In a recent study, researchers assessed the advantages an extrovert at work experiences, compared to introverts.
What is the difference between extroverts and introverts? Extroverts tend to be viewed as sociable, outgoing, and leaders. Introverts tend to be viewed as reserved, calm, and observant.
Extraversion and introversion in the workplace is a frequently studied topic. An extrovert at work can easily be mistaken as more approachable and much friendlier than an introverted colleague. Due to this, previous studies have shown that extroverts have an advantage in the workplace. Often overlooked are the benefits introverts bring to the workplace: great listening and analytical skills, and an excellent ability to remain concentrated.
What main traits benefit an extrovert at work?
In a study published by the Journal of Applied Psychology, researchers reviewed prior studies focused on extraversion at work.
According to the study, the main advantages an extrovert experiences at work are motivational advantage, emotional advantage, interpersonal advantage, and performance advantage. Extroverts tend to have a motivational advantage – this is due to being highly drawn to rewards at work, and the desire to reach a specific social status and degree of success. The emotional advantage comes from having a positive emotional state, appearing happy with life and working with a positive attitude. The interpersonal advantage is associated with great leadership and communicative abilities. The performance advantage is due to the desire to receive awards and recognition, similar to the motivational advantage. Overall, the extroverted traits that appear most beneficial are assertiveness, dominance, enthusiasm, and positivity.
Too much of a good thing?
Although the advantages are present, this study highlighted that being too extroverted at work can definitely be a disadvantage, and this may depend on the specific career. The researchers note that extraversion should not be looked at as the only personality trait headed for success.
What about introverts?
Although introversion could be viewed as a limitation, the researchers point out that an introvert can be as successful as an extrovert at work. It is noted that introverts are also highly driven and successful. “… numerous examples could be given of introverts who perform masterfully and achieve greatly. Perhaps the key insight from the evidence here is that the success of introverts is likely not due to their introversion, but rather to relevant expertise, abilities, or other attributes.” (pg 16).
Written by Laura Laroche, HBASc, Medical Writer
Wilmot, Michael P., et al. “Extraversion Advantages at Work: A Quantitative Review and Synthesis of the Meta-Analytic Evidence” Journal of Applied Psychology. 2019. 1-25. Online.
Extroverts enjoy four key advantages according to science; here they are. 2019, https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-05/uot-eef052919.php, assessed 30 May 2019.
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