How do you build a positive professional relationship with a shy boss?
That’s what one reader asked recently on the Admin Pro Forum:
“I just got a new job assisting a regional manager who’s more introverted than anyone I’ve ever worked with! She makes almost every request via email and shares almost nothing. I have no idea how to get to know her so we can work together better. Does anyone have any tips?” — Sam, sales assistant
Experts agree the key to working successfully with introverts is respecting their boundaries.
One way to build a fast bond is through deliberately building rapport. This technique is “used by therapists, medical staff, psychologists and coaches to get results with resistant clients,” says career coach and behavior expert Robert Holmes.
It involves three steps:
1. Match her language. Mirror your supervisor’s word choices back to her. If she refers to something as a bombshell, ask how you can help “with the bombshell.”
2. Imitate her physiology. When you meet with the boss, mimic her body posture. If she’s standing, you stand. If she’s sitting, you sit.
3. Don’t intrude. Introverts are “energized by being alone and are depleted by being with people. So ask permission to enter your boss’s office. Once you’re in, keep it short.”
Another important aspect of dealing with an introvert is planning, says Maryann Reid, co-founder of Books & Buzz. She suggests asking “when is the best time to go over questions, challenges or heavy-lifting issues. Introverted bosses do not respond well to an influx of information all at once or randomly. This eats away at the alone time they need to recharge.”