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Home » Leadership, Teams

Do Introverts or Extraverts make better Leaders?

Submitted by on Thursday, 25 November 2010No Comment

In our Personality Factor training programme, we are often asked whether Introverts or Extraverts make more effective team leaders.

Extraverts are born naturally more outgoing and communicative, but can at times be too domineering. Introverts are born more reserved and quiet, however they can be better listeners and also more observant.

So which of the two types make better leaders?

This study by Wharton Business School attempted to answer that very question. The answer? It depends on the types of the team constituents.

Proactive vs. Reactive

The difference, the study found, was down to the proactivity of the work team.

If the work team was naturally proactive, Introvert managers would be more effective, the Wharton study of 130 pizza franchise stores found.

In this case, Extravert managers may even be less effective as their style would promote more conflicts – leading to reduced profitability.

However, where the work team was not naturally proactive, extraverts would have the edge as their more directive style of management would bring enhanced results.

‘These proactive behaviors are especially important in a dynamic and uncertain economy, but because extraverted leaders like to be the center of attention, they tend to be threatened by employee proactivity,’ Professor Grant who led the study notes. ‘Introverted leaders, on the other hand, are more likely to listen carefully to suggestions and support employees’ efforts to be proactive.’

The solution?

The solution then? When forming simple work teams, be aware of the natural proactivity of your group.

If you’re an extravert and the group is proactive, resist directing them and focus on encouragement and praise.

If you’re an introvert and your group is not proactive, focus on communicating more, and giving direction. Then follow up with praise.

These and other tips of course are part of the learning in our exciting, one-day programme Personality Factor

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