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july 2015 year
july 2015 year
Managing Partner Alexander Saus
exclusively for Forbes

Which Dangers Lurk for the Extroverts in Business?

Managing Partner Alexander Saus
exclusively for Forbes

Psychologists believe that extroverts are always more successful and are much more comfortable in business environment than their psychological antipodes - introverts. Is it really so? Which dangers lurk in wait for the extroverts and how to avoid them?

Extroverts find it easier to do business. That is considered to be the fundamental truth. They are the very ones who are capable of living their natural life strategy which is to give (e.g. to sell) everything they want. Natural proneness to communication leading to multiplying the number of useful contacts as well as practically inexhaustible inner energy which is being put for the practical cause makes the perfect business model of a person. That’s why an extrovert is viewed as some kind of “terminator” among fellow businessmen.

Extroverts encounter difficulties for that simple reason that they tend to always seek external rather than inner approval
Alas, there is not a single perfect thing in the world. Brilliant combativity is offset by another side of the extrovert’s personality. They sometimes can even destroy the perfectly functioning business model. According to my personal belief, extroverts encounter difficulties for that simple reason that they tend to always seek external rather than inner approval. That constitutes the whole essence of this type of personality – their sight and energy are aimed outside. Is this a problem? Why?

That is actually quite serious problem. A lot of my extrovert friends feel the constant need to impress engage and influence people around them. Since the approval from outside is the kind of oxygen for an extrovert, some of them depend on this factor so strongly that they become easy target for manipulation techniques. In order to make a good impression or to win attention they are subconsciously willing to do something which contradicts their personal believes and desires. This, in turn, is able to destroy the strongest personality.

Any business has a higher chance for survival if it is based on the constructive activity being its founder’s way of self-expression. It may seem to be the most natural thing. When it comes to extroverts, however, they often come up against the dissonance caused by discrepancy between inner and external values. Necessity to be liked by vast majority of people around them often brings about serious mental conflicts.

Is it possible to avoid such destructive inner disharmony? Yes, it is. General acceptance just needs to be excluded from the priority list or at least this necessity needs to be realized. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Outside perspective

What are the main difficulties and how do they influence business? It may seem that extroverts let alone successful ones cannot complain of having few friends. What is more, the tendency to exaggerate the number of friends as well as their loyalty often results in keen disappointment.

A big share of extroverts among my acquaintances often strikes me for the lack of estimations as to how they are perceived by their fellows. Speedy outburst of social media only fuels their inability to assess the attitude of their circle members to them, even when it comes to the close friends. It goes without saying that only 5-10 people among thousands of connections on Facebook are actual friends in real life. That is the best case scenario. However an extrovert can have no idea of it.

As to the introverts, they tend to listen more and to speak less. As an attentive listener a person perceives the direct speech of their companion better. Just like Bill Gates used to say: “How you gather, process and use information defines whether you will win or lose”.

If an extrovert talks a lot especially about things which their counterpart is not interested in, people will start avoiding him let alone do business with him. Of course, we do not mean mere obtrusiveness but the special trait of an extrovert not to be aware of the effect which their actions have on their companions. Moreover it is worth mentioning that extroverts are prone to impulsiveness which impedes the subsequence of expressed thoughts and clearness of wording which have vital importance in terms of effective communication.

Introverts vs Extroverts

In his book Gerald Matthews mentioned that introverts tended to think more fundamentally than extroverts. Extroverts are prone to quick and shallow approach to problem solving while they sacrifice accurateness in favor of promptness. Introverts analyze information thoroughly before taking any action. Moreover introverts often ask themselves “what if” question which helps them make effective decisions in business.
Adherence to positive (“what if”) instead of standard (“how it should be”) analysis directly influences extroverts’ means of achieving success. Sometimes extroverts believe that they can convince other people to act to their benefit. However isn’t it better to go other way? Any goods or services are bought rather than sold. Therefore even a thought of attending workshop on sales is deadly boring to me. I am sure that all the introverts feel the same way.

Difference between introverts and extroverts lies in their proneness to taking risks as well. Research conducted in the abovementioned book by Gerald Matthews proves that introverts are 28 % less prone to taking financial risks. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s good or bad. Statistics shows that when introverts encounter low chance for a win, they tend to avoid the risk altogether. However if they view their chances for winning as high they are more likely to take the risk. Interestingly enough, a research involving 64 investment bank traders showed that the most successful ones turned out to be emotionally stable introverts.
Both types of personalities have different strategies. Strategies of Microsoft and Apple represent textbook example. These two powerful players have completely different strategies. The first, extrovert one, has always followed the market. The second, introvert one, has always created the market for itself. Which one is more effective? It’s hard to tell. The same applies to comparing extroverts and introverts.

Car Jung believed that “there was no such thing as pure extrovert or pure introvert type of personality. Of course, we do not take patients of psychiatric clinics into account”. We are talking about some general tendencies. Just to be fair, it’s worth mentioning that introverts are not smarter than the extroverts. According to IQ tests, they have quite similar results. Differences and success-driving factors lie in the chosen methods. In fact successful people can be either extroverts or introverts by nature. Both, however, need to learn the skills of others. It’s like changing poles. Extroverts should learn to look inside themselves while introverts should start looking around themselves more eagerly.

Is it possible and, more importantly, is it worth changing your personality type is the subject of another research. However it’s definitely worth taking time to think and understand the reason for taking each decision, especially for those aimed at becoming successful in business.