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There are the extroverted leaders we all think of — from Martin Luther King Jr. to Virgin Group’s Richard Branson — and then there are those that fly under the radar, like the elusive founder of Beanie Babies.Clearly, both personality types can be successful leaders, they’re just suited better for different corporate environments.
According to Harvard Business Review, a 2010 study found that extroverted leaders can be more of a company liability, whereas introverts are better listeners and they’re open to more of their teams’ ideas.
Three professors at top business schools conducted the research and concluded that there is a definite need for introverted leaders in the corporate world, even more so if those leaders are surrounded by extroverted colleagues.
“Many people associate extroversion with action, assertiveness and dominance—characteristics that people believe to be necessary to be effective leaders,” one of the researchers says.
“Unfortunately, companies that promote only extroverts are natural breeding grounds for the aforementioned ineffectual situations in which extroverts report to extroverts…By fostering a work environment, where people feel free to speak up and be proactive, the organisation is creating the right place for introverted leaders to be successful,” HBR writes.
For more on this study, check out HBR >>
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