Are We Making a Mistake with Teamwork and Leadership?

by Michael Haberman on August 20, 2012 · 2 comments


Are you an introvert or highly sensitive person? If not, do you know someone who is? Actually I am pretty sure you do because half of our population is introverted. This means in turn that a good portion of our workforce is as well. With the increasing move toward teamwork in our workplaces it makes me wonder if we are making a mistake by requiring introverts to participate in teamwork.

Author and speaker Susan Cain feels that businesses are making mistakes by forcing introverts into acting like extroverts. Dr. Elaine Aron author of The Highly Sensitive Personsays that introverts ”… are all creative by definition…” A number of authors, therapists and writers feel that introverts, also known as “creatives”, are more perceptive and sensitive. Thus, they are not particularly well suited for group activities. This has the potential for stepping on their creative natures by not giving them the opportunity for the introspection needed for them to be effective.

Cain also feels we do our businesses a disservice by making extroverts our leaders. As she discusses in the video below introverts may make better leaders because they allow their employees to run with ideas more that extroverted managers do.

Listen to her interview below and then review your own company. Are you making the same mistakes of putting extroverts in your leadership positions and teamwork structure?

 

For further information check out Douglas Ely’s Creative Thinking and Being Introverted or Highly Sensitive

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lisa Hardy August 21, 2012 at 8:43 am

I realize this is a snippet of Cain’s book (which I have not read) so I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water. But I disagree with the premise here. Teamwork is not about making introverts into extraverts. In the workplace, it is different players having different roles, talents and yes, personality styles, bringing those efforts together to reach the goal. Leaders inspire and motivate. Effective leaders are all about the growth of the people in their sphere of influence; not making them fit into some cookie-cutter mold. Being an extravert isn’t a requirement for that.

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