Hiring Choices: Quiet Neurotic May Be Better Bet Than Highly Visible Extrovert

Study: 'Withdrawn' personality may actually be asset to team dynamics

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Neurotic people get a bad rap. They can be perceived as difficult to work with and introverted—always staying to themselves with little to contribute. Extroverts, on the other hand, are full of life, great with people and eager to push themselves to the forefront.

A new study by UCLA’s Anderson School of Management associate professor Corinne Bendersky compared the team dynamics of neurotics and extroverts and found that neurotics were the better bet in terms of contributions. Susan Adams of Forbes delves into the study to discuss some of the reasons a leader should choose a neurotic personality. She writes:

Most leaders are attracted to the guy or woman who seems confident and outgoing, unafraid in any situation or facing any challenge. They expect an extrovert to infuse any team with energy, to push ahead on projects and to motivate colleagues to do their best work. Meantime they have low expectations of anyone who appears neurotic, who seems withdrawn and too anxious to live up to their potential. Leaders expect neurotic employees to contribute little and to drag down colleagues’ morale.

Not true, says a new study by Corinne Bendersky, an associate professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. In a paper called “The Downfall of Extraverts and Rise of Neurotics: The Dynamic Process of Status Allocation in Task Groups,” Bendersky and co-author Neha Parikh Shah, an assistant professor at Rutgers Business School, explodes stereotypes about how extroverts and neurotics perform on teams. It turns out that extroverts contribute less than team members expect and the contributions they do make are not valued highly over time. Neurotics, by contrast, are motivated to work hard on behalf of their teams, who wind up appreciating their efforts, in part because they exceed everyone’s expectations. In the end, extroverts decline in the teams’ esteem while neurotics rise in status.

Read more at Forbes

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