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外向的人也不一定适合当领导

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小编摘要:传统观念总是认为领导者都是那些积极表现、勇于发言、擅于发号施令、制定计划的人,通常在人群中处于最主导的地位。然而事实未必如此。沃顿商学院管理学教授亚当•格兰特(Adam Grant)与两位同事近期就领导力和群体

Conventional wisdom tells us that leaders are the men and women who stand up, speak out, give orders, make plans and are generally the most dominant, outgoing people in a group. But that is not always the case, according to new research on leadership and group dynamics from Wharton management professor Adam Grant and two colleagues, who challenge the assumption that the most effective leaders are extraverts.

In fact, introverted leaders can be more effective than extraverts in certain circumstances. The determining factor is who leaders are managing, according to Grant and co-authors Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School and David Hofmann of the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School. Their paper, forthcoming in the Academy of Management Journal, is titled "Reversing the Extraverted Leadership Advantage: The Role of Employee Proactivity."

Extraverted leadership involves commanding the center of attention: being outgoing, assertive, bold, talkative and dominant. This offers the advantages of providing a clear authority structure and direction. However, pairing extraverted leaders with employees who take initiative and speak out can lead to friction, while pairing the same group of employees with an introverted leader can be a pathway to success, the researchers note. This has implications for leaders and managers at all levels who want to improve their own leadership styles. "If you look at existing leadership research, extraversion stands out as the most consistent and robust predictor of who becomes a leader and who is rated an effective leader," Grant says. "But I thought this was incomplete. It tells us little about the situations in which introverted leaders can be more effective than extraverted leaders."

So he and his fellow researchers began looking at the issue through the lens of a business that could easily track productivity and team effectiveness -- pizza delivery franchises.

"We wanted to study an organization where we could actually see differences in performance, and where people were generally doing the same work," Grant notes. "If there is variation in franchise profitability, as a function of who leads and who your employees are, then that would be a very powerful statement about the true impact of a leader on a group."

Threatened By Proactivity

The researchers obtained data from a national pizza delivery company. They sent questionnaires to 130 stores and received complete responses from 57; the responses included 57 store leaders and 374 employees. To adjust for differences in location that were beyond the leaders' influence, the researchers also controlled for the average price of pizza orders and worker hours. Leaders were asked to rate their own extraversion -- the degree to which they commanded the center of attention by acting talkative, assertive, outgoing and dominant. Employees were asked to rate levels of proactive behavior in the store, such as improving procedures, correcting faulty practices, speaking up with ideas and stating opinions about work issues.

What Grant and his colleagues found was a simple inverse relationship: When employees are proactive, introverted managers lead them to earn higher profits. When employees are not proactive, extraverted managers lead them to higher profits. "These proactive behaviors are especially important in a dynamic and uncertain economy, but because extraverted leaders like to be the center of attention, they tend to be threatened by employee proactivity," Grant notes. "Introverted leaders, on the other hand, are more likely to listen carefully to suggestions and support employees' efforts to be proactive."

Pairing an extraverted leader with a proactive team, he says, can hurt, not just hinder, the company's effectiveness. "Once the extraverted leader responds in a less receptive way, that becomes discouraging for employees and makes them less willing to work hard," Grant states. "It may also make them less willing to share ideas in the future, which would limit creativity and innovation."

In fact, the personality conflicts can lead to a power struggle within an organization, openly pitting leaders against employees. This is especially true in companies or groups with a flat hierarchy -- for example, if the leaders were recently promoted from the peer level, or if a new leader's competence and skills are not yet established. Such situations would "be much more likely to lead employees to challenge, and leaders to feel threatened," a situation known as "status uncertainty," according to Grant.

"If you are leading a pizza franchise, you are often doing this as your full-time job, and you might be managing high school and college students who have a different set of aspirations and, in some cases, might actually look down upon you as the leader," Grant points out. At that point, an employee with a better idea for how to get orders processed efficiently on Super Bowl night, or a suggestion for a new coupon or special deal, could make extraverted leaders feel like their "status is being threatened. They might say, 'I'm supposed to be in charge here. Let me reassert my authority.' Whereas the introverted leader, with less of a concern for position, status and power -- and a willingness to spend more time listening and less time talking -- is likely to quietly process the ideas that come up. That leader is worrying less about the ego or image implications of employees taking charge and introducing ideas."

The T-shirt Challenge

The research team also conducted another study that looked specifically at extraverted leadership behavior, not just self-reported traits. They took 163 college students from a university in the Southeastern U.S. and designated them as team members and leaders in a T-shirt folding group. The aim was to fold as many shirts as possible in 10 minutes, with iPods as a reward for the top performers.

Some students were randomly assigned to lead in either an extraverted or introverted manner. The extraverted leaders were given examples of famous leaders who were bold, talkative and assertive, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jack Welch. The introverted leaders were given examples of famous leaders who were quiet and reserved, such as Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln. Both groups were then asked to reflect on a time when they led effectively in a similar manner. Meanwhile, two other graduate students, or "confederates," were paired with each group and secretly told to act either passively or proactively, with proactive confederates offering a new, efficient away to fold T-shirts.

The researchers found a significant interaction between extraverted leadership and proactive behavior that meshed with the findings from the pizza study. When the confederates were passive, teams performed better when led in an extraverted manner, but when the confederates were proactive, teams performed better when led in an introverted manner. "When the confederates were proactive, participants perceived the more extraverted leaders as less receptive to ideas, and they invested less effort in the task," the researchers write.

The implications of the power struggle for the leader-employee relationship and labor relations became very clear, according to Grant. "At some level, the power struggle is finished, with the leader asserting authority and the employees saying, 'We're not going to work as hard on your behalf.'" The employees basically decided that "Hey, these leaders are not receptive to good ideas .... We don't really have a ton of respect for the leader. We don't want this leader to be one of the top performers. We want to feel, at the end of the day, like our ideas are valued and our contributions are appreciated."

Interestingly, neither the introverted leaders nor the extraverted leaders showed higher productivity or profitability than the other. The difference, Grant and his researchers found, was in the pairing of leaders and employees.

"It shows that introverted and extraverted leadership styles can be equally effective, but with different groups of employees," he says. "As a social scientist, this is appealing -- people in organizations are sufficiently complex that you can rarely ever conclude that one style is always more effective than another.... Our research provides insight into when each style is effective, as opposed to trying to test which one is better -- which I think is the wrong question."

Given these conclusions, why does the popular view persist that extraverts are better leaders across the board? The authors point to several possible reasons: One is that extraverts are often perceived as more effective because of a "halo effect." "This may occur because extraverted leaders match the prototypes of charismatic leaders that dominate both [Western and Eastern cultures] and are especially prevalent in business," they write. One online survey of 1,500 senior leaders earning at least six-figure salaries found that 65% actually saw introversion as a negative quality in terms of leadership.

Creating Space for Employees

Grant says the study has broad implications for corporate leaders who want to examine their own leadership styles as well as make changes in the lower management ranks. "We tend to assume that we need to be extremely enthusiastic, outgoing and assertive, and we try to bring employees on board with a lot of excitement, a clear vision and direction," Grant says, "but there is real value in a leader being more reserved, quieter, in some cases silent, in order to create space for employees to enter the dialogue."

He worked with the CEO of one Fortune 500 company who has a policy of silence for the first 15 minutes of meetings. He does not utter a single word, although he is an extravert. "He feels that he has a tendency, once he gets excited about ideas, to run with them to the point where, at times, it leaves employees feeling like they weren't included," Grant says. "So he tries to combat that: 'I want you guys to tell me whatever you're thinking about -- suggestions, feedback, questions -- and the floor is yours.' He listens quietly and takes notes."

There are also lessons to be learned about giving employees authority and autonomy to make decisions on their own -- "providing them with choice about what work they do, as well as how, when and where they complete it," Grant notes. "One of the strongest predictors of proactivity is a sense of responsibility for the larger team or department or organization. When employees feel like they are responsible for a larger unit, they are much more likely to broaden their roles beyond their specific individual job descriptions."

So how can managers actually implement some of the lessons from the study? Grant suggests that once prospective team members have the required skills and expertise, leaders can explicitly look at personality in making the final selection -- examining both the employees and the managers, figuring out which teams will work best together. "When I have extraverted leaders, if I have the opportunity I tend to invite in some of the less proactive employees who I think are more likely to want a clear, dominant vision from a leader and who are also more likely to get energized, to step a little bit out of their comfort zones."

And how do you identify those employees who might fit better with an introverted leader at the helm? By looking and listening, Grant says. "Proactive employees, by definition, spend more of their time and energy taking initiative -- whether that's in terms of generating ideas, coming up with a new work process, staying late to help their colleagues or even going out of their way to seek feedback. You develop a reputation pretty quickly for that set of tendencies."

Extraverted leaders also need to be careful to delegate responsibility to proactive employees, Grant suggests -- putting such workers in areas where they have ideas for moving forward or want to take on larger responsibility. These leaders also should actively solicit feedback, positive and negative, and listen to it. Some companies employ 360-degree feedback surveys, but those can be harder to use in small groups. "Asking for advice from employees on how to change can kill two birds with one stone," Grant says. "It allows the leader to actually learn, and it creates opportunities for employees to contribute right there and then."


传统观念总是认为领导者都是那些积极表现、勇于发言、擅于发号施令、制定计划的人,通常在人群中处于最主导的地位。然而事实未必如此。沃顿商学院管理学教授亚当•格兰特(Adam Grant)与两位同事近期就领导力和群体动力学发表最新研究,对最高效的领导者往往是外向的人这一传统假设提出了质疑。

事实上,在某些环境下,内向的领导者要比外向的领导者更加高效,关键就在于被领导的人。格兰特在与哈佛商学院的弗兰切斯卡• 吉诺(Francesca Gino)以及北卡罗来纳大学克南-弗拉格勒商学院的大卫•霍夫曼(David Hofmann)共同撰写的研究报告中提出了这一论点。这份报告即将于美国管理学会学报上发表,题为“对外向型领导者的挑战:员工主动性的作用”(Reversing the Extraverted Leadership Advantage: The Role of Employee Proactivity)。

这份报告指出,外向型领导风格意味着成为注意力的中心:开朗、决断、大胆、能言善辩并有能力占据主导地位。这种领导者能提供明确的权力结构和发展方向。但是,如果这些领导者所管理的员工同样具有良好的主动性并勇于发言,就有可能产生摩擦。而如果把这些员工与内向型领导组合起来,就可以通往成功。

这对于任何想要改善领导风格的领导者和管理者而言都具有一定的指导意义。“纵观当下流行的领导力研究报告,外向的性格总是一致被看作是成为一名领导者以及高效领导者的最重要因素,”格兰特表示:“但我认为这种观点并不完善。某些情况下,内向型领导者可能比外向型更为有效,而传统观点并没有涉及这一领域。”

在这种背景下,格兰特和他的研究伙伴试图以某种容易跟踪生产力和团队效率的经营业务为对象,就上述问题进行观察分析。他们选取了披萨外送连锁店。

“我们希望选取那些容易比较业务绩效的企业,且组织内部的人员所从事的工作具有同质性,”格兰特表示。“作为有领导者以及被领导者的组织,如果各分店的盈利性出现差异,那么就可以证明领导者对群体的真实影响。”

主动性带来的威胁

研究人员从一家全国性的披萨外送公司获取数据。向130家门店发送了问卷调查,其中57家门店反馈了完整的信息,这些反馈来自于57位门店经理和374位员工。为了排除不受领导力影响的地段差异等因素,研究人员还对披萨订单的平均价格和工作小时数进行了控制。在问卷中,领导者需对自己的外向程度进行评分——即通过言辞、决断力、开朗的性格和主导力能够在多大程度上引导注意力。而员工则需对自己在门店工作中的主动行为进行评分,例如积极改善流程、纠正不良行为、大胆表达自己的想法以及发表对工作问题的意见。

格兰特和他的研究伙伴发现领导者及其员工呈现出一种直接简单的反向关系:如果员工主动性高,内向型管理人员能够带领他们创造更高的盈利;如果员工不是那么的积极主动,那么外向型管理人员则更能够带领他们创造高盈利。“在动态且不确定的经济中,这种主动的行为尤其重要,但由于外向型领导者本身就容易成为注意力的中心,因此员工太过主动反而可能令他们遭受威胁,”格兰特表示“相反,内向型领导者更倾向于认真听取建议,并支持员工发挥主观能动性。”

同时,格兰特还进一步指出,如果将积极主动的员工与外向型领导者相组合,那么不仅仅会阻碍,甚至可能会损害公司的经营效率。他认为“如果外向型领导者不能很好地接受建议,就会让员工感到沮丧,降低他们对工作的积极性。同时,还会让他们变得不愿分享观点,从而限制创造力和创新。”

事实上,性格冲突可能会导致组织内权力无法发挥,造成领导与员工的公开对抗。如果公司或群体采取的是扁平式的组织架构,这一问题则会更为突出——举例来说,如果平级的同事近期内获得提升成为领导,或是新领导的能力和技巧尚未成熟的情况下,就有可能“诱发员工对权威的挑战,并让领导遭受威胁”。格兰特把这种情况称为“地位不确定”(status uncertainty)。

“如果你是一家披萨连锁店的管理人员,你通常会将其作为全职工作,而你管理的人员可能是些高中生和大学生,他们有着不一样的志向,有时还很可能对你这个领导根本不屑一顾,”格兰特说道。“这时,如果有员工提出改善流程,从而能在‘超级碗’比赛当晚送出更多的披萨或是有员工提出发放新的优惠券或特别优惠的建议时,外向型领导会觉得他们的‘地位受到了威胁’。他们很可能会说‘我才是这里的负责人。让我重申一下我的权力’。而内向型领导人则不那么在乎职级、地位和权力,他们说得不多,并愿意花更多的时间来听取建议,如果遇到同样的情况,他们很可能会安静地采纳并执行这些建议。这种领导者不会太在意自我,也不会想象员工可能夺取他们的位置、施加自己的观点。

叠T恤比赛带来的启示

研究小组还进行了另一项研究,对外向型领导的行为进行仔细观察,而不仅仅依赖于这些领导者的自我描述。研究人员在美国东南部的一所大学选取了163位大学生,并把他们分为不同的小组,每个小组都有成员和组长。他们的任务是在10分钟之内叠好尽量多的T恤,叠的最多的小组的每位成员都可以获得一个iPod作为奖励。

研究人员随机挑选了部分学生作为组长,既有外向型,也有内向型。对于外向型的组长,研究人员向他们展示了那些以大胆、能言善辩和决断力著称的著名领导人的例子,例如小马丁路德金和杰克威尔士。而针对内向型组长,研究人员则向他们展示了类似圣雄甘地和阿伯拉罕林肯等安静保守的著名领导者形象。之后,需要两组人员按照所展示的风格来有效地领导他们的团队。与此同时,研究人员还选取了另外两名大学生作为“盟友”,并将其分配给两个小组,暗中让他们采取被动或主动的表现。配合采取主动表现的“盟友”需要向组长建议一种新型高效地叠衣服方式。

研究人员发现在外向型领导风格和主动性行为之间存在着重要的互动关系,与披萨研究的结果一致。盟友采取被动表现时,外向型领导风格带领下的团队取得了更好的绩效;而当盟友采取主动表现时,则是内向型领导风格下的团队取得更高的成绩。“当盟友表现积极时,小组成员会认为外向型领导人不能很好地接受意见,因此也就不愿意卖力工作,”研究人员在报告中如此分析。

领导者和员工关系以及劳动关系之间权力的对抗变得非常明显,格兰特说,“当领导者重申权力,员工表示‘我们才不会为你卖力工作’时,权力的对抗就会结束。”然而员工会认为“瞧,这些领导人根本不接受好的意见…我们没必要对他们表示尊敬。我们可不想让这种人夺第一。我们希望在一天结束的时候,能让他们体会到我们的意见是有价值的,我们的贡献能够得到认可。”

有趣的是,就盈利性而言,外向型领导者和内向型领导者本身并不存在孰优孰劣。格兰特和他的研究伙伴发现,真正的差异来自于领导者和被领导者的组合。

“事实证明内向型和外向型领导风格的效率不分上下,但成员组合的方式不同,就会对结果造成差异,”格兰特表示。“作为一名社会科学家,这样的结论无疑有着重大的意义——一个组织内的成员结构非常复杂,你很难说哪种风格就一定比另一种风格更有效…我们的研究着重在于在何种环境下哪种风格更有效,而不是简单地尝试证明哪种更好——我认为这根本就是个错误的命题。”

既然结论如此,那么为什么整体而言流行观点都认为外向型的人才是更好的领导者呢?报告给出了几个可能的原因:其中之一就是“晕轮效应”(halo effect)。“造成这种观点的原因可能是因为外向型领导人更符合东西方文化中人们对于魅力型领导者的描绘,这一点在商场上尤为突出,”报告指出。一项针对收入在六位数以上的1500位高级管理人员的在线调查显示,65%的受访者认为内向是影响领导力的负面品质。

为员工创造空间

格兰特表示他们的研究对于希望改善领导风格、改革低层管理级别的企业管理人员来说有着广泛的意义。“我们总是倾向于认为我们需要表现得热情、开朗并富有决断力,尝试让员工感到兴奋,为他们描绘清晰的愿景、指明方向,”格兰特说,“但事实上,有时候领导者需要采取更为保守和安静的姿态,某些情况下,甚至是一言不发,从而为员工创造更多的参与对话的空间。”

格兰特曾与一家财富500强企业的CEO共事,这位CEO为自己定了一个规矩,即在会议开始的15分钟内保持缄默,不说一句话——尽管他是个非常外向的人。“他发现他有种倾向,就是一旦想到一个他认为很棒的点子,就急于让员工接受,有时,这会让员工觉得自己并没有参与在过程中,”格兰特表示,“所以他尝试改变这一现象:‘我希望你们告诉我你们的任何想法——建议、反馈或是疑问——这个舞台是你们的。’而他则会安静的聆听并记录重点。”

对于为员工提供更大的权力和决策自主权——即“让员工选择做什么工作、如何做、何时及何处完成工作”——研究报告也给出了许多值得借鉴的意见。格兰特指出:“想让员工变得积极主动的一个最重要因素就是培养他们对于大团体或部门或整个企业的责任感。如果员工觉得自己应该为集体利益负责,他们就会在特定的个人岗位描述范围之外,主动承担更多的责任。”

那么管理人员应当如何将研究报告中的发现运用到实践中呢?格兰特建议一旦潜在的团队成员已经掌握必需的技能和专业知识,领导者就可以开始观察他们的性格,以便进行最终的团队组合——领导者应对员工及管理人员同时进行观察,思考如何组合成员才能让团队发挥最大的效率。“如果我的管理人员都是外向型的,那么有机会的话,我会倾向于招一些不是那么主动的员工,这些员工更能够从领导那里获得清晰、主导性的愿景,更容易被鼓舞,从而发挥更大的积极性。”

至于如何定义那些适合内向型风格领导的员工,格兰特认为可以靠观察和聆听。“积极主动的员工会花更多的时间和精力来主导自己的工作——无论是提出建议、规划新的工作流程、加班帮助同事或是超越自己的工作范围来征求反馈。你会很快发现这些趋势和特征。”

除此之外,外向型领导在下放责任给主动性员工时也需保持谨慎,格兰特指出,应当让这些员工从事他们所希望的领域,这样他们才会有动力前进并承担更大的责任。这些领导者还应该主动搜集反馈,无论是正面还是负面意见都应该悉心接受。有些公司会采用360度全面反馈调查,但这很难适用于小的群体。“向员工征询如何进行改革的意见可谓是一石二鸟的举措,”格兰特说道,“既可以让领导更多地了解员工的想法,也可以为员工创造更大的贡献空间。”

标签:外向 领导
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2011-02-05 08:52 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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