Yesterday, we shared a video on Linkedin of an ant carrying a peanut that one of our team members captured on holiday in Portugal. It got me thinking about the small but mighty people amongst us, in life and in the workplace. As a tech recruitment agency, we’ve seen our fair share of bold, big, and brash personalities leading the charge. But what about the introverts? The ones who might not shout the loudest, but can still make a significant impact?

I remember being told by an old boss that we have two ears, two eyes, and one mouth, so that we can listen and observe twice as much as we speak. It’s a valuable lesson that I’ve carried with me throughout my career, and one that I think is particularly relevant when it comes to working with people (full-stop).

Recognising Introverts

Introversion often isn’t shyness. Introverts simply get their energy from solitude rather than social interaction. They’re not the loudest in the room, but they’re often the most thoughtful.

Patricia Peyton, in her article “How to Support Introverts So They Can Thrive in the Workplace,” reminds us that “there is nothing wrong with being an introvert. Variety is the spice of life, and the strongest teams generally have a mix of people with different styles and strengths that balance each other.”

So, how can you recognise introverts in your team?

  • They prefer to work alone or in small groups
  • They’re good listeners and have high emotional intelligence
  • They like to process information slowly and think through new ideas before discussing them
  • They prefer to focus intently on one task at a time
  • They don’t like to be the centre of attention and prefer one-on-one feedback or praise

Furthermore, Personality tests, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Big Five personality traits, can also help you understand individual personalities and working styles. For example, an introverted team member who scores high on the “Introversion” scale of the MBTI may prefer to work independently and communicate in writing.

Working with Introverts

So, how can you work effectively with introverts in your team?

  • Respect their boundaries: Don’t interrupt them when they’re working on a task, and avoid sudden changes to their schedule.
  • Communicate in writing: Introverts often prefer to communicate in writing, so use email or instant messaging instead of dropping by their desk for a chat.
  • Give them time to prepare: If you need to discuss something with an introvert, give them advance notice (perhaps with the agenda beforehand) so they can prepare their thoughts and organise their ideas.
  • Listen actively: Introverts aren’t going to be the first to speak up in meetings. Don’t mistake this for disinterest. They’re processing. Make it a habit to check in with them one-on-one. They’re more likely to share valuable insights in a quieter setting. When an introvert does speak up, listen carefully to what they have to say, and avoid interrupting them – but this is a good rule of thumb for extroverts, introverts and everyone in between.
  • Encouragement instead of pressure: Create a safe space for introverts to share their thoughts and opinions. Introverts don’t need to be turned into extroverts. They need to be understood and appreciated for who they are. Encourage them to share their ideas, but don’t push them into uncomfortable social situations. They’ll contribute in their own way.

Creating a Supportive Environment

By supporting and understanding introverts, you can create a more inclusive and productive work environment. Here are some tips for creating a supportive environment:

  • Quiet space: An open-plan office is an introvert’s worst nightmare. It’s like trying to work in the middle of a crowded pub. Give them space. Create quiet zones where they can focus without constant interruptions. Noise-cancelling headphones can also be a lifesaver.
  • Provide opportunities for growth: Offer training and development opportunities that cater to introverts’ learning styles.
  • Foster a culture of respect: Encourage team members to respect each other’s boundaries and working styles.


By supporting and working with introverts, you can unlock their full potential and create a more diverse, productive, and successful team. Remember, it’s not about changing who they are, but about creating an environment that allows them to thrive.

Natalie Harper

Author Natalie Harper

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