Are Extroverts or Introverts Better Leaders?
The thinking that leaders are extraverts — men and women
who are the most dominant and authoritative people in a group — is not necessarily
the case according to an article from The Wharton School. New research from
Wharton professor Adam Grant and colleagues shows that extraverted leadership
provides a clear authority structure and direction. But pairing extraverted
leaders with employees who are proactive may lead to conflict, while pairing
the same group of employees with an introverted leader can be very successful.
you look at existing leadership research, extraversion stands out as the most
consistent and robust predictor of who becomes a leader and who is rated an
effective leader," Prof. Grant said. "But I thought this was incomplete.
It tells us little about the situations in which introverted leaders can be
more effective than extraverted leaders."
A survey of leaders and employees
of a national pizza delivery company found that when employees are proactive,
introverted managers lead them to earn higher profits. When employees are not
proactive, extraverted managers lead them to higher profits. Mismatched, the
personality conflicts can lead to a power struggle, pitting leaders against
employees and ending up in a situation known as "status
uncertainty," according to Prof. Grant.
Extraverted leaders may feel like
their "status is being threatened. They
might say, ‘I’m supposed to be in charge here. Let me reassert my authority.’
But the introverted leader … is likely to quietly process the ideas that
come up. That leader is worrying less about the ego or image implications of
employees taking charge and introducing ideas," according to Prof. Grant.
neither the introverted leaders nor the extraverted leaders showed higher productivity
or profitability than the other. The difference, Prof. Grant and his researchers
found, was in the pairing of leaders and employees.
Discussion Questions: Do extroverted or introverted people make better
leaders at retail? Is it different for brand sales and marketing? In what
situations does each type of person excel? How does management overcome any "power