourself as a manager, go ahead, brag about your team’s accomplishments, and give specific and sincere praise to peers who have helped you.
  3. Be as clear as possible about what it will take for your direct report to get promoted. Even if you’re not 100% sold on that criteria for promotion. Share them as clearly as you can.
  4. The email haiku. Make sure that you are as brief as possible when sharing important information with your boss or your boss’s boss. Think of one iPhone screen with a really big font.

We asked ChatGPT: Elevating introverts in the workplace involves recognizing and appreciating their unique strengths and creating an environment that allows them to thrive. Here are some strategies managers can employ to support and elevate introverts:

Radical Candor ChatGPT

  1. Create Inclusive Spaces: Foster an inclusive environment where all team members, including introverts, feel valued and heard. Encourage diverse communication styles and make sure that quieter voices are given the opportunity to contribute.
  2. Provide Different Communication Channels: Introverts may feel more comfortable expressing themselves in writing or through one-on-one conversations rather than in large group settings. Offer various communication channels, such as email, chat, or individual meetings, to accommodate different preferences.
  3. Recognize Individual Contributions: Acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of introverts. Highlight their achievements in team meetings, share positive feedback, and ensure that their efforts are recognized publicly to boost their confidence and motivation.
  4. Flexible Work Environments: Provide flexibility in work environments to accommodate introverts’ preferences. This could include quiet spaces for focused work, the option to work remotely, or flexible working hours that allow for more solitary time.
  5. Encourage Thoughtful Contributions: Introverts often prefer well-thought-out contributions rather than spontaneous ones. Encourage and appreciate their reflective input, and let them know that their insights are valuable to the team.
  6. Utilize Their Strengths: Recognize and leverage the strengths commonly associated with introverts, such as deep thinking, attention to detail, and strong analytical skills. Assign tasks that align with these strengths to allow introverts to shine in their areas of expertise.
  7. Provide Advance Notice for Meetings: Introverts may appreciate having advance notice for meetings and discussions. This allows them time to prepare their thoughts and ensures they can actively contribute to the conversation.
  8. Rotate Leadership Roles: Create opportunities for introverts to take on leadership roles or lead specific projects. This not only showcases their capabilities but also helps them develop their leadership skills in a way that suits their style.
  9. Encourage Networking in Smaller Groups: Introverts may find large networking events overwhelming. Encourage smaller, more intimate networking opportunities where they can engage with others in a more comfortable setting.
  10. Provide Regular Feedback: Regularly check in with introverted team members, offering constructive feedback and support. This helps build a trusting relationship and allows you to address any concerns they might have.
  11. Promote Mentorship Programs: Consider implementing mentorship programs that pair introverts with mentors who appreciate and understand their working style. This can provide valuable guidance and support.
  12. Continuous Learning Opportunities: Provide introverts with opportunities for continuous learning and professional development in a setting that aligns with their preferences, such as self-paced online courses or smaller workshops.

By adopting these strategies, managers can create an inclusive workplace that values the contributions of introverts, ultimately leading to a more diverse and high-performing team. Recognizing and leveraging the strengths of introverts contributes to a well-rounded and dynamic work environment.

Radical Candor Podcast Resources: Elevating Introverts at Work

Elevating Introverts at Work


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The Radical Candor Podcast is based on the book Radical Candor: Be A Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott.

Episodes are written and produced by Brandi Neal with script editing by Amy Sandler. The show features Radical Candor co-founders Kim Scott and Jason Rosoff and is hosted by Amy Sandler. Nick Carissimi is our audio engineer.

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