As my public speaking class draws to an end, I’ve decided to share the speeches I wrote for the class. Yesterday, I shared the last speech, today, I’ll share the first speech I wrote for the class. As you read, please keep in mind that this is an informative speech.
Difference between Introvert and Extrovert
True or False? Introverts are quiet and shy, extroverts are wild. False. People who prefer introversion just tend to think before they speak while extroverts tend to speak before they think. However, with these two completely polar opposite personalities, don’t you wonder how they will get along in a group? First, though we have to define what really makes an introvert and extrovert, then we’ll compare and contrast the two personalities in a group and leadership setting.
What categorizes one as an introvert or an extrovert? Well, it depends. From the research of psychiatrist Carl Jung, introversion and extroversion refers to the origin of our energy or what energizes us and what drains our energy. However, contrary to popular beliefs, introverts are not quiet or shy, they are simply those who prefer to observe before they speak rather than the other way around. For example, when socializing with strangers, introverts tend to want to get to know the person better before sharing their inner thoughts and beliefs. Extroverts are the opposite of that. They are those who have no problem speaking to a large group of strangers. Basically, extroverts get their energy from being surrounded by people while introverts get their energy by focusing internally on thoughts, ideas, and reflection. What happens in a group setting, when introverts and extroverts are forced to communicate? According to senior organizational consultant at the University of Arizona, Mark Trommer, “it can be hard for people to communicate with one another if they have different styles.”
And now, we are going to compare and contrast between those different styles. First of all, you should know that the effectiveness of introverted and extroverted leadership is dependent upon the type of work structure. Under the leadership of an introvert, team members tend to be proactive. It is the team members’ duty to take the initiative in introducing changes and new ideas to the team. Therefore, experts believe that the performance of a team led by an introvert tends to perform better. On the other hand, under the leadership of an extrovert, team members tend to be dutifully followers looking for guidance. They do what they are told and their leader tends to feel threatened when a team member attempts to introduce a new idea to the team because it would mean the team member is stealing the spotlight. Let’s apply those characteristics to a real life experiment conducted by the University of Carolina.
This experiment was conducted by Adam Grant and David Hoffman and it is an experiment to test whether higher performance would come from passive employees as when being led by an extrovert or proactive employees as when being led by an introvert. The profits of 57 different stores of a single US pizza chain were compared over 7 weeks and it is according to whether the store manager is an extrovert or an introvert. The results show that the stores with extroverted managers earned 16% more profit than the stores led by an introverted leader while stores led by an introvert earn 14% less profit.
So there you have it, the quantitative analysis between extroverted and introverted leadership in a group setting. Just to recap, introverted leaders are most effective when the team members are proactive while extroverted leaders are most effective when the team members are passive, meaning they’re followers. Based on the experiment’s results, does this mean the company should only hire extroverts for manager positions? Does this proof extroverts make the best leaders? I guess we’ll find out.
For most of my life I thought being an introvert was a bad thing. Growing up in an extremely extroverted family, being the quiet one never felt right. Why didn’t I speak up as quickly as they did? Why didn’t I want to be the center of attention? They looked like they were having more fun. What was wrong with me?
Well-meaning family members urged me to “come out of my shell,” but that never felt authentic. I preferred going out for coffee with a close friend or reading a book over loud, crowded parties. At times I dreaded going to the mall, fearing I would see someone I knew and would need to make small talk. “I don’t want to talk to those people,” I would say to my sister. “Can we leave?”
Clearly, being an introvert was a hassle.
However, over the past year I’ve started to appreciate my introverted personality. Through reading Quiet by Susan Cain (and the support of my extrovert husband), I’ve learned many other people have these same experiences growing up and share my fear of small talk.
Ironically, reading a book about introversion helped me to shake off some of my fears and finally open up.
The biggest contrast can be found between my husband and me. The saying “opposites attract” is true of our personalities. Cain explains this strange attraction, as well. “One tends to listen, the other to talk; one is sensitive to beauty, … while the other barrels cheerfully through his days”
I enjoy that he makes conversation easily, and he likes that I listen to him. His appreciation of me — and my quiet personality — first showed me that I wasn’t the problem.
I have always appreciated the introvert aspects of my personality – being observant, listening well, thinking before I speak – but this is the first year I felt confident in them. I ultimately decided I don’t need to apologize for not talking.
Cain quotes Ghandi saying, “All this talking can hardly be said to be of any benefit to the world. It is so much waste of time.”
The main struggle in this area has always been my job. Corporate America consistently rewards over-communication through daily meetings and sending thousands of emails.
Success at work also requires networking and attending corporate events. While I enjoy meeting people in the fashion industry, the conversation feels artificial, and I just don’t want to complain about the cold weather one more time.
I realize I’m unable to change these social norms, so I’ve learned to fake extroversion when necessary, and usually leave these events early.
I explained this introvert tendency to a friend once. “I’m an introvert,” I said. “I usually leave early because all the talking just makes me tired. At least I can say I was here.”
“I never thought of it that way,” she responded. “That totally makes sense, but I just never thought talking could be tiring!
With this new-found truth that I need more time to myself, I can say no to unnecessary social events without feeling guilty about missing out on something. “Spend your free time the way you like,” Cain writes, “not the way you think you’re supposed to.”
Giving myself enough time to recharge quietly has provided the necessary energy to communicate well in my relationships and at work.