- Those who embody both introvert and extrovert tendencies are known as ambiverts.
- Ambiverts thrive in a workplace environment, even virtual ones.
- Here’s how the pandemic has influenced our personality types.
When the pandemic first hit, everyone joked about checking in on your extroverted friends. Extroverts, energized by social interactions, were undoubtedly impacted by the shift to virtual working and limited ability to connect in person. Meanwhile, introverts, or people who enjoy spending time alone, thrived in isolation.
But according to an upcoming book, “We Are All Ambiverts Now,” by Karl Moore, both sides of the personality spectrum needed to make shifts during the pandemic to thrive in the virtual workplace. The result? More people are shifting toward the ambiverted personality type, a combination of both introverted and extroverted traits.
Here’s a look at what makes an ambivert, how this personality type became more common during the pandemic, and how you can use its desirable traits to put you ahead in the workplace.
Introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts
Whether you’re hearing these terms for the first time or have already identified with where you fall on the spectrum, Molly Owens, CEO of Truity, a personality-test and career-assessment site, said that these personality types are somewhat malleable.
“These personality theories created by [American writers Katharine Cook] Briggs and [Isabel Briggs] Myers work on the assumption that we all gravitate toward introversion or extroversion but can learn to adapt and use skills from the other type,” she said.” “Someone who tests in the middle of the scale is an ambivert. But so is the person who can comfortably bounce between the two extremes.”
What is the difference between the two sides of the spectrum?
“Broadly, we think of extroverts as people who gain energy from others, whereas introverts recharge by spending time alone,” Owens said. “If you never refuse an invitation to the party, you’re an extrovert. If you’d rather stay home and read a book, then you’re probably an introvert — or so the theory goes.”
How we became ambiverts during the pandemic
According to Owens, stress can cause personality changes, which could be why more people have become ambiverted recently.
“Given the massive changes to lifestyle and work that the pandemic wrought, it’s quite likely that many extroverts had to learn how to flex their introvert muscles, so to speak, to become closer to ambiverts, and adjust to the new reality of individual projects, less social interaction at work and other widespread changes,” she said. “It’s something that introverts have been doing for many, many years. As the work world tends to reward extroverted personalities, introverts have long been known to use faking-it-until-they-make-it tactics to mimic extrovert tendencies.”
Both sides of the personality spectrum had to adapt to address the pandemic’s workplace challenges. For example, extroverted leaders who were used to acting rather than listening needed to hear the needs of their team members to know the proper steps to take. Learning to listen was critical for extroverts during the pandemic — especially those in leadership roles. On the flip side, introverted leaders needed to communicate effectively with their teams, keeping morale up and work engagement high throughout the pandemic.
Cultivating an effective leadership style
If you’re an extrovert, powerful introverted skills to hone include being more thoughtful, working individually, critical listening, and focusing. Conversely, introverts who can master the art of performing well in a group setting and presenting effectively to team members are most likely to get ahead — especially in today’s constantly evolving workplace.
“Being flexible and able to adapt across changing work styles and situations is a powerful advantage when the world of work, in particular, is changing so quickly,” Owens said.
Keep in mind that adopting certain skills from the opposite side of the spectrum shouldn’t mean ignoring your innate introverted or extroverted needs. After spending time listening to others and working in solitude, extroverts may need to schedule social opportunities to recharge throughout the day to continue thriving. Similarly, introverts may need to schedule pockets of time to recharge their batteries after presenting or working closely with others. Understanding your needs based on your personality type is the first step to cultivating a more flexible, ambiverted approach.