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Leadership Today - Practical Tips For Leaders

Jul 15, 2022


Extraverts are seen to not listen as well - what can they do about that?



Welcome to episode 146 of the Leadership Today podcast where each week we bring research to life in your leadership. This week we explore how extraverts are seen to not listen as well, and what they can do about that.

Extraverted individuals are often seen as more comfortable and confident in social situations. This might appear to set extraverts up for success at work and in leadership, but a recent study suggests there may be a downside. 

Researchers, Flynn, Collings and Zlatev studied 147 business students who needed to meet each week working in groups of six on developing their leadership skills. These students rated each other on listening skills. These listening skills included things like appearing to listen when others spoke, and remembering what others had shared. They also completed a measure of extraversion. 

The researchers found that extraverts were consistently rated lower on listening skills. Participants also saw extraverts as more likely to modify their approach in an attempt to shape how they were seen by others. When this impression management is obvious to others, it can impact the ability to build trust and connections. Now, this is all based on people’s impressions of extraverts - maybe they aren’t any better or worse than others at listening. But perceptions are reality in the eyes of the beholder, so it does suggest extraverts may need to modify their approach to avoid these pitfalls.

So, if you are more extraverted, what can you do about this? 

  1. Number one is pretty simple - listen. Listening is a skill grounded in genuine interest. If you’re not interested in others, it will show.

  2. Ask open questions - be curious about what the person is sharing, listen with interest, and restate what you’re hearing.

  3. Remember important details - it’s so powerful when someone remembers your name or other personal information.

  4. Give people time to open up. While you might be comfortable sharing with others, it might take them more time to warm to you.

Extraversion, like other personality traits, comes with advantages and risks to be managed. If you’re more extraverted, make sure you demonstrate your listening to others.



Flynn FJ, Collins H, Zlatev J. Are You Listening to Me? The Negative Link Between Extraversion and Perceived Listening. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. March 2022. doi:10.1177/01461672211072815