Which personality type is most successful in the workplace?
If you’re thinking “introvert” or “extrovert,” you’re probably wrong. The answer, according to a growing body of research, is “ambivert.”
A recent article in The Wall Street Journal highlights the new ideas about ambiversion. Whereas introverts gain energy from periods of quiet reflection and extroverts from social interactions, ambiverts are more flexible.
Psychologists say that most people are ambiverts, meaning they display traits of both introverts and extroverts.
Beth Buelow, founder of The Introvert Entrepreneur, outlined some typical characteristics of ambiverts in The Journal:
- They’re equally comfortable alone and in social situations.
- They’re neither overly expressive nor reserved.
- They know when to listen and when to talk.
Depending on the situation they’re in and the people they’re with, ambiverts can channel their inner wallflower or social butterfly.
That flexibility may serve them well in the workplace. A much-hyped 2013 study by Wharton psychologist Adam Grant, Ph.D., found that among outbound call-center representatives, ambiverts were the most successful sales people. Those who scored exactly in the middle between introversion and extroversion on a personality test earned an average of $208, compared to an average $138 for the whole group.
“It is like they’re bilingual,” Pink told The Journal, referring to ambiverts. “They have a wider range of skills and can connect with a wider rage of people in the same way someone who speaks English and Spanish can.”
Buelow told The Journal that she advises ambiverts to turn their introversion and extroversion on and off depending on the circumstances.
Perhaps just knowing that their personality is malleable will enable ambiverts to be more successful in the workplace. Depending on the situation, they can act more reserved or outgoing, instead of believing they’re limited to a certain set of behaviors.
This article is published in collaboration with Business Insider. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.
To keep up with the Agenda subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Author: Shana Lebowitz is a strategy reporter for Business Insider.
Image: Traders laugh as they work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as the market closes in New York. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson