Introversion/Extroversion's role in leadership ability

  • Thread starter Dembadon
  • Start date

How much influence does Introversion/Extroversion have on one's leadership ability?

  • Introversion/Extroversion plays a significant role in leadership ability

    Votes: 2 22.2%
  • Introversion/Extroversion plays a moderate role in leadership ability

    Votes: 3 33.3%
  • Introversion/Extroversion plays a nominal role in leadership ability

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Introversion/Extroversion plays no role in leadership ability

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • It depends on the employees

    Votes: 5 55.6%
  • It depends on the project

    Votes: 3 33.3%
  • It depends on the company

    Votes: 2 22.2%

  • Total voters
    9
  • #1
Dembadon
Gold Member
633
89
Here is an article I read in The Atlantic this morning:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/hire-introverts/9041/

Hire Introverts

By SUSAN CAIN

“Hire good people and leave them alone.”

So declared William McKnight, who was 3M’s unassuming CEO during the 1930s and ’40s, and who encouraged employees to spend 15 percent of their time noodling on their own pet projects. (The policy survives to this day at 3M, and gave birth to the Post-it note, among other innovations.)

McKnight’s philosophy anticipated one of the most intriguing breakthroughs in recent leadership theory. According to a team of researchers led by the Wharton management professor Adam Grant, introverted leaders typically deliver better outcomes than extroverts, because they’re more likely to let proactive employees run with their ideas. Extroverted leaders, who like to be at the center of attention, may feel threatened by employees who take too much initiative (but do outperform introverts when managing less proactive workers who rely on their leader for inspiration).

Grant’s research echoes other findings on the power of introverts. They’re persistent—give them a difficult puzzle to solve, and they’ll analyze it before diving in, then work at it diligently. (“It’s not that I’m so smart,” said Einstein. “It’s that I stay with problems longer.”) And they’re careful risk-takers: less likely to get into car accidents, participate in extreme sports—or place outsize financial bets. (Warren Buffett is a self-described introvert who attributes his success to his temperament.)

Introverts are also comfortable with solitude—a crucial spur to creativity. When the psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist studied the lives of the most-creative people across a variety of fields, they almost always found visionaries who were introverted enough to spend large chunks of time alone.

Management literature is full of advice for introverted leaders on how to be more extroverted, says Grant: Smile more! Practice your public speaking! But extroverts might take a page from their introverted peers, too—by hiring good people and leaving them alone.

How do you feel about this article? Personally, I think it depends on the project and those being managed.

Edit: I forgot to add that I believe Introversion/Extroversion plays a moderate role in leadership ability, with the caveats I've mentioned.
 
Last edited:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
412
4
When you take "too much initiative", it might require involvement of other teams etc. Your supervisor need to be supportive and proactive enough to help with dealing outside people. I believe "introvert people" might not be capable of supporting you. That being said I disagree with:
Extroverted leaders, who like to be at the center of attention, may feel threatened by employees who take too much initiative
That being said I don't believe too much in Introversion/Extroversion. I often see so many articles on the internet related to how introverts should be treated with the respect.

P.S. On separate note, does introversion also refers to passiveness i.e. is the article trying to say passive leaders can be good also?
 
  • #3
2,126
0
From what I've read on the subject, which admittedly isn't much, what really matters for leadership is how good you are with people. What people tend to admire is a leader who is skilled with reconciling and avoiding conflict, but willing to stand up for what they believe in if they think it is important. If you don't have those qualities whether you are introverted or extroverted might not matter much.
 
  • #4
Dembadon
Gold Member
633
89
When you take "too much initiative", it might require involvement of other teams etc. Your supervisor need to be supportive and proactive enough to help with dealing outside people. I believe "introvert people" might not be capable of supporting you. That being said I disagree with:

That being said I don't believe too much in Introversion/Extroversion. I often see so many articles on the internet related to how introverts should be treated with the respect.

P.S. On separate note, does introversion also refers to passiveness i.e. is the article trying to say passive leaders can be good also?

Hi rootX, even though the article isn't very precise with its claims, it does seem to suggest that introverts are the more passive of the two. It claims such a style is effective when managing people who don't need constant inspiration.
 
  • #5
6,362
1,283
Hi rootX, even though the article isn't very precise with its claims, it does seem to suggest that introverts are the more passive of the two. It claims such a style is effective when managing people who don't need constant inspiration.
I'm in the middle of reading A Beautiful Mind. They're at the part where Nash worked for Rand. The Rand leader's policy was exactly what this article describes: hire good people then leave them alone. The layout of the offices and such was, however, designed to "maximize chance meetings" in the hallways.
 

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