This Is the Perfect Amount of Extroversion for the Workplace

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Read enough articles about extroversion and introversion and you may become convinced that extroverts and introverts are different species. While it's true that society tends to privilege extraverted behavior, such as being outgoing and group-oriented, these days we're also more aware of the benefits of choosing solitude and quiet. Workplace hierarchies still largely expect extroverted leaders, but new research has some thoughts about when to step on the brakes.


A new study from a team at Ohio State University has figured out the point at which your boss gets overwhelming. Essentially, there's a sweet spot in which a leader's assertiveness and warmth helped them be better liked and more sought after for advice. More assertive managers are seen as pushy; warmer and they're overwhelming or exhausting for their team.

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If you think you might be on the higher end of the scale on either of those factors, there's one scenario that keeps you liked as a boss. If you put a lot of energy into looking out for others' welfare, you're engaging in prosocial behavior, which tends to make your colleagues more forgiving if you're high-energy. It's the same impulse that makes us enjoy giving gifts more than receiving them.


Being extroverted or introverted is a value-neutral property, and neither category rules out any particular behaviors or preferences. If you're looking to be a good boss, though, it's worth examining your leadership style, how it helps your team and whether in some cases, less can be much, much more.