- IMD Business School
News Stories · Leadership

Introverts or Extroverts – who makes a better colleague?

Karl Moore tackles the question at Orchestrating Winning Performance
June 2019

After 300 interviews with executives to understand the considerable leadership strengths of introverts, ambiverts and extroverts, IMD visiting Professor Karl Moore takes an Orchestrating Winning Performance (OWP) class through the subtleties of personalities this morning in the session Introverts, ambiverts and extroverts in the executive suite.

Introverts tend to recharge in quiet settings, think before speaking and avoid conflict.

Extroverts think out loud, are more comfortable with conflict, and enjoy multi- tasking.

CEO’s are famously extroverts. Confident, have an uncanny ability to fill the room, and are loud.

We tend to associate the quieter, meeker, to less powerful corporate positions.

But 50% of this aspect of your personality is already decided by your DNA. So inherently we are just “born this way,” says Moore.

However, the more senior you are in a corporate role, the more you need to ‘grow up’ which means you need to learn how to be the ‘other’. Given that an important factor in leadership is listening, an extrovert needs to learn how to listen, step back and slow down. An introvert, the opposite.

But then we have ambiverts. Modern society tends to create more of these due to the necessity to adapt in this changing world, especially in senior corporate leadership roles. The Professor takes the example of Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau who is essentially someone who prefers to relax quietly with a book. But at the same time, given the passion for his job and what it entails, he charms babies, greets everyone on the plane he enters, is a ‘people person’ when he needs to be.

The important factor is that the extroverts and introverts both take their appropriate ‘breaks’ in a way that is effective. An extrovert’s break involves relaxing, but not alone. An introvert’s break involves taking a walk or isolating himself from crowds. Both re-charge differently but they need to know themselves in order to stay ‘charged’ and positive.

Stay tuned for more live insights from OWP 2019

Pictures are available at IMD Flickr account

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Videos from OWP are available via our IMD YouTube account

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