The introverted, extroverted axis is one pillar of personality. It is crucial in understanding oneself, to be happier, better in one’s skin, more at ease with others.
One factor is at the heart of many personality assessments is whether you are introverted or extroverted. There are some theories about the differences between introverts and extroverts, and some recent research has even shown that our genetic makeup has a lot to do with the strongest tendencies in each of us. Introversion and extroversion are in fact related to the origin of our energy. Or how we recharge our brain. Introverts (or those of us with introverted tendencies) recharge by spending time alone. They lose energy by being around people for long periods of time, especially crowds. Extroverts get their energy from others. Extroverts find that their energy is undermined when they spend too much time alone. They recharge by being social.
Both introverts and extroverts are essential. Introverts and extroverts have different characteristics, and they are likely to use different techniques to get the job done. Introverts and extroverts complement each other, and both are equally likely to be successful in their chosen careers.
When working toward important goals, introverts and extroverts may do things that do not come naturally to them. For example, an introvert may not particularly enjoy team meetings or company parties but may enjoy and thrive on one-on-one conversations. An extrovert may not like to work for long periods at their desk with little contact, but will complete the task if asked to do so by their supervisor or a co-worker.
Characteristics of Introverts
If you agree with the following statements, you may be introverted.
Here are some of the most common characteristics of introverts:
- You only talk to people at work when you need to.
- You like to keep all your interactions at work short but meaningful.
- You prefer to work alone, and thinking things through in your mind helps you more than talking to others.
- If you are interrupted, you may become agitated easily.
- Interacting with other people drains your energy.
- You prefer to give others a chance to volunteer before taking on a new job or assignment.
- You recognize the personal lives of others and are a good listener.
- You don’t like all social discussions or gossip.
- You sometimes choose not to attend non-business gatherings or parties. For example, you may attend the launch party for your company’s latest product, but you probably don’t want to go out with colleagues afterward.
- You are an excellent problem solver who tries to think about potential problems before they become realities.
- . When you present a plan or suggest a policy change, it is detailed and the reasons for the change are detailed.
- You observe people’s behavior more often than you interact with them.
- When necessary, you may act as a diplomat or interpreter to resolve conflicts and explain different points of view while remaining emotionally aim.
- You have a realistic understanding of your own abilities.
- You have the patience to learn new skills and eliminate many of your flaws.
- You like to start your day with solitary tasks, such as reading your e-mails or updating your calendar.
- You usually choose the least risky action, if possible.
- You enjoy intimate conversations more than large gatherings.
Being introverted can have some drawbacks. Sometimes introverts have to work harder to establish relationships in the workplace. This can prevent them from taking advantage of networking opportunities, for example. Since introverts are usually not the first to volunteer for tasks, some people may feel they lack initiative. They may also feel uncomfortable expressing themselves when a supervisor asks for feedback. While introverts rarely suffer burnout from making excessive commitments, they may need to take a break because they do not delegate enough of their work to others or because they feel too isolated. They may find it difficult to trust people and be nervous during interviews.
Characteristics of Extroverts
If you rather agree with several of these statements, you can be an extrovert:
- Approaching new people is not a problem. You consider everyone as a potential customer or friend.
- You enjoy working with others and exchanging ideas.
- The energy you get from interacting with others motivates you to do more and improve your performance.
- Talking to people can inspire you.
- You enjoy volunteering for committees or organizing corporate events.
- You can make friends quickly.
- You talk about your personal life with your colleagues.
- You can use your charisma to inspire your team members to do their best.
- You often check on the progress of your subordinates.
- You like to start your day by meeting people.
- You often take part in informal brainstorming sessions with colleagues or subordinates.
- You often explain your projects in meetings.
- You often take risks, but they are not always profitable.
- You trust people easily.
Like being introverted, there are some disadvantages to being extroverted. Extroverts could easily volunteer to take on more extra work than they can handle. It is harder for them to concentrate because they stop everything they are doing to engage in unnecessary conversations to do their job. Sometimes friends or colleagues can take advantage of their confidence by exploiting the willingness of extroverts to do favors and help people.
Using their energy to impress others and gain their respect can make extroverts more vulnerable to burnout. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, learn to say no sometimes to responsibilities that are not part of your job description. If you need more help, ask for it.
Extroverts are often so enthusiastic in meetings that they can prevent others from expressing themselves. They need to remember to let others talk about their ideas and to set aside time for each employee to contribute to the discussions. They must also ensure that they maintain appropriate boundaries at work and keep their decisions transparent to avoid problems.
What does an ambivalent personality look like?
Ambiverts or omnivores are people in the middle of the spectrum of extroversion or introversion. They can enjoy a meal with friends or a night alone with a good book. According to Barry Smith, director of the Human Psychophysiology Laboratories at the University of Maryland, about two-thirds of people are ambivalent. You can be ambivalent if:
- You can adapt easily to a variety of different situations. You are comfortable networking with colleagues at parties or focusing on a single task, and you can be assertive and charismatic or calm and reflective.
- You don’t feel exhausted by being outgoing or being alone with your thoughts and feelings.
- In conversations, you know when to talk and when to listen. People rarely interrupt you or stop you from speaking, and you don’t interrupt them when they do.
- You can use different approaches to communicate effectively with introverts and extroverts.
- Your flexibility and ability to change the way you interact with different people could make you an excellent salesperson and counselor.
While ambivalence enjoys the best of both worlds in many situations, there are still some drawbacks to being ambivalent. They often find it harder to choose between private and social events. They may feel bored with solitary tasks and become irritable or unusually calm in a social situation for which they are not in the mood. They may also be uncertain about their long-term career goals.
After reading this article, are you more introverted, extroverted, or ambivalent?
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