Teams which talk more aren’t necessarily sharing useful information and are not therefore getting better outcomes. And more introverted types will feel entitled to think “I told you so“, because what you talk about is more important for teams than how much you talk.
The researchers also found that teams communicate better when they are told to come up with a correct or best solution rather than a consensus.
This is yet another report which shows teams aren’t always as effective as people believe.
A report in the Quack Quack column – “We debunk the myths behind the headlines” – in The Times – cited research from the University of Arizona, reported in Psychological Science, which shows that the more people engage in superficial communication, the lower their morale.
This followed criticism of the report that you could measure the happiness levels of celebrities by analysing their tweets, some not very convincing research from the University of Edinburgh!
So like many things in life it’s the quality, not the quantity, that is important.
Originally posted on SGANDA
They tend to be the centre of attention and take over discussions and are perceived as more effective by both supervisors and subordinates.
In the US only 50% of the population is extraverted, despite what you might believe about Americans, but 96% of managers and executives display extraverted personalities (the percentages showing high levels of extraversion increase from 30% of supervisors to 60% at executive level).
But people can learn extravert behaviours. In fact I remember some research which showed that when introverts were taught extraverted behaviour they could behave in more extravert ways than natural extraverts. And most managers have to learn to stand up and deliver presentations and run meetings.
However work by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Harvard Business School, and North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, shows that in some situations an introvert may be a better leader than an extravert without having to change their behaviours.
It seems that in a dynamic, unpredictable environment introverts are often more effective, particularly if they have proactive workers on the their teams who are prepared to put forward suggestions to improve the business.
This type of behaviour can make extraverted leaders feel threatened (I think especially so if the leaders are narcissistic). Whereas introverted leaders are more likely to listen carefully and show more receptivity thus making them effective leaders of more vocal teams.
Putting extraverted bosses in charge of talkative teams isn’t a good recipe. Extraverts seem to do better as bosses of teams that perform best when they do as they are told!
To succeed as leaders introverts have to overcome a strong cultural bias as in America at least two out of three senior executives viewed introversion as a barrier in a 2006 survey. And in politics highly extraverted Presidents are seen as more effective.
Source: HBR December 2010
Their brains respond and react with positive emotions but smiling has no impact on negative people, introverts, or those more neurotic.
The more extraverted you are, the more you allow yourself to be infected by the other person’s smile.
People make judgements based on your appearance in 1/10 of a second or less, to know whether or not they like you or think you are trustworthy. But after a couple of seconds they are distracted by what you say or do anyway.
Research by UK psychologists for Comic Relief in 2003 found big variations in the way people responded to smiles. In Edinburgh only 4% responded but in Bristol 70% smiled back (Birmingham was 31%). NB Smiling responses probably depend on the setting and the context.
Women smile more than men but it is discounted more as it is expected. 30 years ago researchers thought it was because of status differences between men and women but it may be more about relieving anxiety. Generally men only smile to be sociable.
Smiling is good for you as it lowers your heart rate and improves you immune system eg happier people resist catching colds better than unhappy people.
Cultural differences need to be taken into account too eg in former Soviet Union countries the older generation tend not to smile at strangers, even in shops and customer service settings (Russia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Lithuania).
There is also a cost to smiling when you are required to do it for your job. Emotional Labour, the so-called “have a nice day syndrome”, is the cost of appearing happy and reasonable no matter how you really feel. Having to fake it for your job eg in medical settings, teaching and call centres, can make you feel exhausted, detached from other people and your own feelings, and can eventually lead to job dissatisfaction. If you want to see how good you are at detecting fake smiles go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/surveys/smiles/index.shtml
Regulating empathy in this way is taking management control a step further than requiring staff to behave in certain ways. “You can’t force people to smile, they have to be satisfied with their lives, their jobs and their performance” said the HR Manager at IKEA, Russia.
There are things organisations could do:
- Recruit extroverts who are generally more optimistic and positive
- Give people who aren’t, role models to emulate (introverts can learn how to behave in extrovert ways)
- Help people to get into positive moods through visualisation or by remembering positive events
- Give people satisfying jobs to do!
If you need an incentive to smile it also looks like people who smile may live longer. http://bps-research-digest.blogspot.com/2010/06/say-cheese-big-smilers-in-photos-are.html
It seems dimples are in fashion (influenced by Cheryl Cole) and a “dimpleplasty” operation – cutting a hole in your cheek and stitching it to your muscles – is now all the rage. The problem is that, unlike real dimples which disappear when you stop smiling, your grin is permanent and as Carol Midgley in the Times magazine says, it might be awkward having a permanent grin when your neighbour tells you the dog has just died.
First posted 2010