Let’s start with a quote from Francesca Gino in Harvard Business School which really encapsulates the theme behind this post and our post on introversion:
“Team leaders who are extroverted can be highly effective leaders when the members of their team are dutiful followers looking for guidance from above. Extroverts bring the vision, assertiveness, energy, and networks necessary to give them direction. By contrast, when team members are proactive — and take the initiative to introduce changes, champion new visions, and promote better strategies — it is introverted leaders who have the advantage”
This quote perfectly highlights the need for companies to balance their hiring towards both introverts and extroverts. In this post, we'll be focusing on extroverted candidates who are typically favoured in the hiring process. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hire them all together but rather to be aware of the advantages of extroverted team members, so we can fill gaps in our team with introverts as well.
Here are a few key reasons you should keep a healthy influx of extroverts into your team or company, AND a few things you need to be weary of.
Love being in a team
Extroverts are culture setters. They quickly integrate into a new team environment and proactively engage with defining team culture.
Although extroverts are particularly attracted to the idea of leadership, they also love having a unique role on the team because it gives them the opportunity to put their skills to work, show off a little, and interact with others. Don’t underestimate their ability to work independently, even if they need slightly more guidance at first. Once directed, they will produce positive results as long as there is a strong feedback loop.
Traditional business and business people seldom took risks. The general dogma that what is not broken should not be fixed, alongside fear of the unknown, led to an emphasis on caution in the workplace.
Today, this isn’t true. With the rise of high growth startups and high risk high reward case studies, the willingness to take (calculated) risks is now a fundamental component to many successful businesses. Extroverts are more likely to understand this risk reward concept, and be willing to accept some failures to catapult their own personal growth.
In many professions, networking can be a crucial part of being effective at your job (and upwards mobility in your career. Extroverts are perfectly equipped to network and understand its benefits.
It could be argued that while extroverts are excellent at talking to people and developing their web of contacts, those relationships are superficial. This isn’t always the case. While introverts might be able to form deep, meaningful relationships, their willingness to do so isn’t necessarily there and it often takes a lot of time. Extroverts, on the other hand, have a willingness to speak with others so, theoretically, the opportunity to create more meaningful relationships presents itself more frequently—and the more meaningful and rich relationships you have, the better your career development will be.
Speak their mind
Most extroverts love to talk and that means they love to speak their mind.
You might instantly see this as a negative attribute in a positive team culture but under a controlled setting, this can be quite useful. Compared to introverts, extroverts speak more abstractly as well. This can be incredibly beneficial when talking to prospective and established clients as it’s often perceived as both personable and relatable. But their talkative nature isn’t just for closing deals! Because they love and thrive on communication, extroverts can liven up any company culture.
Fast movers (but need recognition)
Not to be outdone by introverts, extroverts have a few tricks up their sleeve. For example, a recent study suggests that extroverts can learn and apply new languages faster than introverts. Learning a new language, let alone using it (or having the confidence to use it, despite the potential for failure and embarrassment), isn’t easy. As a beneficial consequence of their personality, extroverts have a willingness to get out there and try something new, even if there is a risk of failure. They are willing to stick it out and learn something beneficial for their development.
For this reason, hiring an extrovert means your new hire will be willing to learn quickly and apply new information, which in turns means you’re going to spend less time looking over your shoulders.
However this comes with an important caveat. As can be seen in the graph above, extroverts desire recognition more than introverts. Even if they are faster, they will want management to recognise and reward this, or their motivation may quickly subside. The extrovert need for immediate gratification is a particularly modern desire, and can be positive for your team if managed correctly. Many clients also want instant gratification which can be a good match for an extroverted team member who is willing to do what it takes to please the client in a short space of time.