Sunday, August 06, 2006

If you manage someone who is shy...

There's a chapter in Stop Pushing Me Around that is devoted to managing shy employees, with lots of tips on how to help them come out of their shell and make sure you're getting everything they have to contribute. On her blog at, Leslie Levine addresses this issue today.

And in the August 4th issue of the Toronto Globe and Mail, Wallace Immen's second article based on my book focuses on that topic. Here's an excerpt from it:

In every organization, there are people who have great ideas but never seem to bring them up in meetings.

You know they are capable of more, but they prefer to fly below the radar, rather than reaching for the top.

As a manager, your challenge is: How do you help a good worker who is naturally shy to blossom?

Tact is the key, says career consultant Ilise Benun, president of Hoboken, N.J.-based consultancy Marketing Mentor and the author of a new book, Stop Pushing Me Around.

"Facing the unknown and being put on the spot are situations that shy people really fear," she says, so it's important to keep the pressure low and not appear to be singling someone out for special treatment.

A manager who gives shy employees the space and time to use strategies that work comfortably for them will see them shine, she says.

How to help that happen? Here are her suggestions:

Make the first move

Shy people tend not to reach out because they are afraid of the reaction they will receive, she says. It's important that a manager build rapport with shy employees so that they aren't intimidated to speak up when they need something.

Check in with them informally on a regular basis and ask if there is anything they need to help them in their work, Ms. Benun suggests.

Don't put them on the spot

You don't want to come straight out and say, "I realize you are shy about responding at meetings," which would make a shy person feel conspicuous.

Instead, you can send a memo, something like "If it helps, I can get you an early copy of the agenda to help you prepare for the meeting."

You can read the rest of the article here.

You can buy the book here.


Blogger Jade Graham said...

They recharge when they have time to themselves. A shy person has difficulties in social situations. Shy Mastery Guide

7:34 PM  

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