When someone says the word "leader" we think of a very confident, outspoken, and outgoing person. In other words, the person who stands up in front of the class with little to no anxiety, or the person who does not hesitate to speak their mind in a discussion. When someone says the word leader we think: extrovert. However, psychology professor at the Amherst University Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne warns us in her article "Why Introverts Make Great Leaders - Sometimes," not to let their (extroverts) vibrating personality fool us. In regards to picking a leader, Dr. Whitbourne states,
It turns out that your best choice of a leader is more likely to be the quiet and
reticent person who takes a back seat in public discussions. Researchers are
finding that introverts make better leaders than extroverts for one simple reason:
they're more likely to listen and pay attention to what other people are saying.
In other words, perhaps some extroverts have the tendency to be overly concerned with hearing their own voice that they forget to listen to others, when in reality, the concept of listening is essential in group dynamics. Based on multiple observations and research of both him and others regarding personality qualities of effective leaders, University of Pennsylvania psychologist Adam Grant suggests that "leadership by extroverts may come at significant costs." The essence of Grant's argument is simply that extroverted group leaders tend to fail to adhere to the suggestions and concerns of their group members. Such a shortcoming, Dr. Whitbourne writes, "may fail to maximize your group's actual productivity."
In conclusion, Dr. Whitbourne offers suggestions on how one could apply this to one's life:
1. If you're an extrovert, calm down. You may be more sociable and outgoing, but it is important to recognize the more you take control you increase the probability of running down the morale of your group.
2. If you're an extrovert, learn to listen. Listening is key to overall group function and production. You may have valuable things to say, but don't be afraid to open up to the value of the multiple resources surrounding you.
Overall, when choosing a quality leader, it is important to keep in mind the balance between all members of the group.
"Why Introverts Make Great Leaders--Sometimes." Psychology Today. Web. 20 Nov. 2011.