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9 Reasons CEOs Should Hire Introverts, Not Extroverts

NOTE FROM PATTY: I'm an "extroverted introvert" personally. I'm loving this article that makes a positive case for the value of hiring introverts at high levels in business!


If I were to ask a hundred CEOs to define their ideal employee, I think I'd probably hear something like:

Somebody who's creative, reliable, takes feedback well, is easily motivated, handles deadlines well, works well with others (collaborates), and is well spoken and ethical.

Well, it turns out that, according to decades of academic research, introverts are more likely than extroverts to have those characteristics:

1. Introverts are generally more creative.

Introverts are famously more creative than extroverts. According to the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills, "Creativity is a problem-solving response by intelligent, very active, highly emotional, and extremely introverted persons."

2. Introverts are more consistently creative.

Two studies of creativity among college undergraduates revealed that while extroverts are more creative when they're in a good mood, introverts remain creative even when they're in a bad mood.

3. Introverts take feedback better.

A study of how introverts and extroverts react to positive, negative, and neutral feedback revealed that, after the feedback was provided, "Introverts performed better than extroverts regardless of feedback condition."

4. Introverts are more easily motivated.

An article in the Journal of Educational Psychology explained that "repeated praise increased the work output of introverts significantly higher than that of introverts who were blamed or extroverts who were praised."

5. Introverts handle deadlines better.

According to research at the University of Maryland, when presented with a hard deadline, extroverts are more likely than introverts to "freeze up," while introverts are more likely than extroverts to plan ahead by using "early information in forming judgments."

6. Introverts are more collaborative.

A study of group discussions among students showed that extroverts started more arguments than introverts, while "the more introverted students worked with one another collaboratively to develop creative solutions."

7. Introverts tend to think before they speak.

Extroverts tend to speak very rapidly--hence the stereotype of the fast-talking (and therefore untrustworthy) salesperson. Introverts talk at a more normal pace, according to an article in the Journal of Personality.

8. Introverts use less biz-blab.

A study at the University of Amsterdam showed that extroverts tend to talk in vague abstractions (biz-blab being the worst example of same), while introverts tend to use concrete examples.

9. Introverts are much less likely to sabotage your firm.

Extroverts are more likely than introverts to indulge in "workplace deviance," the "intentional desire to cause harm to an organization," according to an article in Applied Psychology.

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