Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's always the quiet ones

Analyzing Effective Leaders: Why Extraverts Are Not Always the Most Successful Bosses summarizes some of the research by Wharton professor Adam Grant which asks, which type of person is the most effective leader, an introvert or an extravert?

According to the article, it depends on the group the person is leading: introverts do better with a proactive team that needs someone to listen and act on their ideas, whereas as extraverts do better with a less proactive team, firing them up and motivating them.

What I also found interesting was the bias against introverted people as leaders:

Given these conclusions, why does the popular view persist that extraverts are better leaders across the board? The authors point to several possible reasons: One is that extraverts are often perceived as more effective because of a "halo effect." "This may occur because extraverted leaders match the prototypes of charismatic leaders that dominate both [Western and Eastern cultures] and are especially prevalent in business," they write. One online survey of 1,500 senior leaders earning at least six-figure salaries found that 65% actually saw introversion as a negative quality in terms of leadership.

It is also possible that an introverted person could believe that they would not make a great leader because they believe the bias and may not actively seek out opportunities for advancement. If you are an introvert with this belief, reading this article and some of the associated research may help to conquer your self-defeating beliefs.

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