Team Success with ?Innies?: Why You Want Them on Your Team and How to Help Them Excel

Everyone knows, works or lives with "innies." Who are they and what can they do for your team? Let's find out!

"Innies" are those quiet, reserved folks who take time to think before they comment. You will find that they adore being by themselves, thinking their own thoughts and saying little about what is going on for them. This behavior can cause the average person to wonder and perhaps avoid this type. With "innies" being about 35 ? 40% of the population, leaving them behind can foil many an effort. Yet those who take the time to get to know them understand all they can bring to the team.

Assets they possess that can significantly help your team are:

* Creativity, including the ability to connect seemingly disparate issues to come up with something innovative

* Great problem solving skills, combined with the talent of holding various options open and in equal favor thereby avoiding "foregone conclusions" or "group think"

* Ability to discern alternatives and options not usually seen by others, as well as playing them out to logical, fruitful ends

* A strong dose of curiosity, which is often evident in their great questioning and outstanding listening skills

* Sharp perception about other people, which contributes to "smoke out" false people ,what's not being said or what's not functioning well on the team

Now, who wouldn't want this type of people to augment their team?

What gets difficult is that the normal way the world functions can be harsh for "innies." Their initial tendency is to pull back and not let these great qualities shine. At the same time, our independent research shows that "innies" desire to earn the respect of others around them. Here's how you can help them excel on your team (and in life):

1) Play to their strengths, which include doing mental work, behind the scenes thought and learning new things.

2) Ask them to contribute something specific. Pull out a task specifically for them that well suits their abilities and interests. Make a special request that they do this particular piece to help the whole project.

3) Slow down the process. Pressure and deadlines can stymie "innies" so let them work well in advance of final dates.

4) Publish and distribute agendas for meetings. This will help them gather their thoughts and be able to contribute more and more often.

5) Invite them to participate. When they are quiet in meetings or group settings, ask what they can bring to help everyone else. Help them get their thoughts onto the table for discussion.

6) Relate their involvement to a cause that holds meaning for them. Get to know what they care about and seek ways to relate their activities to that which they hold dear.

7) Don't talk over one another in group settings. Multiple agendas and activities at once create distractions and disturbances which "innies" find hard to take in. They will tune out fast with this commotion at hand.

8) Don't back to back schedule group activities or meetings involving "innies." Give them some time to process one thing before getting involved in another. That breather helps them stay on task.

9) Praise their contributions genuinely. This step done sincerely shows them they've earned your respect and will build their confidence.

10) Provide a quiet place for them to get away from work and relate inward. 'Innies" are not the type of folk you will find hanging around the lunch room or copier. They need quiet to stay on task. If you can relate this quiet place to nature, even better.

The world is missing a lot when "innies" become separated from the mainstream. When you take these steps to include them, you are exceptionally rewarded.

Sarah Dolliver is a catalyst and guide for inner-directed individuals (those who focus inward to restore). As founder and host of InnerVantage, she partners with "innies" for educate, inspire and empower them to show their gifts, talents and strengths to the world. Visit her online at

Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science in Management (Bentley College, Waltham, MA) and is a graduate of Coach U and The Graduate School of Coaching from CoachVille.

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