Leadership Traits - Extraversion

Extraversion is among the leadership traits  and has two facets:

  1. Extraversion, as most people use the term, includes being social, talkative, and gregarious
  2. Assertiveness and dominance

Extraverted leaders tend to be more successful for several reasons. First, they talk more and are more forceful in their opinion. Second, they take more air time in team discussions and third, they tend to develop a higher number of relationships. Each relationship can serve as a resource when needed.

Talking does tend to be associated with leadership. The person who speaks up is often perceived as the leader. What the leader says is of course, equally important. The comments need to be on point and add to the conversation. The second component, being more forceful in expressing opinions, keeps the discussion focused on one person's agenda. Quantity of talk alone, while a component of extraversion, is not sufficient to bestow leadership qualities.

Developing and maintaining a high number of relationships, increases the scope of influence the leaders has. Knowing a large number of people gives the leader access to thought leaders, influencers and the right person to accomplish a task.

As leadership traits, assertiveness and dominance are "Goldilocks" traits, they must be just right. What is deemed "just right" is different for men and women. Women who behave at the "just right" level for men are often disliked and perceived as too hard. Women leaders have a finer line to walk on this trait than men and must also be willing to be disliked when it's necessary so as to be effective.

Leadership Tips

  • Regardless of your preference for introversion or extraversion, take the time to build and maintain relationships if you aspire to a leadership position. A wealth of strong relationships is a wealth of resources for success.
  • How you say what you say is important. Many people lose credibility by turning a statement into a question through a rising pitch. It is the difference between, "These numbers demonstrate a small increase in sales month to month." and "These number demonstrate a small increase in sales month to month?" The first person declares a fact the second person is asking for help reading a report.
  • Women whether we like it or not, mounds of research document that what women say in meetings is often attributed to either the man sitting next to her or to the man who hears what she's said and repeats it. Therefore, it is in a woman's best interest to speak clearly and assertively.

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