Extraversion vs. Introversion From a Leadership Standpoint

Recently I read an article by Ronald E. Riggio (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201210/why-can-t-introverts-be-leaders) about introversion vs. extroversion in leadership.  This article talks about the positive correlation between extraversion and leadership.  There is also a small correlation between effectiveness of a leader and extraversion.  I found this a little bit disheartening, considering the fact that I am quite introverted, but as I read further I regained confidence when the article began to discuss how effective introverts can be as leaders.  Some successful introverted leaders have included Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Abraham Lincoln, and Gandhi.  These are in fact some of the strongest leaders.  What do you think, are extraverts more inclined to be leaders?

This article also talks about what appears to be the “critical factor” of a leader regardless of extraversion or introversion.  According to Psychology Today’s research the critical factors are good interpersonal skills.  Psychology Today found that when adding in the factor of good interpersonal skills, the extraversion advantage disappears.  This article states that, “Good interpersonal skills are critical whether the leader is an extravert or an introvert.”

This article talks about how extraverts sometimes come across as more suitable leaders, because they interact well with others and speak well and just fit the stereotype of a leader better than introverts tend to.  Do you agree with this?  I think that as long as you have the skills needed to relate well to other people, being extraverted or introverted is irrelevant.

4 Responses to “Extraversion vs. Introversion From a Leadership Standpoint”

  1.   llawson Says:

    I like the question you pose at the end of the first paragraph: are extraverts more inclined to be leaders? Yes, certainly. Extraverts, in my opinion, are much more likely to speak up and take on a leadership role. Going back to your references to Abraham Lincoln, Bill Gates, and several other well-known introverted leaders, it is also certainly possible for introverts to take on leadership and be quite successful – it is just slightly less likely for them to take that first step up into leadership. I think this is also why we see so many great introverted leaders. It takes a great passion and desire to get past the trepidation and take action, meaning that these introverted leaders have a great passion for what they are doing and are sure to invest themselves fully in the work they are doing. In addition, introverted leaders can more easily separate out unnecessary social interaction (though some is certainly needed) and get straight to the work at hand. However, leaders in all forms certainly have their unique advantages and work together in order to serve all sorts of needs. It certainly takes all types of leaders to get all types of work done.

  2.   mfuerst Says:

    I read an article in TIME a few months ago about introverted vs. extroverted people. One of the key points I remember is that each has its advantages and disadvantages, and one type might be better at certain jobs than the other. With this in mind, I think that it depends on the leadership task if one is a better at leading than the other.

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