introvert

It’s good to talk – or is it?

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P1010013An analysis of over 20 years research into team effectiveness revealed that talkative teams are less effective (Journal of Applied Psychology Vol 94 No 2, 2009).

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

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Quietly does it sometimes (Introvert Leadership)

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stick_figure_drawing_people_leader_1600_wht_5133Extraverts may have a natural advantage in leadership roles because they are dominant and outgoing.

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

My most read posts in 2014

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Screen Shot 2012-10-05 at 22.49.07My output on this blog was pretty paltry last year as I was busy writing elsewhere and tweeting (probably too much!)

However the number of countries in which my lists were read more than doubled to 85 countries, mainly the USA, the UK, and Brazil but also in Suriname, Belize, Lebanon, Qatar, Algeria, Sri Lanka, the Faroe Islands and China. So thank you for such an international interest.

For what it’s worth the most read posts on this blog in 2014 were:

  1. Thinking outside the box – literally
  2. MBTI typies – for the believers
  3. Empathetic introverts make the best carers
  4. Learning to become an optimist
  5. Using social media impacts on academic performance
  6. Mentally challenging jobs are good for you
  7. Can scientists really change your memories
  8. Were the Victorians really smarter than us?
  9. Your partner’s personality adds value
  10. End of the road for Positive Psychology at work? jointly with Gender differences in responding to stress

Empathetic Introverts make the best Carers

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female_nurse_1600_wht_9033According to the MacIntyre charity, cited by Camilla Cavendish, the Times journalist who has just published a review of healthcare support workers.

The charity, which provides services for 1,000 adults and children, has created detailed psychological profiles of care workers.

The best ones, the “naturals”, are:

  • empathetic introverts,
  • good listeners,
  • reflective, and
  • wanting to work within clear rules
  • in structured environments.

Click here for more information and a quiz for you to check out if that kind of work is right for you.

Recruiting people with emotional intelligence and the right values would be a good start. Companies like Nokia have been recruiting for values and attitudes for decades taking the view that they can train people in the technical stuff quite easily.

6c-logoThe Chief Nursing Officer’s vision Compassion in Practice (the 6 Cs) highlights the importance of care and compassion.

One of the 6 Cs is courage and it’s interesting that McIntyre found that the best carers, being introverts, were not very gregarious but would stand up for the people they cared for.

There is also some good research which shows that people with introvert preferences can be more effective leaders than extraverted types.

And you may have heard of Susan Cain, best-selling author of “Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking” (2012).

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