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Neurotic Introverts Are the Best Team Players

They might have social anxiety, but they contribute more to group projects than the office extroverts.

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Social anxiety. Emotional volatility. Withdrawal.

These may not be the characteristics you typically associate with effective employees, but new research from UCLA suggests that neurotic people are actually more valuable on team projects than the flashy extroverts.

What’s this mean for managers? You’re probably under-using the introverted, neurotic staff members, when you should, in fact, be maximizing their potential on group projects.

The researchers conducted two separate studies--one that surveyed MBA students' behavior and another that noted employee behavior towards the two personality types. 

The findings? Qualities that make extroverts seem like strong workers, such as their assertiveness and dominance, raise team members’ expectations of them.

Extroverts in the study were also more likely to be poor listeners and indifferent to input from other team members. Ultimately, over the 10-week period, this tension caused extroverts to disappoint their groups and underwhelm their peers’ expectations.

Rising to the occasion were the neurotic group members. Neurotics’ personalities are the kind that get highly engaged with tasks, researchers said, leaving them to gain status among the group members by surpassing their low expectations.

 

Last updated: Apr 12, 2013




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