Neurotics are seen as more valuable in the workplace

by Grace

This seems like another case where low expectations could work in your favor.  Sometimes it makes sense to demonstrate less confidence in the workplace.

Research suggests that the more anxious and withdrawn among us tend to gain respect over time at work, while more outwardly confident extroverts lose some of their initial esteem.

To some degree, the research shows the value of creating low expectations, said the study’s lead author, Corinne Bendersky, an associate professor at the Anderson School of Management of the University of California, Los Angeles.

“To the extent that people can channel their inner Woody Allen — and act more neurotic — they will lower peer expectations,” Dr. Bendersky said. The research defined neurotics as people who express anxiety, are withdrawn or appear emotionally volatile.

The research, published in April 2013 in the Academy of Management Journal, shows that, on the whole, neurotics are seen as working harder while some extroverts appear to their peers to coast; that is the case even if the neurotics and extroverts make similar work contributions.

I’ve seen this happen, although sometimes it seems to be because the extroverts are viewed as a bit obnoxious.


Matt Richtelfeb, “That Neurotic on the Team? Give Him Time”, New York Times, February 1, 2014.

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