Extraversion’s Split Personality

Amongst the characteristics of an effective leader are behaviors commonly associated with extraversion. Academics and practitioners agree that leaders who are outgoing and who strive for contact, power and status tend to experience better outcomes.

However, the latest research by Mark Do of Peter Berry Consultancy and Amirali Minbashian of UNSW Australia confirms there are two distinct components to the extraversion factor: agency and affiliation. The former describes the tendency to be confident and assertive, while the latter addresses the propensity to be expressive and sociable.

Their study investigated the separate effects agency and affiliation each have on leadership, and found that only the former is consistently important for leadership effectiveness. Their findings suggest that it is not simply extraverted behaviors that contribute to leadership success; rather, and more specifically, it is the motivational characteristics of extraversion that do so. These independent results are in line with the HPI’s initial validation, which compelled our separate measurement of the Ambition and Sociability scales.

The paper, titled “A meta-analytic examination of the effects of the agentic and affiliative aspects of extraversion on leadership outcomes” was published in and is available through Leadership Quarterly.

Click here to for the full study.