The present research tested competing approaches to individual differences in impression management (as measured with social desirability scales) and their implication for behavior in social contexts. A defensiveness approach argues that impression management is a source of defensive self-presentation, which causes performance impairment in public social settings. The competing adjustment approach argues that impression management measures friendliness and self-control, which should bring about performance facilitation in public social settings. To decide between these approaches, two experiments utilized a social facilitation paradigm, whereby task performance was compared between an alone and a public condition. The results supported the predictions of the adjustment approach. Across different tasks, a high impression management score was associated with performance facilitation in social presence, expressed in greater creativity, positive implicit affect, and high self-control. The results reveal previously unnoticed constructive effects of impression management, supporting the reframing of the trait as reflecting interpersonally oriented self-control.