Inclusive Culture: Strategies for Leading Introverted Team Members


We often judge each other. Extroverts often consider introverts as boring or uptight people because of their reserved nature, particularly in group settings where they are less inclined to initiate conversations. As the boss, your goal is to have all your employees operating at their peak level of energy, efficiency, and motivation—which can be a challenge when it comes to leading a team that includes introverts as an extrovert. How do you manage them and their work preferences?


Before delving into strategies, it’s crucial to understand introverts and acknowledge their unique strengths they bring to a team. Introverts thrive in smaller settings, excel in independent work, and possess empathy, emotional intelligence, and attention to detail. Although some introverts are shy, most simply prefer to work alone. (Shyness is a form of social anxiety that results from fear of judgment or social interaction, but this doesn’t apply to all introverts.)

How To Become Excellent Leaders As Introverts

1. Respect their preferences

One of the most important things you can do as a team manager is to respect the preferences and boundaries of your introverted team members. They thrive in environments that allow for focused, thoughtful collaboration. Avoid interrupting them when they are in a state of deep concentration or need some quiet time to recharge. Susan Cain, the New York bestselling author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, said “solitude matters, and for some people, it’s the air they breathe.”

2. Create Safe Spaces
Consider implementing designated quiet zones or virtual channels where team members can contribute ideas in writing or take time for individual reflection before group discussions. They often excel when given time for thoughtful preparation. To optimize their contributions in meetings, share the agenda in advance, allowing introverted team members to reflect on the topics and come prepared with valuable insights. Utilize one-on-one meetings or written feedback sessions to create a supportive environment where introverted team members feel comfortable expressing themselves and receiving guidance.
3. Communicate effectively
Another key strategy for managing introverted team members is to communicate effectively with them. Don’t assume that they are not interested or engaged in the team’s goals or projects. Ask them for their opinions, ideas, and concerns, and listen attentively to their responses. Encourage them to contribute feedback and suggestions through written formats such as emails, shared documents, or collaboration tools. Follow up with them regularly, and respect their need for space and autonomy.
4. Encourage collaboration
While introverts may prefer to work alone, they can also benefit from collaborating with other team members, especially those who share their values, interests, or expertise. As a team manager, you can encourage collaboration among your introverted team members by pairing them with their extroverted colleagues, assigning clear roles and responsibilities, and setting realistic deadlines and milestones. This combination can promote diverse and innovative problem-solving. You can also facilitate the exchange of feedback and support among the team members, and celebrate their achievements and contributions.
5. Provide opportunities for growth
Introverts are often eager to learn new skills, explore new topics, or take on new challenges. As a team manager, you can provide opportunities for growth for your introverted team members by offering them training or coaching programs, inviting them to attend webinars, workshops, or conferences, or giving them access to online courses, books, or podcasts.
6. Appreciate their diversity
Finally, one of the best strategies for managing introverted team members is to appreciate their diversity and uniqueness. Acknowledge and value their different perspectives, approaches, and styles of working. Leverage their skills and talents for the benefit of the team and the organization. In an inclusive culture, it’s essential to celebrate and recognize individual contributions. Introverted team members may not seek the spotlight, so make a deliberate effort to acknowledge their achievements and share their successes with the team. This fosters a sense of appreciation and belonging.


As leaders, our commitment to inclusivity is a testament to the strength of our teams. Embracing the diverse qualities of introverted team members fosters an environment where everyone can thrive. By implementing these strategies, we cultivate a culture that values and celebrates the unique contributions introverted team members.

Linus Okorie MFR is a leadership development expert spanning 30 years in the research, teaching and coaching of leadership in Africa and across the world. He is the CEO of the GOTNI Leadership Centre.

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