Harvard researchers asked people what they really thought about extroverts. You will be surprised by the answers

There’s no shortage of super successful introverted leaders (Barack Obama and Bill Gates spring to mind), but a full mountain of scientific research shows that if your aim is to ascend to leadership, Being an extrovert is a huge advantage, Studies show that extroverts are more likely to be selected for leadership roles, are viewed more favorably by executives, and even tend to earn more in the end.

All of this shows that people really like to be led by extroverts. But according to fascinating new research from Harvard, things are not so simple. Extroverts can be valued at work, but it turns out that there are big reputational downsides to being perceived as confident and talkative.

Being friendly is not the same as being a good listener.

The study, carried out by researchers from both Harvard and Stanford, is set to be published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, asked 2,500 MBA students and others for their opinions about classmates or acquaintances. Respondents rated both how extroverted these other people were and whether they were good listeners, genuine and more or less self-centered. The results weren’t super flattering for the extrovert.

In short, respondents rated extroverts as more interested in monitoring and polishing their own self-image than in actually listening to what others had to say.

“When you engage in conversation with an extrovert, they can be sociable, they can be outgoing, there may be other sociable signs that are positive, but they can also be seen as not getting as much attention. ,” Harvard researchers and study co-authors Julian Zlataev explained, People see extroverts as “overly aware of the situation around them, trying to come across in a positive way to others, which can sometimes be seen as acting out, such as being in a situation and Not really being their authentic true self.”

The finding was a bit of a surprise to the researchers, who expected people to rate the listening skills of extroverts more highly. But perhaps it would be such a big blow to the authors of the previous study that introverts actually understand human behavior and psychology better than extroverts. Why? The study could not provide a definitive answer but the authors speculate that this is probably because they spend less time talking and more time listening and watching.

tips for being an extrovert And a good listener.

Together these studies paint a clear picture of the downsides of being considered a social butterfly. Sure, you’re talkative and confident. But other people may also suspect that you are more inclined to push yourself than you are to actually listen and understand them. People respect your social skills but wonder what part of your outgoing personality is a function and what is real.

So what should you do about it if you’re on the more extroverted side of the scale, but it’s also important that you’re honest, empathetic, and interested in others? An HBR Working Knowledge Writeup of Research draws out six essential tips from research:

  • give verbal cues to listen, Reiterate and explain what someone has just said.

  • use phrases Like “right,” “yes,” and “mm-hmm” in conversation.

  • Look for Other Ways to Signify Engagement– Laugh at jokes and keep quiet when appropriate.

  • Use a variety of nonverbal cues In conversation. Make eye contact, nod and smile while talking.

  • take open currency, Keep your hands apart, do not cross or fold. Face the person you are talking directly to.

  • mirror the seat The person you are talking to.

Of course, these are just some of the basics of being a good listener. The fact that researchers think the most extroverted among us need to listen to them over and over just underscores the essential conclusion of their study: There are many benefits to being an extrovert, but there are many types of dominating someone. Don’t overlook the potential downsides of being. Conversation.

A little extra attention and attention to others can make an extrovert even more powerful at work.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.