Do you feel extroverts create better CEOs? Salespeople? Marketers?
If this is the case, you have a lot of business. Most men and women feel an outgoing personality are crucial for leadership positions and jobs requiring great communication abilities.
Sixty-five percent of senior directors reported that introversion is an impediment to increasing the career ladder in corporate America, according to a survey by theladders.com.
But be careful.
Biases aside, if you employ people, here is what you ought to know: if stacked against each other in a wide array of places, introverts perform equally well--if not better-- more than extroverts.
Look in Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Elon Musk, along with Steve Wozniak. All hugely successful leaders. All introverts.
A ten-year study to ascertain the differentiating features of high-performing CEOs demonstrated that introversion and extroversion played a small part in the executive operation. Discussing their study in the Harvard Business Review, the writers wrote:
"Our findings contested many widely-held assumptions. By way of instance, our analysis demonstrated that while Boards frequently gravitate toward magnetic extroverts, introverts are somewhat more likely to surpass the expectations of their investors and boards."
The attributes which distinguish top CEOs, the study demonstrated, include decisiveness in the face of rival perspectives; vested focus on creating value; adaptability in the face of new info and drawbacks; and reliability from producing outcomes.
Importantly, traits related to introversion--such as good listening skills and the willingness to stand alone and make an unpopular choice --correspond to the requirements of direction compared to some traits associated with extroversion: like the requirement to be liked or spontaneously expressing emotions.
Naturally, there are plenty of successful extroverts. And introverted executives occasionally need to learn new skills and behaviors to excel in leadership positions.
Early in his management career, a CEO that I worked would go off on his own to analyze an issue and discover a solution, with no engaging the others in the business --a classic introvert behavior. When he introduced his job, he was amazed that his careful evaluation and ideal answer generated little excitement among his coworkers.
The CEO-to-be heard that he had to engage individuals early on and listen to their ideas before presenting a strategy or solution to a broader group. By generating involvement initially, he discovered he could construct more help and improve execution on the back end.
As an executive recruiter that frequently places salespeople, I can attest that the fantasy that salespeople have to be exceptionally outgoing and gregarious continues to persist--despite persuasive evidence that it just is not true.
An analysis of 35 research, encompassing almost 4,000 salespeople, determined that there's virtually no correlation between extroversion and sales achievement.
A separate study, aptly titled Rethinking the Extraverted Revenue Ideal, rated software salespeople to a scale of 1-to-7, together with 7 being extroverted. Extreme introverts and extreme extroverts performed relatively poorly, while the greatest performers were directly in the center of the range--meaning they exhibited a blend of extroverted and introverted behaviors.
The problem with extreme extroverts, according to the study's author, Adam Grant, is that they don't listen carefully to customers and they often dominate conversations using their particular perspectives and ideas--leaving customers cautious and careful about being manipulated.
By comparison, Grant lasted, sales representatives who hit a balance between introversion and extroversion are far better at understanding their clients' requirements and so are assertive and enthusiastic enough to convince and shut.
Technological tendencies are still moving us further away from your backslapping, joke telling salesman stereotype that many of us grew up.
Years back, sales reps had to perform much more cold calling than now, a requirement that favored extroverts because they prospered in social interaction and dealt better with rejection. Today, with phone blocking and no-call lists which makes it harder to achieve decision makers and sales reps often must rely on well-researched and well-crafted messages to engage clients.
In addition, in a wide range of markets, customers increasingly need customized products and solutions to fulfill their precise requirements --again, a development that favors sales reps who listen, study efficiently and require a much more consultative approach.
The good news to all this is you need not exclude half of the people when you are hiring--if it's a sales rep, a CEO or any other place.
Quiet people often produce the loudest performance.