Source | www.bbc.com | Bryan Lufkin
Blending both extrovert and introvert personality types can make you indispensable in the office – and finding that balance is a skill we can all master.
It’s like asking someone if they’re a cat person or a dog person – so basic, almost tribal: are you an extrovert or an introvert?
Each of these identities has its own strengths and weaknesses, yet it seems there’s constant debate about which it is better to be. Some say the internet has a “love affair” with introverts, and that being an introvert is, at long last, cool, particularly during the pandemic. That’s likely a reaction to a culture that has long seemed to celebrate and reward extroverts, especially in many Western countries and particularly in the workforce, where they’re able to use their natural people skills. Complicating things further, some research has shown that introverts can outshine extroverts as leaders, despite the fact that the confident demeanour of an extrovert fits many people’s image of a typical CEO.
So, which is it? Who has more of an edge, and who’s more successful at work: bubbly, outgoing workers; or reserved, restrained ones? The answer, it turns out, is those who can be both: the chameleon-like ambivert.
Blending the best of both personality types can make you indispensable in the office, experts say. And although acting like both extrovert and introvert might feel tricky at times, it’s a skill we can all master, with a little practice.
Research shows that workers who mix qualities of both introversion and extroversion can perform better on the job in settings like sales (Credit: Alamy)
The ‘ambivert advantage’
Adam Grant, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, coined the term ‘the ambivert advantage’ in a 2013 study that challenged notions of extroverts being more successful and productive in a sales environment. After studying 340 call-centre employees, Grant found that the workers who made the most sales revenue were those who fell in the middle of the extroversion scale. In fact, the results made a bell curve: the worst performers were the workers who were either extremely introverted, or extremely extroverted.