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    Effective Leaders: Introverts vs Extroverts

    There is a common belief in business that extroverted leaders are much more successful in business life. Probably, this idea has raised by the examples of historical political leaders who developed their countries with a dictatorship-like management. Leadership characteristic requirements may change in different situations and also they are time-varying.

    Scholars have spent more than a century seeking to understand the characteristics of effective leaders (Zaccaro, 2007). Research by Grant et al. (2011) challenges the general assumption and tries to examine leadership behavior relation to group performance. In their study, researchers have found that, in some situations introverted leaders can be more effective than the extroverted leaders.

    Grant and his colleagues found a simple relationship between the leadership behavior and group performance. When employees are not proactive, extroverted managers are more successful. When employees are proactive, introverted managers are more successful. In a conflict case, such as proactive employee-extroverted manager or non proactive employee-introverted manager, profits are down. Making wrong pairs can hurt company’s effectiveness and cause fail in business.

    The t-shirt challenge experiment clearly shows that each management style is equally effective. Therefore, the general assumption about extroverted leadership is wrong. But this conclusion also brings another question: If both management styles are effective, which one is better?

    Extroverted leaders generally want to keep their authority status and may think employees’ proactive suggestion as a threat. When their status is threatened, extroverted leaders may be “willing to engage in conflict and to use defensive and/or non-constructive tactics with others” (Ames & Flynn, 2007: 309). Managers should be good listeners and open to every idea. This has became much more important after the Y-Generation got into the business field. Employees don't want to take orders; instead, they are looking for to follow somebody’s lead. This is just because they are well aware of that they are gonna be a manager also someday.

    As a conclusion, based on the academic studies, market success requires introverted leaders who listen and shoulder responsibility with the employees. What is your opinion about effective leadership style? What kind of a manager you'd like to have in your company? You can share your comments below!


    Analyzing Effective Leaders: Why extraverts are not always the most successful bosses (2010). Retrieved from

    Zaccaro, S. J. (2007). Trait-based perspectives of leadership. American Psychologist, 62, 6–16.

    Grant, A.M., Gino, F., Hofmann, D.A., (2011). Reversing the extraverted leadership advantage: the rol of employee proactivity. Academy of Management Journal, 54-3, 528-550.

    Ames, D. R., & Flynn, F. J. (2007). What breaks a leader: the curvilinear association between assertiveness and leadership. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 307–324.

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