⚠️ WARNING, a brain dump coming.
Despite such great progress in personality theory and testing (e.g. big five, hexaco), it is unfortunate that we are still using dichotomous models (extrovert/introvert) to describe or, I would stay, classify people (including leaders) into categories. 🤦♂️
I guess, the reason behind the overuse of such classifications is their simplicity: you are either this or that, so why bother? However, just because the model is simple and easy to use, it does not mean that it is valid and reliable.
Still not convinced? If so, you should look at more complex versions of the model (e.g. Jungian, MBTI) which essentially suggest that extroverted/introverted are not people's personalities themselves but rather their personality functions.
Therefore, you get people who, let's say, are ENTJs. What is unique about them? Well, they have extroverted thinking (primary function), introverted intuition (2nd), extroverted sensing (3rd), and introverted feeling (4th).
Example 1️⃣: think of orators or business leaders (e.g. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs) who usually come up with ideas while talking out loud, e.g. speaking to others (therefore, extroverted thinking), and rely a lot on their intuition based on creativity (therefore, introverted intuition).
Or you get INTPs whose personality functions are ordered in the same sequence, but temperament is mirrored, i.e. thinking is introverted (1st), intuition is extroverted (2nd), etc.
Example 2️⃣: think of engineers and scientists (e.g. Albert Einstein) who are also very insightful, but they prefer thinking in private (therefore, introverted thinking) and using intuition based on observation (therefore, extroverted intuition).
If we go on, we will get at least 16 varieties of extroverts and introverts‼️ And to me, the model still does not do justice. Why? Because the model does not account for type variety.
For instance, two people who are considered ENTJ can demonstrate different degrees of extroverted thinking, despite that it is their primary function. Therefore, models such as big five are much more scientific and valid, as they are tested against huge population samples and provide percentiles of traits rather than categories.
Moral of if this thought dump: using only two types to classify people is fun, but too simplistic, unproductive, and, with all due respect to those who do not know better, super lazy, especially if we want to understand people rather than classify them.
Who is more effective as a leader, introvert, or extrovert?
Organizational psychologist Adam Grant says his research shows that introverts and extroverts are equally effective as leaders, based on their companies' performance or teams.
Whether introverts/extroverts were more or less effective depended on the kind of employees they had. Extroverts are better leaders with reactive followers, people who are looking for direction from above. If I am an extroverted leader, I will fire you up, get excited, and you will be ready to follow the direction I have created.
Introverted leaders were more effective with proactive employees. If you have a whole team of people who bring their ideas and suggestions to the table, who are taking the initiative, extroverted leaders would feel threatened by that. They are like "don't steal my spotlight, I am in charge here". That has two negative effects: (i) they shut those people's ideas down, and (ii) they left their people demotivated.
Introverts were much more likely to listen. And make people feel valued and get better ideas to the table.
And we live in the world now where we need more proactivity from the employees. As the world is more dynamic and competitive, as a leader, you cannot see everything what is happening or going to happen.
Given that proactive employees are more important than ever before, introvert leaders are going to be more effective in the future.
Agree or disagree?