The Extroverted Leader

What do you think about when you hear the word “extrovert”? Gregarious, tenacious, adventurous, entertaining, funny? Ninety percent (90%) of leaders are extroverts. The list of extroverted leaders is endless and too populated to include a small list here.

Do extroverts enjoy more success? Do they have more fun? There are many worldwide research studies that delineate the differences between extroverts and introverts including but not limited to the obvious strengths and weaknesses, major characteristics, behaviors, etc.

Key Personality Traits of an Extrovert

I’m sure you’ve known a few extroverts personally. They must be out in front, on stage, surrounded by people. They are uncomfortable with silence, have little need to be alone and hit the ground running when they wake up in the morning.

They’d rather be outside with a crowd than indoors reading a book. They are naturally attracted to a scene, and to be “seen”. Some say extroverts are natural born leaders.

Let’s focus on the key personality traits of extroverts.

The University of Toronto Scarborough did a study that found that extroverts have an advantage over introverts in four (4) categories: emotional, interpersonal, motivational and performance related. Michael Wilmot, the academic who led the study argues that extroversion is linked with a greater motivation to achieve positive results.

The study supports the concept that happy employees enjoy work that is productive and tend to be goal oriented. Extroverts tend to act faster and predominantly with a positive attitude. Positive attitudes tend to help people lead happier lives.

It’s also well understood that a positive attitude goes a long way towards achieving goals as an individual and for a company. It also makes for a pleasant work environment.

People with positive attitudes tend to be chosen first as team members. Extroverts with positive attitudes can manage stress effectively.

These personality traits seem to be incredibly attractive especially if you are looking for an executive to lead your company, team, or organization. But are extroverts always the best choice as a leader?

The Dark Side of being an Extrovert

All these personality traits are great attributes for a leader. But behaviors are equally as important to consider as the personality of an extrovert when choosing a leader.

What if an extrovert has no moral compass? What if the extrovert is a narcissistic, misogynist who only wants to lead so they can dominate others for the singular goal of enriching themselves?

Extroverts experience challenges to their success as leaders just as introverts do but the challenges are of course different than the challenges faced by introverts. Extroverts can dominate, squash, or alienate others if their personalities are too strong.

They can intimidate instead of persuade or run over instead of influence others. This behavior can cause an extrovert to fail if it’s not kept in check. In other words, being an extrovert does not equate automatically to great leadership. For some situations, there is no advantage to being an extrovert.

Extroverts can dominate, intimidate, manipulate, and exhibit strong desires to control every situation.

Success as an Extroverted Leader

All these personality traits give the perception that extroverts are more successful or perform at a higher level. Extroverts tend to be adaptive to changing social conditions and have a skill for persuasion.

Most extroverts discover that it’s beneficial to reign in their enthusiasm to ensure that they don’t overwhelm their peers, staff, family, and friends. They also tend to seek out introverts as team members or co-leaders because of their skill sets of listening, detailed thought processes involving many scenarios and a commitment to risk management for the greater good for the greatest number (ethics).

Success in choosing the right personality and behavior of a leader, at the right time.

Read the room. Make sure that you assess the person you are hiring for the job. Ensure they have not only the personality that aligns well with the tasks at hand, but also exhibit the behaviors necessary to achieve the desired results.

Remember, our personalities may be formed before we are teenagers, but our behaviors can adapt to the ever-changing culture and scenarios around us.

Match the person who can lead to the company culture and plans. Change now happens much more rapidly than in the 1990s. Therefore, company cultures have adapted by using contract executives or fractional services to move their enterprises through a specific growth stage.

The growth stages that require different leader’s (skills) are the startup phase, the client development or marketing stage for product and services development, the operational stage to build infrastructure and inventory and the growth stage to scale the company exponentially.

Each phase of a company requires a different leader. Keep your eyes open for the signals that it’s time to change leaders. Executives are prepared for this evolution in the 2020s. It not unusual in the 2020s to have more than one chief executive officer, or a C Suite of executives to move a company forward. It’s also not unusual to have executives recommend their colleagues or peers to replace them when the time comes for a directional change in a growth strategy.

It more of the “passing the baton” than ousting the old executive leader to bring in a new fresh look.

After all the resources invested in growing a company the last thing you want to do is disrupt the success achieved by the current culture and trajectory that the company is on for continued improvement and achieving the desired end results.

With a focus on the impact that personality traits and the effectiveness of the realization that you can modify your behaviour(s) to match the desired results, this knowledge puts you in control of your destiny.

You can honor your inherent moral compass, your intentions to do good and to tow the line and at the same time change your behaviour(s) to build a great team who help you achieve your desired end results, but more importantly understanding that a leader who builds a successful goal-oriented team has the ultimate advantage over other leaders.

They become a great leader.

Until next time, I’m Nevine Neill and this is the NBPeople blog. .