Another answer from our quiz last month.
#2 Introverted leaders achieve high performance levels with extroverted employees. The Answer? True
A study published in the Academy of Management and summarized here revealed that introverts make highly effective leaders, especially with extroverted employees. Why? Because they listen! One of the study’s authors, Professor Adam Grant of the Wharton Business School said, “Introverted leaders…..are more likely to listen carefully to suggestions and support employees’ efforts to be proactive.”
I have found this in my own work with introverted bosses. Their patience, calm demeanor and thoughtful presence set the stage for the talkers in the crowd to think their ideas out loud. Adam, a manager I coached told me that he gives his team a “think break” in the middle of meetings to give the extroverts a bit of down time to really consider their ideas. He says that winging it doesn’t always yield the best results and he sees great power in the pause. The result? More well crafted ideas.
Fast Company’s cover story on March 16th addresses Google’s Larry Page and his introversion. Staff writer, FARHAD MANJOO writes:
“With its new CEO an introvert, perhaps Google will never tap its inner Apple. But maybe, in the bigger picture, that’s a trade-off worth making. Page is not a CEO out of central casting, despite the fact that Wall Street and the media tend to prefer extroverts as leaders: the superhero who puffs out his chest and delivers bold, motivating pronouncements. “
The piece also mentions the new research coming out by the Harvard/Wharton/UNC team that we have cited here before. The Gino, Grant and Hofman team found Introverted leaders to be more effective in listening and creating dialogue with their teams. It also makes the case that introverts do well when they integrate some extroverted people and approaches into the mix.
An example: “The hallmarks of Google culture, including the weekly TGIF sessions where Page and Brin take questions from employees, are precisely about creating dialogue. Even if the company relies less on 20% time for unfettered product development, Page’s personal style is likely to keep new ideas flowing…. As the success of the Bing sting indicates, Page seems to be listening to his extroverts in embracing a bolder public profile — not for himself, but for Google.”
It will be interesting to track Larry Page’s career with this I-E perspective in mind.