If you’re an extroverted type of person (and many salespeople are), but your employees are introverted types, you may make the mistake of thinking that they are capable of adapting their behavior to fit your extroverted behavioral style. They can’t.

If your goal is to communicate with, lead and motivate others, it is incumbent upon you, the extrovert, to adapt to others’ introverted style of communication. If you don’t make this adjustment in your approach, you run the risk of appearing patriarchal and arrogant, and the introvert will simply shut down. The harder you push, the less likely the introvert is to respond to an extroverted style of communication.

What your employees need is a leader who can catch them doing things right and compliment them. Praise the way they answer the phone or prepare a file, for example.

The way to improve employees’ performance is to let them know in advance that you are planning to have a review meeting with them in the not-too-distant future (10 days to two weeks). Let them know that you want to talk about what’s working and what needs improvement and that you would like to have their input.

Because they are more introverted, they will not like being put on the spot. Giving them plenty of notice before a performance review will make it less likely that they will shut down in the face of criticism. For best results, after you set a date for a review, send them some questions in advance, so that they have a chance to prepare. For example:

  • What do you like best about your job?
  • Which accomplishments that the company has made in the last 90 days make you happiest?
  • What do you like best about the improvements to your job in the last 90 days?
  • What improvements do you believe the company can make going forward?
  • What improvements do you believe you can make going forward?
  • How can the company help you to do a better job?
  • What are the action steps that you can take?

In conducting the review, let your introverted employee answer each question first. Give them the time to answer. I highly recommend that you use a voice recorder and have minutes typed up. This will help formalize what has been learned throughout the review process and will document the action steps.

You need to recognize that dealing with introverts requires patience. An extroverted behavioral style can appear quite impatient to non-extroverts. They can feel as if they are not being heard. The goal of taking this approach is to allow them to feel as if they have been included in the process and that their concerns are being acknowledged.

If you allow your extroverted behavioral style (which includes quick thought processes and decision-making) to take over and just bark orders, introverted employees may not respond well. You will run the risk that they will not do good work—or may even sabotage your business—or will decide to quit. It’s always cheaper to work with current employees, than to train new ones from scratch.

Sign up for The Lead and get a new tip in your inbox every day! More tips:

Simon Reilly of Leading Advisor Inc. is a financial advisor coach, speaker and writer. Simon writes a daily blog and can be reached at www.leadingadvisor.com/blog.