Washington: Researchers have zeroed down four key advantages that extroverts enjoy in the workplace.
There's been much debate in popular culture recently about the advantages and disadvantages extroverts have in the workplace, but it often overlooks the scientific literature, a recent study pointed out.
A prototypical extrovert can be defined as talkative, outgoing, prefers taking charge, expresses positive emotion and enjoys seeking out new experiences, explains Wilmot. By comparison, a prototypical introvert is quiet, emotionally reserved, less energetic, and harder to get to know.
The study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, offered a comprehensive review of existing research (91 meta-analyses in total) relating to extroversion and work-related variables.
These variables (165 in total) include things like motivation, work-life balance, emotional well-being and performance. Supporting data was taken from studies across multiple countries, from different occupations and across different career moments including education, job application, and on the job evaluations.
The team of researchers found that higher extroversion was desirable for 90 per cent of variables, which suggests a small, persistent advantage in the workplace. It was in four categories that extroverts enjoy a distinct advantage; motivational, emotional, interpersonal and performance-related.
"These four appear to really capture the strongest positive effects of extroversion at work," said Wilmot, whose research looks at how organizations use personality measures to solve workplace challenges.
According to the researchers, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, extroversion is linked with a greater motivation to achieve positive goals - in this case as a desired reward through work. It's also closely associated with experiencing positive emotions more regularly.
A happy employee is not only more satisfied with life, but they also tend to work harder and are perceived as a better leader as a result, study suggests. Positive emotions also act as a buffer against stress or adverse experiences at work.
Since extroverts like to be around other people, the third advantage has to do with socializing. By virtue of stronger communication skills, extroverts tend to adapt better to different social situations and are adept at persuasion, which is also a strong leadership skill.
The fourth advantage is in job performance. Wilmot pointed to past research that has found out of the big five personality traits, only conscientiousness and emotional stability generally predicted performance across different occupations. This is a combination of the three previous advantages.
"If you're motivated to achieve a goal at work, if you're feeling positive and you're good at dealing with people, you're probably going to perform better on the job. These advantages appear to have a cumulative effect over the span of one's career,"
While pointing out all the advantages that an extrovert is expected to enjoy at the workplace, Wilmot said that this does not mean that introverts should interpret these findings to suggest they will be at an inevitable disadvantage.
There are also numerous other characteristics that contribute to workplace success, including cognitive ability, conscientiousness, and the ability to regulate negative emotions.