Introverts or Extroverts…

BossesIn the US, it’s always seemed like the answer was “extrovert.”  Being social is lauded and most people seem skeptical of all that skulking about that introverts do. There’s no doubt research has shown a number of advantages to being a people person…. What about more social areas of expertise, like leadership? It definitely gets more complex. Extroverts are better leaders of passive employees, introverts shine with proactive workers: …although extroverted leadership enhances group performance when employees are passive, this effect reverses when employees are proactive, because extroverted leaders are less receptive to proactivity. SOURCE:  Introverts or Extroverts: Here’s Which One Has It Better | TIME.

The extrovert vs introvert thing has frequently been a topic of conversation in our society. As the beginning of the quote above says the answer to which is better in the U.S. has always been extrovert but is it really. Being a basic introvert and NOT a type “A” male I have a different view of things.

For the sake of this post lets concentrate on the last part of the quote above. That is about introvert/extroverts in leadership positions.

I spent thirty years in the corporate world and was exposed to several bosses in both of these categories. I had bosses who would  look over my shoulder at everything I did to make sure it was done as they wanted it. I was only the “grunt” to do what they couldn’t physically do themselves. I had one boss who would demand elaborate memorandums about the project I was working on. When I submitted the document he proceeded to change every sentence in it! I was tortured by those kind of bosses much more than I care to discuss.

And then there were some bosses who would give me a task and then go away and let me solve it my own way. It is not that they didn’t want me to report on my progress but they didn’t get involved in the details. I don’t know about you but for me it was a pleasure to work for this group of bosses. Because it was a pleasure I took extra pains to make sure everything was right the first time. With the old bosses I would intentionally leave somethings undone so they would have something to complain about.

When I became a boss I had a very loyal group of enthusiastic workers who I let use “their” creativity to solve the problems at hand. We were a happy group who actually had fun doing our jobs. My job was to support them in any way that I could. Their job was to creatively solve the problems at hand. I was an introvert who was not into taking credit for others work. I gave credit where it was due.

One of the problems today is that there are too many bosses who demand loyalty instead of earning it and when you do give them any sense of loyalty they will take your work as a means for advancing their own careers. Let’s face it due to the prevalence of extrovert type A bosses in the U.S. going to work is a drudgery for too many of us. It is the primary reason too many workers are passive….


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