How Does a Manager Bring a Shy Employee Out of Their Shell?

If your team is like most, it has many different personalities on it. There’s the creative, the natural-born salesperson, the stickler for rules, the free spirit and, of course, the shy one.

When it comes to the latter, they can be especially tough to manage since half the time you aren’t even sure what they’re thinking. Keep in mind, though, employees who are shy aren’t trying to be difficult; they’re often simply afraid of being criticized or rejected.

As a manager, how do you get them out of their shell, so they share their ideas more and become a valuable contributor to the team? Here are some tips from Morgan Hunter, one of the leading staffing service firms in Kansas City, to help you:

Explain your expectations.

All of your staff members should be a part of the conversation and your shy employee is no exception. So if they’re not contributing in a meaningful way, let them know you expect them to start adding to the conversation. Also be sure to communicate that you value their insight and wisdom, which is why you need them to speak up and share their input.

Ask specifically for their feedback.

During a meeting, instead of waiting for them to make their voice heard, ask for their feedback or ideas. Sometimes, shy people need to be drawn out and this is one easy way to pave the way for them to offer their opinion. They’ll often have helpful thoughts or ideas – in some cases, the best ones – so it’s important to create a space for them to feel comfortable contributing to the conversation.

Offer affirmations.

When a shy person does speak up and share, thank them for doing so. Let them know you appreciate their thoughts and ideas with statements like: “That’s a great observation. Thanks for letting us know.” This will provide positive reinforcement so they continue to contribute in the future.

Provide training and support.

For some people, speaking out in public is terrifying. If your employee isn’t showing signs of progress in this area, then offer access to resources that will help them develop. For instance, organizations – like Toastmasters – provides an opportunity for people to learn and practice the art of public speaking in an environment that feels safe.

Whatever you do, don’t force anything on a shy person. If you do, they’ll become overwhelmed and overstimulated, retreating even further into their shell.

Need help with these and other HR-related issues, like hiring?

Turn to Morgan Hunter. As a leading staffing service firm in the Kansas City area, we can help you recruit, train, manage and retain your biggest resource: your people. Contact us today to learn more.