Why Introverts Beat Extroverts in the Corporate World?

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It might surprise you to know that, the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg is a classic example of an introvert.

Time has come when personality of an individual has started to matter a lot to work in a workplace. It plays a central role in building and cultivating relationships in the corporate world. This is why psychometric tests have become the very essence of the selection process of employing people in various companies.

One of the most important features of personality, as great psychoanalysts and psychologists Carl Jung and Hans Eysenck suggest is extroversion and introversion, i.e. the extreme ends of a spectrum of personality traits. There are a countless number of definitions to these extreme points. However, to give a basic idea, extroversion refers to a behavior of an individual who is easygoing in nature, loud and gets along with people easily while introversion or introverts are the people who are reserved and shy in nature and usually loves to spend time alone.

How one shows love, chooses friends or resolves issues- these actions and reactions of extroverts and introverts are sometimes perceived as their characteristics and are further used to answers questions such as ‘Who is a good leader?’, ‘Who is a better risk-taker?’, ‘Who is likely to work comfortably and successfully in a group?’ and more.

However, these qualities cannot necessarily be judged by one’s personality’s characteristics. This is because answers to these questions are hidden in the remote corners of our nervous systems. There are various myths misleading people in defining these personality traits. For example, introverts are shy and therefore they cannot be good leaders or extroverts are outspoken and hence they are good at teamwork. However, these explanations are incomplete. Many findings make it evident that introverts perform better than extroverts in a work setting. To know more, read ahead!

Who is a better trader?

Being careful and a risk taker are both very important in the business world. A little less or more of either of them might result in failing to be a perfect trader. Extroversion characterizes reward sensitivity, i.e. the tendency to seek rewards. This is due to the Dopamine Effect. Dopamine is a chemical released in the brain that provides the motivation to seek external rewards such as earning money, attracting a mate or getting selected for a high profile at work.

When Dopamine enters the brain, an individual becomes alert to the surroundings, more chatty and motivated to take risks. In the light of introversion and extroversion, it’s not that introverts have less amount of dopamine present in their brains than extroverts do. In fact, both introverts and extroverts have the same amount of dopamine available. The difference is in the activity of the dopamine reward network. It is more active in the brains of extroverts than in the brains of introverts. This is one way in which these two can be differentiated.

So if you’re an extrovert, you’ll be highly motivated to seek rewards- from money to enjoyment with friends. Reward Sensitivity on one hand, prompts us to take challenges and make impossible things happen while on the other hand it can get people into all kinds of trouble. For example, taking outsized risks, winning big in stock markets and ignoring obvious warnings.

Introverts are more likely to pay attention to warning signals and hence be more successful at regulating their feelings of desire or excitement. This is why an introvert proves to be a better trader than an extrovert.

Who is better at decision making?

From Human Resource to Operations and to Marketing, decision making process constitutes the core of every department. Personality is very closely linked with decision making as shown in the picture below. In simpler terms, extroverts have their decision making process very simplified while introverts take a complex route.

Introverts are known for their sophisticated decision making. They take calculated risks. There are many reasons to it. Firstly as stated above, due to the Dopamine effect and their low reward sensitivity, introverts are more likely to pay attention to warning signals and therefore take decisions accordingly. Secondly, they often compare their new and old experiences which lead to a slow but a well thought decision making. Finally, they have a long neural pathway than extroverts have for processing stimuli. This means while they’re processing any information they can experience their feelings and thoughts at the same time which leads to a refined decision making.

Who is better at networking?

It is quite obvious to presume that extroverts are better networker than introverts. Although, in terms of quantity it is true but in terms of quality it is false. An extrovert will definitely have larger groups and more Facebook friends than an introvert but in true terms of networking, it doesn’t count. Networking is about the diversity and quality of relationship one builds and not the number of contacts of people one has. Studies have shown that extroverts elicit negative emotions in others and have slightly difficult relationships with their teammates (due to their dominating behavior). Although introverts due to their shy nature are hesitant to talk to strangers but they are better networkers than extroverts.

Conclusion:

Stereotypes do not only exist at the social and the political level but also at an individual level in terms of personality. For example, myths like ‘Extroverts are better networkers than Introverts’ are an evidence of how presumptions have taken over the qualities of extroverts and introverts. This is how we build boundaries, create misconceptions about people and judge them by their personality traits. There is much more to understand about individuals and personalities. Researches and studies make it evident that introverts do perform better than extroverts in a work environment.  This is why today the list of successful CEOs is filled with introverts. So dear introverts, stop underestimating and gear up to rule over the corporate world!

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Author:
Ranu Jain | LinkedIn