For Andrew Jetter, it was a matter of eye contact. Inclined to be an introvert, the bank president had to force himself to look others in the eyes.
“Making small talk I had to practice that,” said the chief executive of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka. “I have to force myself to greet new people. The hardest thing is to go to a big conference where there are 150 there and I know three or four, maybe. It’s a challenge.”
Jetter worked hard and made it to the top of his profession without having the natural gregariousness — or what psychologists call extraversion — usually associated with leadership. It’s a journey taken by many shy or introverted people, who represent from 25 percent to 40 percent of the population.
But a new academic study shoots holes in the theory that you have to be an extravert to be a good leader. It turns out that introverts, or shy people, can be great leaders, too.
A recently published analysis by Adam Grant, an associate professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, looked at 73 previous studies that found extraversion was “the most consistent predictor of leadership emergence.”
But Grant wrote: “In contrast to popular wisdom, our work suggests that extraversion can be a liability for leaders.”
Read the complete story at kansascity.com