“Are you an extrovert or an introvert?”
For most people, the answer to this is quite simple. Maybe it’s because it’s in my nature to question just about everything, that for years I found this question tough to answer.
On the one hand, I’m outgoing, I enjoy being around people, I’m a team player who loves collaboration and feedback but I also find large groups and networking to be quite draining and I crave alone time. I do my best work in solitude and find I collaborate most effectively after I’ve had time to gather my thoughts and ideas alone – not during brainstorm sessions.
After reading Susan Cain’s best seller, “The Power of Introverts”, I was convinced – these are my people. Thus, when it comes to my work life I’ve made it pretty clear to anyone who asks, “I am an introvert”, a proud one at that. But at times I have questioned the validity of those personality tests I’d taken. Can’t I, or anyone else for that matter, be a little bit of both?
Imagine my pleasant surprise when I discovered the “forgotten personality type”, the Ambivert. What is an Ambivert? Coined by psychologist Hans Eysenck, ambiverts = balance. They are the healthy medium. They bridge the gap between the hypersensitivity of some introverts and the overbearing nature of some extroverts.
- Energized by external stimulation—with people, environment, activity
- Processes thoughts while talking
- Motivated by external rewards, recognition and feedback
- Outgoing—easy to get to know
- Energized internally, while being alone
- Craves solitude to balance out social time
- Speaks only when they have something to say
- Thinks before speaking, processing thoughts internally
- Socially flexible—comfortable in social situations or being alone
- Skilled at communicating—intuits when to listen or to talk
- Moderate in mood—not overly expressive or reserved
- Adaptable—no default mode, so they change their approach to fit the situation
Do any of these sound familiar to you? Discovering your personality type can be enlightening, even empowering – especially in the workplace.
Throughout your career you will encounter many different people. You’ll work with, manage, and report to people with diverse backgrounds and a variety of personality traits.
Learning how to navigate these differences is just as important as appreciating and respecting your own.
Do recognition and rewards motivate your team? Is there someone on your team who prefers to work in solitude? Are brainstorm sessions energizing your colleagues? Have you asked? Finding out and acting on how you can get the best work from your team is never a bad idea.
As for me, although I am not pledging my allegiance to the ambiverts just yet, I definitely appreciate another option in the personality traits catalogue.