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Introverts: The Best Leaders for Proactive Employee

| November 9, 2010

by Jim Bruce

Today’s reading, “Introverts:  The best Leaders for Proactive Employees“, is a piece by Carmen Nobel that appeared in a recent issue of the HBS Working Knowledge newsletter.  The article reports on the research of Francesca Gino, associate professor in the negotiations, organizations, and markets unit at the Harvard Business School.

The key takeaway from Professor Gino’s research is that introverts actually can be better leaders than extroverts, especially when their employees are naturally proactive.  The piece lists three key concepts:

1.  Extroverted leaders can be a liability if the followers are extroverts.  This is because the extroverted leader tends not to be receptive to employees who make suggestions and take initiative.

2.  Introverted leaders are more likely to listen to, process, and implement the ideas of an eager team.

3.  Leaders need to adapt their style depending on the type of group they are leading.  If the team members are proactive, the leader needs to be receptive to the team members’ ideas.  If the team members are more passive, leaders need to act more demonstratively and set a clear direction.

Take a few moments and evaluate your style and that of your team.  Do you interact with them in the manner that is likely to yield the best results?  Perhaps you need to adjust your style with your team or with some of the team members.


Have a great week.  .  .  .     jim