Yes, your quiet colleagues are silently judging you

Introverted types discount the performance of their extroverted colleagues

quiet colleagues

(Illustration by Kagan McLeod)

That quiet colleague at work is secretly appraising you. According to researchers from the University of Florida, Oregon State University and the University of Notre Dame, introverts at the office tend to find the work performances of their extroverted colleagues lacking.

In one experiment, the study’s authors assigned 178 MBA students to project teams of four or five for a semester. Halfway through the course, the individuals were asked to fill out personality questionnaires and surveys evaluating their team members’ performances so far.

The introverted students gave lower ratings to their extroverted peers compared to their introverted ones, whereas the ratings by extroverted students didn’t vary based on the personality of the person they were evaluating.

In a second experiment, the study’s authors had assigned 143 students in a management program to three-person teams for an online game. During the game, which lasted about 10 minutes, one member’s profile and comments were randomly manipulated to highlight high introversion or extroversion while their actual performance of the task stayed the same. The participants then evaluated their team members and made recommendations about promoting or awarding bonuses to their teammates.

The researchers found that introverts gave lower evaluations and smaller peer bonuses to the extroverted target team member, even though their performance was the same as their more introverted team member. Recommendations by extroverted participants for their team members didn’t vary on a person’s personality, and awarded evaluations and bonuses based on merit.

In other words: you should probably focus your charm offensive on the office introverts—they’re the ones who need the most convincing of how great you are.