I have a very highly skilled introvert person employed (Jane) who has been in the organization for many years. Jane has provided some brilliant programs and solutions during the years, but Jane is also very highly paid and has a tendency to work primarily on things that interest her.

Jane has skills we don't have other places in the organisation. My boss has talked about how we can utilize Jane more, but I need some tips on how to do this the smartest way.

Our clients are the other employees of the organization. We need to help them with various issues - mostly complex research market issues - but also more mundane issues.

Jane will do almost anything you ask her. She will, however, not actively seek out discussions and talk to people about the issues they are facing. She strongly believes people need to come to her. She also has a tendency to want to "make the world's best" solution and use months - if allowed - on solving something.

How do you best help introvert people be comfortable, but also be of value to an organisation - when they in essence need to talk more to the organization about the issues it is facing?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Jane S
    Commented Jul 3, 2016 at 2:15

11 Answers 11


She will however not actively seek out discussions and talk to people about the issues they are facing

Who on earth would?

She strongly believes people need to come to her.

And she's right. No domain expert will spend his time walking up to colleagues to listen to their grievances or looking for stuff to do. It would be an outrageous waste of their time and skills. When someone attains that kind of profile in an organization, they're typically swamped with work. It sounds like that's not the case here but then you may need to revise Jane's role or rethink the way in which she contributes value.

It's a common adage that employees should be proactive and take initiative to manage their own workload. If that's low they should signal that in advance so their manager can assign them new tasks or explain what kind of tasks they can take on when the core work is finished. Once an employee's grasped that he can usually be left alone as at that point most people can be trusted to prioritise their core responsibilities and pick up additional work or tasks outside their main role.

That's all great advice for "regular" employees but it all changes once you get to so-called domain experts. These people are typically highly valuable to an organisation and are the go-to people when new projects are started or the rank and file need to call in back-up. Some of these have core tasks that they spend a lot of time on, some are there to support others and have a lot more free time planned in which they'll be expected to use to advance their own skills or those of their colleagues or to perform other supporting tasks: proof-of-concept development, sales, outreach, conventions, ...

Based on your question your department's role is either not clearly defined or you don't have the right processes in place to function effectively as a resource. I can tell you with near certainty that having your employees "mingle" to find stuff to do is not the way to go. You need to have your users come to you instead. Maybe they're not finding their way, maybe they think Jane is too high-up for mundane issues. What the precise problems are is something you'll have to look into. If you capture requests in a central mailbox or tracking system and Jane isn't looking into the issues that pile up there then that's definitely something you can ask her to do. But please do not tell her to go "find work" out in the organisation. You don't have to be an introvert to hate that kind of non-management.

Note that her perfectionist streak can be an asset when channelled properly. You want your lead domain expert to be a stickler for getting it right when he's exploring new features or technologies. Sometimes time is of the essence but if your organisation got to the point where you have these kinds of experts running around and contributing value for the majority of their time then that's often a trade-off worth making. Strategies for dealing with that should be asked about in a separate question though.

As enderland pointed out in the comments, I glossed over your description of Jane as introverted because that's not really the issue here. The problem is that your org and Jane currently have a different view of her role and responsibilities. Having a more introverted personality is no real impediment to interacting professionally at work or actively seeking out contact with customers. Keep in mind that plenty of people, including extroverts, may choose to remain somewhat distant at work and set up boundaries between their work life and personal life. Introverted behaviour is typically not an issue in the workplace; antisocial behaviour would be.

  • 32
    On the flip side, I'm a domain expert at my work and I do actively seek problems from my clients. Different strokes, I guess, but a lot of times if you don't seek the problem you don't find out until it explodes. Something about temporal thread and stitching time, I don't do metaphors.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 15:51
  • 12
    It's all about the personality, style, and comfort of the expert. Some, like @corsiKa are more externally focused, others, like Jane, are more internally focused. The key to managing them is understanding their style and giving appropriate tasking. Externally focused experts tend to be prone to distraction (lots of stimuli and conflicting priorities), and Internally focused experts are prone to being perfectionists. Manage accordingly.
    – Chris G
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 17:19
  • 7
    @DanK Have you actually read my answer? I've discussed the difference between experts and "regular" employees and that distinction is part of it.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 17:42
  • 7
    +1, I think this is pretty much perfect, though it might benefit from clarification that the "problem" here isn't really an "introvert vs extrovert" problem. Introverts can go seek out problems from other teams -- it's a roles/responsibility question here.
    – enderland
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 19:35
  • 16
    @DanK - You're missing the point. As developers progress in skill, they go different directions. Some become architects, able to envision large, disparate systems and how they work together. Some become researchers, pushing products into new territories, and some become domain experts - people who have DEEP knowledge about certain subjects, and can solve the most tangled-up disasters. Each have to be managed differently. Each are needed in different places. Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 22:54

Ask Jane, if she is fine meeting with many people.

If not: Is there a possibility to limit the people that she has to deal with? Maybe have somebody or a few people doing the triage for her.

For me as an introvert is a paramount that I do not have to juggle the requirements of too many people or need to decide on priorities. Especially I do not want to be part of a status meeting. Or any other meeting with more than 2-3 people. Period.

If Jane wants to grow into such a position, though, give her good mentoring and somebody that complements her that she can build a strong, but usually quiet relationship with. Do not make her participate in social events. And ask her about certain limiting parameters for her.

Being clear on expectations and freedom involved with the tasks helps.

One other idea, of which I do not know whether that is feasible for you:

In one company I worked for, we had a job board of tasks that had to be done, with expected delivery date and the posters idea of cost and timeframe. We all were able to pick from the list and negotiate conditions online with the poster. Only rarely it was necessary for a manager to jump in and assign a job.

One tool that could be used for this is Trello.

This tool based process would allow for a lot of freedom for Jane. It would also help the posters to over time get better in stating their requirements and estimating. It might help also to bring to the surface any social bottle necks.

Let me, in reaction to some comments, explain a little more about introversion, even though this is not the main focus of what is asked here, as other answers have pointed out.

You might be aware that a few years ago, a quiet revolution has been started, making the world (and especially the US) aware of the "other half", the introverts.

Introverts are not socially awkward. Introverts just refill their energy differently from extraverts. While extraverts thrive on dopamin and replenish when in action and with other people, introverts refill their batteries in alone time.

Introverts have been found to be overwhelmed by too much dopamin. Their "brain drog of choice" is acetylcholine. Interestingly enough, this messenger is used to disconnect body functions from the brain, so that we for example do not act out our dreams in our sleep.

Knowing this, we can provide better work environments for introverts. Quieter, more secluded office space instead of cubicles or open floor plans. More one-on-one instead of everybody-in meetings. More alone work instead of group dynamics. Preparation time for group events, and the allowance to opt out without social push-back.

I personally am an introvert that has no problems talking in front of many or participating in large group meetings. I just burn out easily and need time to replenish alone afterwards.

The most productive I am working in solitude or meeting with one person. I hate smalltalk, as it is a waiste of time and I cannot see that I am building relationship talking about the weather. It is not the weather I am interested in, but the person in front of me. But not even the person, more her thoughts and visions.

There are many flavors of introverts. Thus, some of the advice I gave does not hold for all of them. As with any person, get to know them and find out how to build the most productive work environment with a win-win-situation. This might well mean adjustment for the company for the greater good of increased productivity.

This might mean more secluded work spaces, more electronic and unsynchronized communication (like the "job board" I proposed or email instead of the phone). This might include team building (maybe small and consistent teams) or pairing strategies to complement somebody. Pure management skills, going deeper than the cultural accepted way of superficial group happiness.

  • 7
    While there definitely are people for which this advice holds true, I wouldn't lump all introverts into this category. I'm very much on the introverted side myself, but I have no problem meetings with lots of people as long as there's a point for me to be there and the meetings are focused on that point. I also have no problem with the occasional social event (keyword: occasional.) "Status meetings" where 90+% of the status being relayed is completely irrelevant to me are annoying, but that's because those meetings are a waste of my time, not just because I'm an introvert.
    – reirab
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 3:04
  • @reirab I agree and edited the answer in that direction. Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 8:00
  • 2
    Asking her? good. Triage (by self or junior programmer)? good. "Do not ask her to participate in social events": Bad! Excluding anyone intentionally from social functions, whether a great asset or not, is bad for everyone, not just the person who is excluded. If 'Jane' is so awkward that she can't handle saying no to a simple (especially group) invitation, then she wouldn't have gotten this far in her employment. So, invite? Yes. Expect? No. Same as anyone else.
    – CWilson
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 14:55
  • @CWilson When saying "do not ask her to to participate", I believe malach meant "do not try to persuade above & beyond the general invitation." It sounds strange to interpret malach's statement to mean "don't invite at all."
    – Kelvin
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 15:46
  • @Kelvin Perhaps it does sound strange. But, if an extrovert who does not understand their people (I don't believe OP is) reads this answer, I believe it could easily reinforce the already normal and prevalent practice of not inviting coworkers to social events just because they think they won't come. Think about how many times you have seen the new guy invited to something after work, but someone else in the team wasn't invited. Many extroverts believe that they are helping the introvert by pleasantly ignoring them. That is wrong. A conscientious extrovert should not be led further astray.
    – CWilson
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 16:12

How do you best help introvert people be comfortable, but also be of value to an organisation - when they in essence need to talk more to the organization about the issues it is facing?

Don't assume the problem can only be fixed by changing introverts. The organisation needs to be able to value people because of, not in spite of, who they are and how they think and work. Now, we all have strengths and weaknesses. It sounds like Jane's not so good at:

  • reaching out to others
  • prioritising, identifying deadines, starting small

To get the most out of Jane, you need to make sure these weaknesses are either addressed or worked around, so that she can maximise her time and focus on high-value projects which play to her strengths. The key to unlocking this is identifying who can address each problem.

For instance, you might simply to give her an objective: "I want you to reach out to others more". You could create targets or identify internal clients... but this is very risky, because if it's well outside Jane's comfort zone, she may not know where to start, she may become anxious, she may not be effective at it, she may decide it's futile or her overall contribution may fall and she may lose rather than gain confidence.

Rather than thinking of this as Jane's problem reaching out, think of it instead as your challenge: to 'market' Jane. Include Jane in this process, and start by identifying:

  • the things that only Jane can do
  • the things that Jane can do better than anyone else.
  • the sort of problems for which Jane is more likely than others to be able to come up with a solution

Then you and your team need to get this information out to people who have problems that Jane (or indeed your whole team) can solve. Overhearing things you can help with sometimes works but unless you're planning on doing something creepy like recording all your office conversations and text-mining them, it won't scale with your organisation; Jane is right on this one, it's far more effective to get people to come to her/you; if you think about it, if you're in procurement, IT, or any other department, that's how it works.

Make sure Jane knows people are coming and knows you want her to welcome contact and help people develop plans (or perhaps you want them to come to you or someone in the team who's great at extracting use cases?). Make sure that your team has a consistent message (the team does X, Jane is the expert in X+Y).

By doing this, you're creating low-pressure opportunities for Jane to develop her interpersonal skills and become more proactive, while at the same time not forcing her to spend time doing things she's not good or comfortable with.

You can apply the same principles to the other problems:

Help Jane prioritise by keeping in regular contact. It's your job to flag the big urgent things you care about; when things are high priority, tell her that and ask her to do them first. Explain how you've come to the decision they're high priority so that she will start to pick this up and prioritise herself. But don't overdo it if deadlines aren't causing problems. Sometimes she'll be more effective working on things 'out of priority order', because that's the order in which the creative process is driving her.

With deadlines and getting to Minimum Viable Product, make it clear to her that when people come to her with work she needs to get people to identify their timescales and scope. Pair her up with someone who's good at this. As with prioritisation, the key is show rather than tell. But again, don't just rely on getting Jane to do things differently. Educate your most frequent/important clients, too: find ways of encouraging them to think about these questions before they approach you. If you have a job tracking system, come up with standards for spec which differentiates essentials and optionals, which gives the timeframe for the minimum solution, etc.


Jane having a tendency to be introverted doesn't really seem like it is that serious since she may not initiate conversation, but she doesn't completely avoid it. That would be a problem.

Jane will do almost anything you ask her.

It doesn't seem like that big of a deal to just ask her especially with her skill set. Why is this a problem?

She will however not actively seek out discussions and talk to people about the issues they are facing.

Encourage others to reach to her. They may think she doesn't want to talk to them because she doesn't initiate, but again, that doesn't seem to be the case.

She strongly believes people need to come to her.

Some people will interpret this as having an ego. Listen to her reasoning. When you're the only person who has a certain skill, being able to prioritize and triage everyone's needs is a difficult enough task. However, I do think it is important that she take the initiative to follow-up on the solutions she has provided. This will help people become more comfortable with her and get a sense that she cares enough about the quality of her working and meeting the expectations of others. Many organizations as a whole fail at this, so I wouldn't expect it to come natural to engineering types. You can't always make the assumption that everyone who is dissatisfied will complain directly.

She also has a tendency to want to "make the worlds best" solution and use months - if allowed - on solving something.

Strike some sort of balance here by working with her on the solutions she proposes. With time, she may start to understand the constraints that many projects have. Time is a critical one. It's easy to decide to skimp on the foundation when you're not the one that has to fix the cracks. What may seem like over-engineering to you may be viewed as being professional and wanting to do quality work. This doesn't mean she should be allowed to use every bleeding-edge technology and technique there is. Self-study and growing one's skill-set is important, but it should not come at the expense of getting all of the projects done.


The Jane you describe sounds a little bit like myself. I am introverted, in market research, like to do my own thing etc. Only I am not 'highly paid'. Oh well...

Anyway, my suggestions to get more value out of Jane is based on what works for me:

  • Set an objective for her to work with more, new departments. For example, most of my projects were with marketing, but there was also an organisational need to conduct research with operations. This objective allowed me to expand my skill set and help new areas
  • Set an objective that rewards seeking out new projects. One performance indicator that I, as an in-house market researcher, am measured on is cost saved vs. using a 3rd party research provider. The implication of this is to conduct more research projects, as in-house research has a lower variable cost than using 3rd party providers. this would alos help with her 'everything has to be perfect' attitude
  • Talk to her about which skills she would like to develop. Depending on what is chosen, you can ask her to develop the skills on the job. For example, if she wanted to conduct more spatial analysis skills, give her the open source statistical package R and let her learn GIS skills on the job
  • 5
    This could work, but possibly not. When I was given "objectives" that made me want to run and hide, I found it very difficult. You could propose these things, but unless she looks interested, quickly drop them and try something else. You can't get a cat to behave like a dog, although sometimes they do so of their own accord.
    – user37746
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 17:42

Some people are extroverts who cannot fathom introverts at all, others are extroverts who occasionally need a bit of introverted time to themselves, yet others are introverts who can pretend to be extroverts but then need to find their hidey hole (e.g., give a public talk, and then disappear), and yet others are introverts who cannot fathom extroverts at all. Your brilliant "Jane" may fall in the last category.

Do not give her boring work; you are wasting her brilliant skills. Do not give her work that requires her to meet and greet for hours on end; as an extreme introvert she cannot do that. Do not give her months to work on a problem (unless of course the problem would takes years of a mere mortal's time to solve). Brilliant introverts love to hunker down, and working on a problem for months until they arrive at a world class solution is a great way to hunker down. This can be counterproductive.

So what can you do? First off, you need to make her aware of the deadlines when you assign her a task. If she's as good as you say she is, she is sensitive to deadlines. Secondly, give her tasks that are challenging. A brilliant extrovert is going to be just as unhappy with a lowly task as is a brilliant introvert. If you want to lose that expertise, give her garbage jobs. If you want to retain her, give her the hard technical problems.

Thirdly, since she doesn't seek others out, don't force her to do that. Instead ask others to seek her out, one on one, and convince her that this is a good thing to do. This is the electronic era. Ask her to participate in the company chat site (Slack, Skype, Trello, ...). (You do have one, don't you?) Chat and email make for a nice quiet place where introverted experts can spread their expertise without having to leave the confines of their offices.

  • Team chats also give a chance to think before responding, it's a lot nicer even in our open floor plan
    – Izkata
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 16:37
  • 5
    @Izkata -- I'm an introvert who can occasionally pretend to be an extrovert. As an introvert, open floor plans drive me crazy, and drive me to look for a different job. I could not fathom working at (for example) Facebook. Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 16:45
  • 1
    @DavidHammen I'm right there with you on that one. As far as I'm concerned, open floor plans are of the devil.
    – reirab
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 3:13

I'd try to use Jane's experience to boost your other team members.

Have a meeting to discuss a problem that comes vaguely under her area of expertise, along with more junior team members. Use that meeting to ask them how they'd address the issue and why. This gives Jane a chance to reach out to help with design or to preempt issues that are likely to arise with the proposed solution without having to put her in a "social" situation. It also gives her a heads-up on a project where she's likely to get called in to help on occasion. Direct the discussion to encourage clarification of vague points in order to keep people thinking about the solution. This immediately makes her more of a "go-to" for people involved in that meeting and gives the project a better chance of success from the outset.

Otherwise, if she only wants to work on the problems that interest her (and who doesn't?), try to make sure that the right problems interest her, or if the problem you want her to work on isn't challenging enough to keep her attention, then drop the timeframe available to get the job done to increase the challenge.


The question does not, as some answerers have assumed, say that 'Jane' is uncomfortable talking to people. It says she is an introvert. By the definitions of the category, precisely half the world's population at any given time are introverts, and not only those awkward programmers who fear to leave their closet to even make the short trip to the bathroom. The OP describes a competent introvert, not a scared child who grows nauseous at the idea of looking someone in the eye.

As @Lilienthal answered, much of this question is really more about how experts should be treated in an organization, and less about introvert/extrovert. But there is obviously some some value in taking someone's personality and preferences into account when managing them.

My suggestion for introverted experts involves a modified 'gatekeeper'. Strong extroverts feel trapped behind a gatekeeper, but even so will often use them just because their time is valuable. A traditional gatekeeper is a receptionist screening phone calls for the executive, so they can instead have time to walk the cubicals and hang out at the water cooler (hopefully as tools to do their job, not slacking off). Your 'Jane' doesn't need that. What she needs is a single (very rarely multiple) contact point as a go between. This person will be the contact point for other departments. I would suggest identifying a junior level programmer (the question suggests that 'Jane' is a programmer, insert junior level [whatever] here) who is excited about the idea of making a difference and a name for themselves (usually young, could be introvert or extrovert) who, at the beginning, does your dirty work (commenting code, whatever, just learning what everyone else is doing, how well they do it, and what the workload is), and slowly (or quickly?) expanding that person into your 'marketing department'. Send that person to other departments, into their meetings, introduce them to your counterparts and clients outside of your team, and tell them that this person's function is to find out how you can do more work for them (not to commit to it!). You know some other managers will balk at an outsider entering their 'fiefdom', but that is your boss's job, not yours. What you are doing is both marketing Jane by going to the customers, and saving her valuable time.

This method allows Jane to have control over who approaches her (we all want, introverts want it more), and limits that number of people to a small group, while still doing what your boss asked.

How does this work in practice? Depending on your environment, this 'gatekeeper' should be told that they are (truthfully, of course) either being groomed for management, or being mentored by Jane. Regardless, this person should be sat down by you and Jane, and told in no uncertain terms that they are not Jane's boss, and quite the opposite. Just because a receptionist controls an executive's calendar does not give them the right to tell the executive which meeting is more important, even when she has to make judgement calls and basically do just that on her own. Jane must have control over who this person is, either by helping to identify them, or say in having them reassigned and a different person brought in, if they annoy her too much.

Regardless of mentorship or leadership track, the junior level person would have a standing meeting with Jane, eventually daily, but at first likely weekly. They would talk about what Jane is working on, what Jane needs from 'the outside world' (more detailed requirements documentation, additional resources, lunch?), what new projects are on the horizon from different departments and which ones Jane would enjoy, how long it might take Jane (or the team, she probably knows the team's capabilities at least as well as you), and hopefully Jane also gets excited about mentoring the junior person in their own programming (or whatever) projects. That junior person will report back to you their notes from these meetings with Jane right away as well as notes from any other departments they have met with,

One of the specific requested benefits here is that Jane will realize that, because of the volume of work that is out there, she can't spend the kind of time she wants on each project... or even better, may come up with ideas on her own of how she can. And all this will happen by people (you and 'junior') coming to her, not her going out.

Other benefits: your junior staffer gets their own stuff done much faster (especially if this is mentorship), as well as getting career improvement and advice. This will take from your time, and it will take from Jane's time (set parameters how long and often these meetings take, giving Jane the opportunity to extend if she enjoys the mentoring), but it does what your boss wants, and at a fraction of the price of what it would cost for Jane to go market herself, even if she weren't introverted. And perhaps most importantly, it shows Jane that you and your company trust her, value her, and see her as more than just the amazing production machine that she already knows she is.

Caveat: most important of all of this, though, is to actually talk to Jane. Ask what she wants. If she is cagey, dismissive, or passive in that conversation, then she is probably not the person that your boss thinks she is, and your boss's whole idea will backfire. Be the manager that your boss expects you to be, and give them this information up front. Also in this conversation with her, use your skills as a leader/motivator to get her to be excited about whatever idea (gatekeeper or whatever) you come up with, and create the method by which you and she will continue to give feedback to each other about how this is going.

Now, frankly, what is really going on here, is your boss just gave you the stepping stone to managing other managers. Probably intentionally. Own it, be grateful for it, and realize this is bigger than figuring out how to talk to an introvert. Managing experts with egos and increasing the business and notoriety of your shop/department is exactly what executives do all day. Welcome to the rest of your career. Good job starting it by asking for help.

  • +1 for the gatekeeper. Once people figure out you're really good at your job, they'll have you do their job too.
    – Booga Roo
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 1:50
  • If Jane volunteers a solution to a problem she sees, others may be happy to let her "do their job.' OR, they'll be insulted that someone else is trying to do their job.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 19:19
  • @CWilson: expansion on Booga Roo. I've occasionally been "Jane" in all three variations.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 18:28

You could consider doing Status Meetings with key users.

Every Sprint or month get together with one or more key users. Display the current Status and ask does that meet the requirements and could you work with it.

Generally that should get the discussion going without the need to force jane to go ask. Getting someone to ask and think on the customers side is tough. If jane doesn't have that mindset and doesn't want to, you might want to work around it.

Also if Jane is that valuable then you might not want him/her Walking through the Company asking People, generally People who are open about IT Solutions, will dump so many Projects in your lap especially on a programmer with the though should be easy to do, right?


Jane (as Lilienthal says) is not the problem. You can't force people to do what they don't want to do.

Furthermore, introverted persons normally are highly reflexive, so she probably is too clever to step into simple argument traps that try to make her do something against her will.

Intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation...

Fact is you get the most out of people if you let the intrinsic motivation occur, if you let them be, and develop in the directions they want to go.

Good management does not force people into roles management wants. It's about spotting talents and enhancing them in an organic way, more than commanding. Making good rules is like setting a field with limits where people can freely move (like a referee in a game -- the best is when you don't notice the referee exists). Additionally, as a generalization (! with it's exceptions), one can say that introverted persons normally elaborate more their IQ while extroverted people evolve more on their EQ. It's normal that people tend to one side more than the other. You want the perfect package and that's a little bit ilusoric.

My suggestion: put Jane in a lead role, and provide an assistant who is extroverted. Introverted people need confidence to flourish. So a small dual team is the best to give Jane an environment where she feels comfortable to display all her talents, and the other person does the work Jane doesn't want to but needs to be completed.

Just be careful that the extroverted person is not too dominant so that Jane's ideas get eaten up. But do not even try to change Jane...

In the end: Human resources (silly word combination) is more about humans than about resources, because humans are not very much like resources (gold, time, electricity, money, etc.)


Jane needs a friend.

Well, if not a friend then a partner.

Introverted people, like myself, find meetings, parties, and outings exhausting. It's not that we dislike people. We're much more comfortable with one person than a large group.

That doesn't mean we don't have many friends. Some of us have lots. We just don't gather them into a mass that needs a charter bus.

A partner, who can build a rapport with Jane, can provide balance. The most important thing is that Jane can trust this person.

Jane needs a reason to find this person useful so it's good if they are a bit technical. But the partner should also be sociable enough to take the brunt of meetings.

It's tempting to think things like this should fit into some power dynamic. Jane's boss should do this and just task her. Jane should have an assistant who takes care of this for her. No, it's really just about keeping the number of people Jane has to deal with every day at a comfortable level.

If you look closely at the people around Jane, you may find she already had a partner or two. If one of these people has the temperament you need, make use of them.

If you need Jane to build lots of working relationships, let her do it one person at a time.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .