Do Introverted or Neurotic Employees Have an Advantage?

Currently, the research community seems to be abuzz dispelling myths and commonly held misconceptions about individual differences as they relate to “the Big Five” personality dimensions. The present research (Bendersky & Shah, 2013) not only builds on research regarding ‘the dark sides of extraversion,’ but also adds to existing literature on “the bright sides of neuroticism.”


As we all know, extroverts crave attention, exude confidence, and love to dominate conversations, which often earns them high status within their workgroups and election to leadership positions. On the other hand, people with a high degree of neuroticism tend to be anxious, emotionally volatile, and withdrawn, which earns them lower status within their groups and makes them considerably less likely to emerge as group leaders.


However, the researchers found that in the long term, the qualities that make extroverts the way they are also make them poor team players. As a result, they often fail to meet group expectations and ultimately lose some of their hierarchical status. On the other hand, the bar is usually set pretty low for those with a high level of neuroticism, so there’s really nowhere for them to go but up. Neurotic peoples’ anxious tendencies and concerns about how they are perceived by fellow group members make them prepare longer and persist longer at tasks, enabling them to exceed group expectations and earn respect and greater status within the group hierarchy over time.