qimono / Pixabay

Great leaders are always in the market for fresh new ideas—actively seeking them out, soliciting them, soaking them up. Hopefully, yours is a company where all employees are encouraged to speak up and weigh in on where the business should head. And hopefully your leadership style is one that’s welcoming of all these insights.

There’s one group whose ideas are difficult to acquire, however—and that’s introverts. Simply put, employees who tend to be shy and reserved may be a lot less eager to speak up with their ideas. And even if they have great ideas, they may get drowned out by their more outgoing and boisterous colleagues.

So what can you do to ensure that you’re truly hearing ideas from everyone? I’ve got a few quick tips I can share.

Getting Ideas from Everyone on Your Team

  • Remember that introverts, in addition to being on the quieter side, may also prefer to think about their comments before voicing them publicly. When you ask for ideas on the fly, introverts are naturally going to be reticent. Instead, give a heads up. Let everyone know in advance that you’re going to be bringing up a specific topic and asking for insight. Let your introverts think things through for a little while.
  • If you find that certain voices dominate the conversation, make a special effort to speak with the people who remain quiet. You may meet with them privately, after a meeting, to ask if they had any input they wanted to give. Let them know that you see and appreciate them, even amidst the other, louder voices.
  • When speaking with quieter employers, be precise in your word choice. Don’t ask is there anything we could do differently, because that gives them an out. Instead, ask what could we do differently? Start with the assumption that process improvements are possible, and that their feedback is truly needed.
  • Finally, be candid about your own disappointments. Don’t hesitate to say when you feel like a particular project or meeting didn’t go as well as it could have, and own up to any role you played in it. Create a safe environment for employees to speak openly and honestly.

Above all: Make sure you have a team dynamic where everyone feels valued.