Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Introverts, Extroverts and Ambiverts

Do not limit to your personality, but develop it to mature you as a great human being and an effective leader.

The term “Introverts” and “Extraverts” were introduced by the psychologist Carl Jung in the earlier 20th century. An extrovert is to describe a person whose motives and actions are directed outward. Extroverts are more prone to action than contemplation, and generally, show warm interest in their surroundings. An introvert is to describe a person whose motives and actions are directed inward. Introverts tend to be preoccupied with their own thoughts and feelings and minimize their contact with other people. As many concepts introduced at industrial age, the focus is too much on the two polar sides of personality, with ignorance of the middle ground - Ambiverts, the emergent concept to describe the personality in between, which has both introverted and extroverted traits, but neither trait is dominant, as a result, they have more balanced or adaptive personalities to fit in different circumstances. From the leadership perspective, who makes the better leader and why? What do introverts need to learn to advance? What problems do extroverts have? Do ambiverts have a blended personality to become a digital leader with agility and balance?

Research has actually found that there is a difference comes from how introverts and extroverts process stimuli. The stimulation coming into our brains is processed differently depending on your personality. For extroverts, the pathway is much shorter. It runs through an area where taste, touch, visual and auditory sensory processing takes place. For an introvert, stimuli run through a long, complicated pathway in areas of the brain associated with remembering, planning and solving problems. Introversion is turning inward toward the interior world of ideas, feelings, fantasies, intuitions, sensations, and other facets of subjective experience. Extroverts, on the other hand, live almost exclusively in and for the exterior world, deriving fulfillment from regular interaction with outer reality.

Extroverts need to experience the world to understand it. Introverts need to understand the world before they experience it. It's not that introverts can't display an extroverted behavior or vice versa, it's how they feel at the end of the day. There are many benefits to being an introvert and many ways they contribute to society. An introvert may more sound like a leader, but introverts often have great perspectives on every topic, they think more like a leader, and they should not be underestimated. They are like paper bills, might not be as loud as coins, but may worth more than them.

Ambivert is a complementary concept to cover the personality spectrum between the two ends - introverts and extroverts: “Introvert" and "extrovert" are too simple groups to divide people into. Another misconception is that extraversion and introversion are general personality traits. One can be an extrovert, or more correctly, display extrovert behavior in certain situations while being introvert in other ones. All decent measures of personality traits are not black and white but allow for varying levels of traits to come forward. That’s why the concept ambiverts are emerging: Ambiverts move between being social or being solitary, speaking up or listening carefully with a thoughtful mind and passionate heart, with emotions to adjust to changes accordingly.

No person is pure introvert or extrovert. Some are louder; others are quieter; some act more; others think more; some enjoy parties, others prefer reading… The world is perfectly fine to have such diversity of personality; the point is, as a business leader today, in face of “VUCA” digital new normal, regardless of your natural personality, you need to think more profoundly before speaking louder or taking action; you have to show the balance of personality traits in order to adapt to the changes, and cultivate higher leadership quotients (Emotional Q + Strategic Q + Creative Q + Paradoxical Q + Insight Q., etc.). Do not limit to your personality, but develop it to mature you as a great human being and an effective leader.


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