S2E18 – Leadership Beyond Extroversion

Show Notes

Both conventional wisdom and widespread anecdotes point to the conclusion that extroverts make better leaders. But is there any evidence of this, or is this another belief with little basis in fact?

In this episode, Andy and Mon-Chaio examine the misconceptions around introversion and extroversion and dive into the research around the relationship between extroversion and leadership acumen. They then shift the conversation to the practical implications of these findings for engineering organizations, discussing how leaders, regardless of their place on the extroversion spectrum, can leverage their innate strengths to build and maintain high-performing teams.



Mon-Chaio: Thank you for joining Andy and me for another episode of The TTL Podcast. Today, we will be talking about extroversion and specifically about whether extroverts make better leaders.

Andy: All right. Should we start out with what are we talking about? Because I’ve heard these words bandied around. I, for a long time, worked with a definition that I’ve, from the research of this, realized was wrong.

Mon-Chaio: Mm hmm.

Andy: And maybe we should just start with what extroversion and introversion are.

Mon-Chaio: That is our style, right? Let’s ground ourselves in the right definition so we know what we’re talking about.

Andy: So I’ll start with the definition that I had that was wrong. And I can understand where it came from, but it’s not quite right. So the definition I worked from for a while on extroversion and introversion was that introverts gain energy from being alone in their own thoughts. And extroverts gain energy from being around others, social situations, and having that stimulus from others. That’s how they gain energy.

That was what I worked with as the distinction for a while. It’s close, but not quite. I think what we found, Mon-Chaio, does that fit with your understanding of what we found?

Mon-Chaio: I don’t know. I think It’s very difficult to have a very clear definition of extroversion versus introversion. I think there’s a lot of different ways to think about it, and I think all of them are close. So, I’d be curious to see what you found and whether it materially changes the way that we talk about the topic. I can start off real briefly. I found two definitions. One, I think, is the classic one from Jung.

Andy: Yep.

Mon-Chaio: I believe he was the first one to propose this concept of extroversion versus introversion. He described extroverts as oriented toward the outside world, and introverts as oriented towards their inner subjective experiences. So, a little different than the one you used to be working from, and the one that actually, I’ll admit, I worked from a lot.

And then I also found another definition that was introverts are someone who prefer quiet, minimally stimulating environments and possess a contemplative, independent temperament, whereas extroverts need a more stimulating environment and they thrive in social situations and enjoy thinking aloud.

Introverts prefer quiet concentration and listening more than talking.

Andy: Right. That definition and the Jung definition are more correct. They’re the ones actually used in the research.

Mon-Chaio: Okay, okay.

Andy: But there’s an important distinction between what I had worked with and those.

Mon-Chaio: Hmm.

Andy: And that important distinction is it’s not about where they get their energy.

Mon-Chaio: Okay.

Andy: It is what they turn to, what is their general tendency in how they interact with stimulus from the outside world.

Mon-Chaio: Hmm. To me, at first blush, it doesn’t seem all that different. So I’d be curious to hear why you think there’s this distinction between getting energy versus preference for stimulus.

Andy: So the getting energy, that would say that after a social situation, I just need rest and recover

Mon-Chaio: Hmm.

Andy: if I’m an introvert. That would then imply that an extrovert does not need to rest and recover after a social situation because they got energy from that.

Mon-Chaio: Ah ha. Okay.

Andy: Or, that an extrovert would find it very draining to not be in a social situation.

Mon-Chaio: Mm

Andy: And in that thinking, it’s like they would need to be in a social situation after that in order to get their energy levels back up.

Mon-Chaio: I see. So it’s more like that battery thing. If they’re running on empty, you better plug them into a social situation. Otherwise, they’re just gonna sit there like a lump.

Andy: They’re just going to start shutting down. If you don’t get that salesperson out in that social situation with their customers, they’re just going to turn off. Like they won’t be to operate anymore. And that’s wrong. That’s not right. It’s that tendency that they look towards the outside world or they look towards their inside world.

Mon-Chaio: Got it. Okay. I can see that. Okay, yeah, you’re right. There is a nuanced distinction there. But I can see how that energy thing, makes us think about things in a slightly wrong way.

Andy: I think it becomes really important when we get to the tactics of if you’re an introvert, what kind of tactics do you have? Because it adds an amount of agency to the situation. It’s not like we’re asking the introverts to go out and drain themselves every single day.

Mon-Chaio: Mm hmm.

Andy: It’s that it will possibly be a bit more difficult, but we’ll be asking them to do things that are not quite their tendency. Just like the extroverts, we may end up asking them to do things that aren’t quite their tendency.

Mon-Chaio: Right, right. Well, that makes sense. And I’m curious, I wonder where that definition that you started from, and honestly that I have heard and worked with for a while as well, where that came from? Because it didn’t really come up, at least in my research reading.

Andy: Yeah, it was nowhere in the research, so I have no idea where it came from.

Mon-Chaio: Like we often talk about, it was probably some blog that said it and then people just took it as truth and ran with it, right? But I think it’s a little bit dangerous for us to talk about it in this way, because for the most part, I tend to feel like, based on the research, extroversion and introversion are fairly well known topics. They’ve been around for a long time. They’ve been studied for a long time. And unlike a lot of what we talk about, there’s not very much controversy about the fact that, A, there is extroversion versus introversion and, B, that we pretty much know how to measure it for the most part. Would you agree?

Andy: Oh, yeah. Yeah. So when I first did my searches, I was coming up with articles from 1921, and probably even a little bit before. And they already had a pretty clear idea of what they were talking about. And then the more recent stuff, everything was based off of this survey called the Big Five …

Mon-Chaio: Mm

Andy: … which is used in a lot of research. It comes up all over the place and it came up constantly in this, is the Big Five, one of the factors, one of the five, is extroversion.

Mon-Chaio: Yep.

Andy: And the Big Five, for anyone who doesn’t know what it is, it’s this survey that gives you reading on each of these five traits of your personality. Those traits are neuroticism, extroversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.

Mon-Chaio: Mm hmm.

Andy: And so that is the instrument that ends up being pretty much the definition used for extroversion in all of the research. You can take the Big Five survey yourself, and there you’ll get a clearer idea of what is extroversion. And what is introversion, because, it’s giving you a scale on that.

Mon-Chaio: That’s right. And that gets to the next part, which is extraversion and introversion are pretty well defined. We can measure it. And we’ve heard a lot, anecdotally at least, around how extroverts make better leaders. So, I think the question now is, is that true? Or is that somebody’s blog post that went viral but didn’t have any backing behind it.

Andy: Yeah. I’ve taken a few of these surveys. I took the Big Five at one point, I don’t remember. But as part of this, I took a test. I am apparently very strongly an introvert. And so I was very sad when I looked at the research. Apparently I shouldn’t be a leader because leaders and managers are better when they’re extroverts.

Mon-Chaio: And that is exactly what I found too. And I will say that I also probably lean towards the introverted side, although I’m closer to probably 50/50. The one that I remember the most is taking the Myers-Briggs test, and I ended up as a weak “I” on the Myers-Briggs test. But, yes, the research I think is pretty clear.

And we have mentioned that there’s a lot of research behind this. In fact, there’s so much research that one paper that I read, was a meta study of meta studies, right? They didn’t even want to talk about a meta study of studies because there were so many So that’s how much research is out there around this concept of introversion, extroversion versus work performance, school performance, leadership performance, et cetera, et cetera.

There is a lot of research out there and it is clear. Extroverts make better leaders.

Andy: Yep. And similarly, I found a meta study and it wasn’t just extroverts make better leaders. It was of the Big Five, extroversion was the dominant factor.

Mon-Chaio: For leadership performance.

Andy: For leadership performance, yes.

Mon-Chaio: Well, Andy, That’s it, right? I mean, this is the shortest episode ever that the two of us actually speak in. Because it’s true. Extroverts make better leaders. So, what else is there to talk about?

Andy: Well, it is kind of a downer, especially for our industry. Maybe that’s what the answer for our previous episode should have been. Oh, not the one with Squirrel, the one before that, the one where we asked why are there so many bad leaders. Oh, it’s because we’re all introverts.

Mon-Chaio: That’s right.

Andy: But I think where we can take this is … at least this is the way I want to think about it. The way I want to think about it is that the extroversion and introversion is a tendency of how you want to interact with stimulus from the outside world. It is not a definition of how you behave. It is not like these ironclad rules of when I take the Big Five test, and it says that I am mostly introverted. It does not say that, well, because of that, I cannot be gregarious, and I cannot be open to people in a conversation. Those are behaviors that I can do. And I think this might be where that energy thing comes from. They’re behaviors that I have to do a little bit more consciously, because it’s not my tendency.

Mon-Chaio: Mmm hmm. I agree with that. Your personality isn’t static. You can choose to change portions of it, and you can choose to change portions of it at different times. We talk a lot about how leadership is all about context. The one that I remember the most recently is around leadership styles. You change your leadership style based on context. And we talked about preference there too. You may prefer to be a democratic leader, but perhaps the context at the time for you to get the most effective performance out of your organization requires you to be an autocratic leader.

There are very few people that are so far leaned toward the introversion side of the spectrum that it’s probably difficult, if not impossible, for them to come far enough on the extroversion side of the spectrum to be able to show these behaviors that we associate with good leadership. But I would say again for most people, they’re probably able to make meaningful roads in the extroversion direction should they so choose.

Andy: Yeah. and I think that brings up an important point, which is that the numbers that I saw thrown around about this, are that if you look at this as a spectrum, if you look at this as a probability distribution of humans and introversion and extroversion, in the sections that we would call introverted, you have probably about 16 percent of the population. In the section that you would call extroverted, we have about 16 percent of the population. Which means that everyone else, the majority of the population, sits somewhere in between. And those, they get called ambiverts because they can kind of move themselves around on where they are. Not only are they somewhere in the middle, but they actually have the option to move their behavior, to change how they’re going to be working with the world at that point.

Mon-Chaio: So where do we take this now? Maybe we should move on to why is it that extraversion correlates so strongly with leadership potential and performance. Is that a good thing to touch on next?

Andy: Yeah, let’s get into that. And that also, I think, gets us into one thing that I think commonly we associate with extroverts that is a detriment.

Mon-Chaio: Hmm! We’lll definitely want touch on that.

So there’s a pretty standard way that you can define extroversion and you can talk about the primary traits and the secondary traits of extroversion. When you look at the primary traits of extroversion, a few that I want to touch on are motivation, emotional, and interpersonal. And I want to talk about how those differ from extroverts to introverts.

The motivation aspect that correlates strongly with extroversion is this idea that you are always seeking to improve your lot in life. You’re always seeking to have newer answers. You’re motivated by recognized success. That sort of a thing. The emotional advantage, one of the big ones tends to be the extroverts are more positive. We talk about them being gregarious, but it’s not about that, it’s that generally they tend to have a more positive outlook, and they tend to present more positive emotion. And the interpersonal one, I think we know about this idea of being able to talk to others, steer others, that also aligns strongly with extroversion.

So if we talk about those three, and there are, I think, three more or two more. I can’t quite remember. I’d have to look back at the research. We can see that the motivation advantage that extroverts have allows them to be more open to change. The research has shown it helps them help others and it helps them influence others. When you influence others, you’re seen as the person that influences others.

Andy: hmm.

Mon-Chaio: That helps them feel like they have more status.

The emotional advantage that extroverts have contributes to effective social interactions. Right? So we have the motivational advantage which contributes to the influence of others to achieve goals. And then you have the emotional advantage of effective social interactions. And there’s a lot of research that shows, again, this idea of positive affect or positive emotion being strongly related to better team performance and better performance.

Andy: Yep.

Mon-Chaio: And so extroverts as leaders use that to their advantage to help their groups feel better. And then lastly, the interpersonal advantage allows greater skill in interacting and leading others. So, you can already see that three of these traits that correlate very strongly with extroversion also correlate very strongly with leadership.

There are also some secondary traits that come out of it. And the secondary traits for extroversion are things like assertiveness, enthusiasm, activity, dominance, sociability and then positive emotions. And you can see that some of them are tied into the primary traits. And research has also shown that those correlate from fairly strongly, to weakly strongly, with things like leadership effectiveness, or overall leadership, or transformational leadership, or leadership member exchange, and then an inverse relationship with positive emotions and abusive supervisor perception. So I think that is where the research is pretty clear about why extroverts tend to make better leaders.

Andy: Right. Okay. Yeah, I can absolutely see this is what we look for in leaders: that they’ll keep people upbeat, that they’ll believe that a change is possible and want to do it, and that they will pull people together

Mon-Chaio: Right! And beyond what we look for in leaders, this is what we reward. If I look at the research and then I can pull up any number of performance rubrics for end of the year performance evaluations, and pulling people together, clear one that I see across a number of different leadership performance metrics.

Andy: Now there is also one more, which I think is a little bit more like, hmm, you sometimes want it, sometimes you don’t. Dominance is another extrovert characteristic.

Mon-Chaio: Mm hmm.

Andy: Which I believe is kind of like this tendency to dominate, to overpower others.

Mon-Chaio: Right, take charge of a situation. Right.

Andy: And sometimes you want that, and sometimes you don’t.

Mon-Chaio: Mm hmm.

Andy: And in fact, if you have an extroverted leader who’s very dominant, and a group of introverted followers, the introverted followers may not get much say in that if they’re over dominated.

Mon-Chaio: Right. And interestingly enough, there’s a small research paper that makes sense in my mind, but there’s not a lot of … I don’t think it’s been replicated and I haven’t seen anybody else research this topic. So sample size is a problem here. But there’s a small research paper that shows because of that dominant trait in extroverts, they tend to be better when they are leading groups where the people in the group are not surfacing their own ideas regularly

Andy: Mm.

Mon-Chaio: And extroverts tend to drive group performance better in those groups … positive driver towards group performance However, when extroverts drive or lead a group where people are surfacing a bunch of different ideas and they’re very invested in surfacing those ideas, the paper showed that those groups performed worse than if an introvert led those groups.

The introvert would listen more to the group’s ideas instead of dominating and would bring up those ideas more and that allowed the group to perform better. Again, to me, that feels reasonable, but the sample size problem is something that I’m cautious about, because it was just one very, very small, I think it was like 137 pizza chains was the first research, and then just like 28 students in the second one, and it was both by the same research group.

Andy: Right. Now, we’ve got all of the different aspects of extroversion. Now the thing that I was gonna bring up, which is I think often associated with extroverts, in some ways, some of us at perceive this, uh, is neuroticism. So neuroticism is an independent aspect from extroversion. And neuroticism is connected to the idea of low self esteem, but it’s negatively correlated with leadership. A neurotic extrovert, and I’ve worked with some, is a bad leader. The extroversion is not just on its own going to make them a good leader. The neuroticism works against it. And in fact, in one of the meta studies I found, basically cancelled it out.

Mon-Chaio: Interesting. And on the topic of neuroticism and self esteem, I did read a small paper from the Philippines that tried to figure out whether extroverts or introverts had higher self esteem. And again, one paper. But what they found was that there was no difference, essentially.

Which is a little counterintuitive, I think, for a lot of people that think, well, extroverts generally think a lot of themselves. They’re out there, they’re presenting, right? But according to this paper, in the end, they have no difference, but how they arrived there was different, where I think extroverts have to, when they have low self esteem, it’s more difficult to raise it, or something like that.

I didn’t get into it because I kind of skimmed the paper, and I was like, ah, this isn’t really what I want to talk about.

Andy: Not, not quite relevant to what we’re doing.

Mon-Chaio: Right, but their conclusion was there’s no difference in the self esteem between extroverts and introverts.

Andy: OK, well, that’s actually good to know. So my preconceived notion was wrong. I’m just learning a lot of stuff on this one that I was just wrong.

Mon-Chaio: Well, and again, right, small sample size out of the Philippines, which is a different culture. We talk about how culture can influence a lot of this type of stuff as well.

Andy: One of the papers I found was studying tech companies in China.

Mon-Chaio: Mm

Andy: I thought, well, maybe that’ll be different. It did not sound any different. it sounded the exact same as the Western studies, that they found extroverts seem to perform better. Now they did come up with a caveat on that though, saying that an extroverted leader is likely to be challenged by change and so would perform well in like a highly changing environment.

So like an early startup or something where it’s like unknown and we’re just going to try to do this thing. But at other phases of a company, introverted leaders may be much better. Which kind of makes sense if you want a much more deliberative approach, like you’ve hit more of that town planner stage.

Mon-Chaio: Mm hmm.

Andy: Introverted leader, someone who is explicitly modeling and showing like more of this, like, we’re going to be thoughtful, we’re going to think about this, we’re going to take action based on that. That could be a much better leadership model at that point. But they’re not going to be the big flashy leader.

They’re not going to be the ones that you think of them as standing up in front of everyone. They’re going to be much quieter. They’re going to kind of just run the organization.

Mon-Chaio: And I think that gets into the perception part. So much of what we hear about, in tech and with leaders, is around the startup world. Even the largest companies in the space position themselves as startups.

Andy: Everyone’s a startup! Even if you’ve been going 20 years, you’re a startup!

Mon-Chaio: Right. And if you think about Microsoft, when they were viewed dully by the marketplace, it was because they were old and stodgy. But now they’re a startup again. So we reward that, right? And there’s that perception of that’s how tech companies should be. They’re the trailblazers. They’re the move fast and break things, regardless of their actual size.

And so, you’re right, those good introverted leaders in the context which makes them good, those aren’t rewarded or viewed as positively.

Andy: All right, so with that. Should we talk about some tactics? Some things that as an extrovert you could do to work better in those situations, or as an introvert you can do to flex in that direction. Or as most of us are, as ambiverts, what kinds of different tactics, different approaches can we take on at various times?

Mon-Chaio: I think the first thing that comes to mind for me is that there is a lot of research to draw from and we do know why extroverts tend to perform better at leadership. We also know that those aren’t locked-in personality traits. Those are changeable and they’re changeable based on context. So, I think for more introverted folks, it’s important to internalize that and to understand what makes extroverts good leaders. And to look for situations, as well as opportunities, for you to demonstrate those traits as well.

I’ll use an example that we’ve already touched on today, this concept of enthusiasm and positive emotions. We know that that correlates very strongly with how a leader is perceived as well as how a team performs. So as an introvert who’s not generally predisposed to be as gregarious, think about how you might present more positive emotions to your organization. Think about how you might present more enthusiasm to your organization. More and more often, right? These are not things that you cannot do. These are things that you just have to be more aware of because it just doesn’t come naturally.

So is it that you spend some reflection time every week? Is it that you schedule some calendar space called enthusiasm or whatnot so that you can plan on saying, okay, have I been as enthusiastic and as positive as I needed to be this week? What am I going to do next week? to do that, right? That intentionality around that. And I think that flows to all of the other traits, including dominance, including assertiveness, including activity.

Andy: I really like that tactic of schedule some time and make it intentional. Kind of have a checklist of here are a few questions I’m going to ask myself. Have I been expressing enthusiasm for what we’re doing? Have I exerted dominance, when appropriate, for the past week? All of those things.

I was gonna add on to the one about enthusiasm. A useful technique that I’ve found for more one on one things, so a very specific of thing that you can do with an individual. You can do it in group settings. Takes a bit more skill. It’s a little bit harder, but you can still do it in group settings.

Which is, especially if you’re working with a group of introverts, a group of naysayers. Ones that want to kind of pick it apart and say, well, but it’s kind of more like that than this. Working on finding alternative narratives, alternative ways that get us to think about it, where this is a positive rather than a negative.

Mon-Chaio: Mm

Andy: And that can get you, as an introvert, you’re now doing more of an intellectual exercise. Which is, I think, where a lot of introverted people, we’re much more comfortable with kind of these intellectual exercises. And some of that gregariousness, that kind of, like, being enthusiastic feels false. And I would say lean into it. Think about it as, as we talked about in a prior episode, you’re telling a story. It’s a story that is somewhat fictional, but it is true. And it’s about why we are enthusiastic about this, and find ways to do that, find ways to bring it out.

And that can help you build up that story so that when you then are doing your checklist, you know, like, was I enthusiastic? How could I be more enthusiastic? You’re like, well, actually with Jane in our one-on-one, I worked out a story that actually seems real and I think is a bit enthusiastic. So I’m going to just tell that story more. I’m going to be enthusiastic about that story.

Mon-Chaio: I like that. I like that you brought up the storytelling again. I like that you brought up this framing concept again. Those are threads that flow through a lot of leadership and I think they’re very, very relevant here.

Piggybacking off of that is the importance of telling yourself the story around your introversion and its effect on the perception of your leadership. So, it is absolutely true, as we know, that extroversion correlates highly with better leaders. But the story you tell yourself about how introverted you are and what you are able to do because of your introversion is another way to get past that, right? You are not fixed. And so if you’re telling yourself a story around a fixed mindset, well, I’m introverted. I hate to go to social events. I’m just never going to be as good as X. Or, this is why my leader never sees me. I’m not visible to my leader. Reframe that story. Reframe that story about not only one, where your introversion helps you, perhaps in a specific situation where deep thinking was required and you help lead an organization, but also rethink the story about how introverted you really are.

You are not just introverted. “Okay, well I prefer not to go to these events, but I can still see my sociability trait rise by …” something that’s not going to those events.

Andy: So I was kind of emceeing an event of new software developers. And we were talking about how do you get a job and, and all of that. And my answer and others answers was, well, most of this comes down to networking, about knowing people. You might get a job off of LinkedIn or off of Indeed. But really, your best jobs are going to come from knowing people. So that means you need to go out there, you need to talk to others, you need to network a bit. And the question came up, but I’m an introvert. I don’t know how to do that. And the answer was, well, as an introvert, you can still do this.

It just takes getting out there and doing something. It doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy, but it’s not necessarily easier for an extrovert either.

Mon-Chaio: Right.

Andy: And I think that’s one of the things to keep in mind, is just because an introvert struggles at it doesn’t mean an extrovert doesn’t. One of the techniques I’ve told people before, is in networking, you don’t really need to talk a lot. You just need to listen. And every once in a while, you need to just acknowledge what you’ve heard. And that gets you in people’s minds. Especially if they really feel heard. that’s not an extroverted thing. Listening, really deeply listening and understanding it, actually I think is a pretty introverted thing.

Mon-Chaio: That’s a very introverted thing. Yep. Yeah, specifically on that, I think the introverted side of me at networking always has problems approaching people. You’ve had that issue, right, where you’re speaking in a group and then it breaks off.

Andy: Yep.

Mon-Chaio: And you look and everybody else already seems to be in a group.

Andy: And you’re like, now what do I do?

Mon-Chaio: Now what do I do? So I think exactly that, like analyze the situation and say, okay, well that’s the problem I have. But when I’m in a group, then I can listen deeply and ask questions. So I just have to get over that. And that feels like a much smaller hurdle then to say, well I have to get over that. And then I have to ask a lot of questions. And I have to be super positive or gregarious. And then I have to come up with a unique point of view, right? So, look for the areas in which you can utilize your introvertedness and then the areas in which you can work to be better.

Um, I wonder if we should touch briefly on tactics for extroverts.

Andy: Hmm.

Mon-Chaio: And tactics for extroverted leaders because, as we know, most leaders are gonna be extroverts, especially senior leaders. There’s a graph I saw where once you’re a C-suite, something like 85% are extroverts.

Andy: I think I saw something like that. It’s just the abstract as I was scrolling through papers. I saw something about that. Yeah.

Mon-Chaio: So maybe we can give some tactics on what those folks can do to promote introverts that are going to be very successful leaders and not overlook them and give them opportunity Because, look, this one podcast and the people that listen, we’re not going to change the entire world. It’s not like you’re going to have a tactic where all of a sudden you’re changing how the entire world views leadership and extroversion is no longer as important, but in our little corner of the world, can we make it a little bit more equitable?

Do we have some tactics for that?

Andy: Yeah. I would say, and some of them I think are going to just be kind of like checks on your default thinking. I’m going to assume that as a leader, you’re looking at another person and you’re saying like, should I consider them a good leader or not? One check is how much are you associating their good leadership with their kind of like outward affect, their way of approaching things, their extroversion?

Is it that you have created this assumption that a good leader is an extrovert. They have to have that kind of like outward going, dominant approach. Or is it that they have particular, esteem from the teams that they’re on, or from the people that they’ve already led? Which side is it?

I think quite often it’s easy to just go with the default of the extroverted appearing person is the better leader.

Mon-Chaio: And I think that’s mine as well, is to confront your biases. In one of the papers that I read, they talked about extroversion’s relationship to supervisor rating of overall job performance. And while it didn’t meet the top percentiles that they would say correlated strongly, it still was a generalized positive relationship with extroversion.

Now, that is problematic. Right? To say that extroversion relates positively to supervisor rating of overall job performance. And so, I don’t know that I have a specific tactic other than be aware that this exists. Be aware of the traits that we’ve talked about that may cause you to view somebody that’s extroverted as better at their job. And confront your biases and be aware of your biases.

Andy: So, assuming that you’ve done that, and now you’re looking at a few introverts and thinking like, oh, some of those might be good leaders.

Mon-Chaio: Mm

Andy: Given what we’ve just talked about, now you have a little bit of a task of, are they coachable? Are they changeable? Because as we were talking about, yes, you don’t want to be biased by it, but those behaviors do help.

And they help for very valid reasons. So the question is, can they be coached on those behaviors? Can you take this person who, in fact, they might even get a superpower if you can coach them on it, because now they can choose what behavior is right at which time.

Mon-Chaio: Right.

Andy: So maybe you’ve got an introverted leader who’s showing some promise, but they’re often very kind of like, downbeat about things. They don’t have that enthusiasm. They’re fairly negative about the prospects of this project that they’re working on. Are they coachable on that? Can you work on them with this idea of can we get a different narrative? And if they can do that, and if they can understand why they’re doing it, and when to use that, and when to use the more downer narrative, Now you’ve got someone who not only is coached and is coachable, but now has the choice about which approach they use based on what actually needs to happen, which is going to be much better than that person who was just an extrovert you just assumed was doing wonderfully because they were always positive and everything was going well.

And then at the point when they actually do need to use a more downbeat narrative, they don’t know how to do it because you never thought about coaching them.

Mon-Chaio: Hmm. And Andy, given what we know in small sample sizes around this concept that introverts can perform as leaders better in places where maybe they’re not looking to make drastic change, is there something we can do with introverts setting them up for success while coaching them?

Andy: Well, I think you just said it, which is pay attention to the situation that they’ll be going into. You can bring them into a situation where their immediate skill set is very useful, and coach them for, as that changes, or as you want to bring them into a different part of the organization, or a different role. Look at not only who they are, but also what you need. Do you need someone who is very dominant? Or do you need someone who actually more tries to pull people out of their shells? Who’s more interested in, I want others to think, and I want to think with them.

Mon-Chaio: So I think we have some bad news in the episode, but hopefully our tactics also give everybody some good news around how even introverts or ambiverts can really become successful leaders. And that’s what we like to do here, right? Coach, help people, regardless of what their predisposition is, to teach them new skills and help them find new ways of unleashing themselves and unleashing their possibilities.

So I think that is today’s episode. If you’ve enjoyed the episode please give us a like or subscribe or thumbs up. Or comment on any of the platforms that we’re on. We would love to chat with folks as well, if you agree or disagree or have ideas for episodes that you would like us to do. You can reach us at hosts@thettlpodcast.com.

I also want to mention that Andy and I both help both individuals and companies with this sort of stuff. So if you’re an individual that is introverted and is saying I’m feeling like that’s holding me back, what can I do to become a better leader? Or if you’re a company that says, hey, we feel like we have a lot of potential. But some of those folks aren’t quite getting action in the right way You can also reach Andy and I at that same email address and we’d be more than happy to help you, individual or company But until next time, be kind and stay curious


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