Are founders with ‘extroverted’ personalities usually more successful?

Founders’ profiles are as diverse as entrepreneurial ideas around the world. Sure, there are certain personality patterns among entrepreneurs, such as being determined and hardworking, since building something from scratch is far from being easy.

Earlier last week, we opened a debate via Twitter and Instagram, asking your opinion on whether founders with extroverted personalities tend to be more successful.

On Twitter, the results showed there was a complete split in opinion, which ended with the poll closing with an exact 50/50 result.

On Instagram, we posted a story, and the results were very close as well, with 54% of respondents thinking that founders with extroverted personalities are usually more successful, and the remaining 46% believing that this is not necessarily the case.

Before we open the debate here, let’s talk about what it means to be an ‘extrovert’ vs. ‘introvert’. Those with an extroverted personality are more outgoing, socially confident people, usually an ideal profile for a Sales position, for example. On the other hand, introverts are usually more reserved, and thoughtful people who fit a Data Analyst position. This said, most of us have a mixture of both personalities, although one will be more dominant than the other. 

A successful business needs both personalities. Let’s go over some of the pros and cons of each profile: 

Extrovert pros:

  • Comfortable forming friendships with a large number of people
  • They’re likely to push the less inclined to participate in group projects
  • Capable of quickly bonding with others, remembering names and faces, and great for client relationships
  • Tend to be candid, charismatic, and able to speak publicly

Extrovert cons:

  • May find it harder to make analytical judgements or be impartial
  • Usually less independent and seek external validation 
  • Find it harder to focus
  • Likely to stand in the spotlight, rather than giving it to others
  • May appear to be arrogant

Introvert pros:

  • More likely to control the need to express emotions during inappropriate times
  • Good listeners and observers
  • Impartial, critical, and detail-oriented
  • Strong ability to be self-reliant and think purposefully
  • Usually cautious, and deliberate
  • Tend to have a very steady mood

Introvert cons:

  • May need more time to accept changes
  • Could appear detatched from a wider group
  • Could need a lot of positive encourgement to share their ideas
  • Find it harder to join in team activities
  • May find it difficult to take criticism/negotiate

One of the great responsibilities of founders is to choose team members based on profiles and abilities that can complement each other in the best possible way to push the startup forward. People often assume that founders at early stages might take on more introverted positions, such as product development and coding areas. But the truth is, they have an endless list of responsibilities, including recruiting, fundraising, sales, and marketing. 

When we think about the ‘leader’ stereotype, characteristics such as outspoken, bold, and charismatic come to mind. It’s true that business opportunities often come from connections, but that doesn’t mean a founder needs to be a social butterfly to be successful.

Entrepreneur and executive vice-chairman at the New York Stock Exchange, Betty Liu, states that “there are too many ways of becoming successful”, after interviewing hundreds of leaders, from Warren Buffett, to Ariana Huffington, over the years. In fact, some of the most famous and successful founders we know like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Larry Page are considered ‘introverts’.

Important traits in a leader that could actually affect the success of a company include confidence in the project and the team, motivation and ambition, patience, and resilience to carry on during challenging times.

Truth be told, being an introvert or an extrovert doesn’t predict success or failure. Both personalities support each other and make up for a healthier, stronger team. A successful entrepreneur will find self-awareness to know their limits and make up for them with the help of other teammates or co-founders.