Introverted Leaders are the Best for Proactive Employees

By Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D.

My Google Alerts and equally alert friends were quick to inform me of some intriguing developments on the research scene. A new study on introverted leaders appeared in Harvard Business Review’s Dec. issue and takes a look at how introverted leaders fare with more “proactive” or extroverted followers. One key learning? They listen and process the ideas of an eager team. Extroverted leaders don’t do as well with other extroverts because they are too busy being outgoing and contributing ideas – leaving little time to act on them. Research was conducted in the research lab and in the field.

Francesca Gino ran the study along with professors Adam M. Grant of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and David A. Hofmann of UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. Their article, “Reversing the Extraverted Leadership Advantage: The Role of Employee Proactivity,” will appear in the Academy of Management Journal next year.


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