Do We Rate Those Who Share Our SOCIAL STYLE Better Than Those Who Do Not?

A new Huffpost article titled, “Finally, Some Unflattering Research About Introverts” looks at information revealing introverts’ biases when evaluating their peers.

According to two different studies, research tells us that introverted people are more likely to give low evaluations of job performance to their extroverted counterparts. They also are less likely to recognize extroverted co-workers for their achievements and are less likely to endorse them for raises or promotions.

“The magnitude with which introverts underrated performance of extroverts was surprising,” says one of the study’s co-authors, business professor Keith Leavitt of Oregon State University. “The results were very consistent across both studies.”

In one of the studies they assessed 143 students in a management program who participated in a 10 minute online game with three teammates. What the students didn’t know was that the teammates were actually fake and controlled by researchers. “One of the fake team members’ profiles and comments were manipulated during the game to make them seem more introverted or extroverted, but their actual performance on the task didn’t change. The other two were given neutral personalities.” Even when performance among the controlled extroverts and introverts was the exact same, introverted assessors gave lower evaluations and smaller bonuses to the extroverted team members and higher evaluations and bonuses to their introverted team member.

So why do introverts seem to have a bias towards their extroverted co-workers? The researchers suggest that introverts may be more sensitive to others’ personality traits and may have an aversion to high levels of extroversion or assertiveness.

So can this same bias exist when we are assessing others who possess a different SOCIAL STYLE than our own? Yes, it can, but there are not clear distinctions about which Styles are introverted or extroverted.

SOCIAL STYLE is measured based on two behavioral dimensions with the first dimension being Assertiveness. If you happen to be “Ask Assertive” you are either an Amiable Style person or an Analytical Style person. However, Assertiveness as measured by TRACOM is not the same as “assertiveness” as described by these researchers. Our measure is a reflection of natural behavioral tendencies and preferences. So when these researchers say that introverts are lower in assertiveness, they are measuring an altogether different concept. “All of us, no matter our Styles, are susceptible to biases in our thinking that cause us to make mistakes. We know that introverts can be Tell Assertive. In fact it’s not uncommon for many Driving Style people to be introverts. Likewise many Amiable Style people are introverted, though outwardly they might come across as extroverts. What is important is for people to have the self-awareness to recognize that they are engaging in this bias towards extroverts, and to correct for that bias.” says Dr. Casey Mulqueen.

“‘Any time we evaluate others, there is a potential for bias, in that we can only remember and process a limited amount of information about that person,’ Leavitt said in an email to The Huffington Post. ‘So, we filter information based upon what is most useful to us. Because introverts themselves tend to be lower in assertiveness and thus prioritize harmony, there is value for them in quickly recognizing traits that signal the potential for conflict.’”

It’s important to be aware of our biases when assessing others, particularly those of another Style than our own, but at TRACOM we believe it’s not just what you do, but how you do it, which is why we emphasize the Versatility component of the SOCIAL STYLE Model. Versatility is the ability to assess and understand another’s SOCIAL STYLE and therefore modify your behavior to work more effectively with others. SOCIAL STYLE is a tool that gives others the ability to identify the preferences of their peers based on behavioral patterns and hints, and then adjust their behavior to make the other more comfortable.

Another important note to mention is that we also have biases, and may not get along particularly well with people of our own SOCIAL STYLEs due to same style-conflict. For example, two Driving Style people may have different routes to a solution and may battle for control or two Analytical Style people could disagree on relevant data. Just because someone shares our SOCIAL STYLE does not mean we will get along with them and in fact, our similar back-up behaviors could cause us to ultimately clash.

To learn more about SOCIAL STYLE watch this 3 minute overview of the Model.

Watch this video to learn the pros and cons of each SOCIAL STYLE