The word, “introvert” has a negative connotation in the
business world as it often suggests that the person is
shy, reserved, passive, not a multi-tasker, etc.
Similarly, the term “extrovert” connotes a dominant, bold,
assertive, and action-oriented doer.
If you ask people to name some memorable leaders, you will
receive the names of high-profile individuals such as
Richard Branson (Virgin Group), Jack Welch (formerly with
GE), etc. The reason such extroverted people are most
often remembered is that they are great self-promoters,
while introverted leaders who may have greater
accomplishments are seldom mentioned.
Recent research results from a combined study involving
three ivy league business schools suggests that there is
no ideal profile of a leader but points out the value and
pitfalls of both introverts and extroverts.
The research suggests:
1. Extroverts who manage a team of extroverts get very
little accomplished as there is often a pattern of
self-advocacy promotion that causes such individuals to
not listen well to others.
2. Extroverts who manage a team of introverts often
“talk over” the team and mistakenly assume that the lack
of pushback is passive agreement with the leaders’ ideas.
3. Introverts who manage a team of introverts often get
very little accomplished as their time together is spent
in quiet contemplation with very little conversation.
The research also suggested that the most productive
profile may be the introvert who manages a team of
extroverts as the leader of this group will most likely
have the listening skills to process the ideas and
assertive behaviors of the team and channel these efforts
into productive results for the company.
HR POINTER: Introvert and extrovert are not conditions!
They are behavioral tendencies that suggest ways people
communicate and process information. The important thing
to remember is that it doesn’t matter which behavioral
pattern you display the most – what matters is how you