Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

It seems that the majority of people think negatively about the term introvert and what it means.

Many, especially in retail, feel that being extroverted is beneficial in the workplace by giving you confidence and being fully able to show your talents.

Many think of an introvert as being quiet in the corner and difficult to get along with and almost talking about it as being closer to a kind of Asperser’s syndrome, which it is not.

Ask whether these three statements ring true or false with you:

‘I enjoy solitude.’

‘People describe me as soft spoken or mellow.’

‘I tend to think before I speak.’

If you answered most of those as true then you’re probably an introvert. If most are false then you are probably an extrovert and if you answered them evenly then you’re probably an ambivert.

What the terms measure is how you respond to stimulation. Extroverts need more stimulation, such as larger groups and louder places to feel alive to their fullest.

Whereas introverts do not need as much stimulation and would maybe prefer to be with family because they can socialise in a more easy-going environment.

However, it seems that being an introvert, as I mentioned earlier, is seen as a negative trait and even from a very young age we are, in society, encouraged to be more extroverted.

As soon as a child goes to nursery, and all the way through their school and university education, they are expected to communicate, play and socialise in large groups.

It permeates through every aspect of society and we are constantly tuned to be extroverted because it is seen as the only way to be successful.

However, neither is ‘right’ and studies have shown that the best businesses work with a team which is a mix of introverts and extroverts.

But nowadays society and business is lopsided towards the extrovert and author, Susan Cain, says: “What we have had, in our financial culture, is one that favours a very risk-taking extroverted style of behaving.

“It’s a style of thinking first and acting later and extroverts seem to be really great at seizing the day but the flipside to that is that they don’t see warning signals as easily and they take greater risks.”

Possibly an explanation of the financial crisis is that too many extroverts as at the top and taking unnecessary risks in the banking sector.

It is shown that extroverts also get into more car accidents than introverts because introverts tend to be more cautious and spot the warning signs quicker.

I think I’m probably an ambivert but I guess it’s difficult to tell when you’re judging yourself as you’ll probably always pick what you feel is the ideal rather than the truth.

Famous introverts include JK Rowling, Barack Obama and Steve Wozniak, so you don’t have to try to be extroverted to get along with people or get ahead in life, just be yourself!

What do you think you are and what experiences have you had in business that ties in with any of these topics?

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