Introvert and Extroverts: What’s myth and What’s Reality?

by | Mar 1, 2014

In his article “5 Myths about introverts and Extroverts at Work, Adam Grant challenges  the beliefs of  introverts and extroverts. He says its time to debunk the following five myths:

Myth 1: “Extroverts get energy from social interaction, whereas introverts get energy from privately reflecting on their thoughts and feelings.”

Extensive research, claims Grant, shows this is false. He maintains:

  • Introverts spend about the same amount of time with other people as extroverts, and enjoy it just as much.
  • When people are randomly assigned to act extroverted or introverted, extroverts and introverts alike experience greater energy when they talk more.
  • Extroverts report the most energy when they’re being talkative and assertive—but so do introverts. This is true when people rate their energy during 45 different hours over two weeks or weekly for ten weeks: the energizing hours and weeks for all of us are those that involve more active social interaction, regardless of whether we’re working, reading, eating, or partying.

 Myth 2: Introverts are plagued by public speaking anxiety

In one study, people rated how anxious they would feel in various public speaking situations. Introverts did anticipate more anxiety than extraverts, but 84% of public speaking anxiety was completely unrelated to introversion-extraversion. Bigger factors were whether they tended to be anxious people in general, thought the audience was kind versus hostile, and feared they would bomb the particular speech.

Myth 3: Extroverts are better leaders than introverts

Extroverts have the enthusiasm and assertiveness to get the best out of passive followers, but they hog the spotlight in ways that stifle the initiative of proactive followers, leaving them discouraged and missing out on their ideas.

Introverted leaders thrive by validating initiative and listening carefully to suggestions from below.

Myth 4: Extroverts are better networkers than introverts

It’s true that extroverts have larger networks—and more Facebook friends. It turns out, though, that great networking isn’t about quantity. In the job search, research shows that extroverts engage in more intense networking, but this doesn’t translate into more jobs.

Myth 5: Extroverts are better salespeople than introverts

Yet when Grant looked at the evidence, the average correlation between extroversion and sales performance was a whopping zero.

What do you think? Are these myths? Or fact?

Anna Chatburn

About Anna Chatburn

Marketing Director, The Strategy Group

Anna is driven by the belief that if organisations focus on making things better for their customers, they will retain and expand their customer-base. Anna enjoys communicating and sharing innovation expertise from The Strategy Group as it helps to transform the Australian business landscape.

An academic background in social sciences and experience working in the non-profit and education sectors underpin Anna’s interest in social and environmental innovation.

Anna has a passion for social enterprise, new technologies, sustainability, health and wellbeing. She lives in Bondi beach and loves walking the coastal path.

Anna has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Sociology from Loughborough University, UK.

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Marketing Director, The Strategy Group

Anna is driven by the belief that if organisations focus on making things better for their customers, they will retain and expand their customer-base. Anna enjoys communicating and sharing innovation expertise from The Strategy Group as it helps to transform the Australian business landscape.

An academic background in social sciences and experience working in the non-profit and education sectors underpin Anna’s interest in social and environmental innovation.

Anna has a passion for social enterprise, new technologies, sustainability, health and wellbeing. She lives in Bondi beach and loves walking the coastal path.

Anna has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Sociology from Loughborough University, UK.

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