Until very recently, there have only been two options –introvert, or extrovert. You either prefer to live in a cave and do your shopping online, as to avoid as many humans as possible, or you’re a loud, abrasive, attention seeker. Those are your two options. Well, not anymore. As it turns out, there is a third category –ambiverts.
No, this personality type does not denote vegetarianism. Ambiverts are smack dab in the middle of the spectrum between introvert and extrovert. This lesser known personality type is actually where most of us fall in the spectrum. Ambiverts display a balance of traits between extrovert and introverts.
So what does this personality type have to do with employee assessments? Well, for the longest time recruiters and hiring managers would look for high levels of extroversion for certain positions—sales especially. Employers were basing their hiring decisions off of the notion that extroverts had the confidence, charisma and nerve to land sales. They can chat people up and get down right aggressive if need be. Well, turns out we didn’t quite hit the nail on the head with this assumption.
The balance of extroversion and introversion that ambiverts possess actually makes them top performers in sales, and several other workplace roles. Author and psychologist Adam Grant conducted a study that revealed ambiverts can outsell the other two personality types.Ambiverts beat out introverts by 24% more sales revenue, and extroverts by 32%.
Beyond proving that ambiverts tend to make the ideal sales person, the study actually found that introverts and extrovert’s sales numbers were roughly the same. Extroverts do not (in any capacity, really) make better sales people.
“Ambiverts achieve greater sales productivity than extraverts or introverts do…Because they naturally engage in a flexible pattern of talking and listening, ambiverts are likely to express sufficient assertiveness and enthusiasm to persuade and close a sale, but are more inclined to listen to customers’ interests and less vulnerable to appearing too excited or overconfident.” – Adam Grant, Author and Psychologist
In the “read also” section: Check out this HuffPo article from Adam Grant for more on personality type myths. We aim to inform, folks!
To start, ambiverts tend to be more emotionally stable. They are your “go with the flow” workers, who don’t like to cause a scene. They are very rarely influenced by outside factors, and don’t generally show signs of extreme sensitivity like their introverted friends.
Because they don’t tend to take themselves or others too seriously, they are the perfect middle ground between the boisterous extroverts, and isolated introverts. They are able to stay neutral when the opposing ‘verts hit the fan.
Ambiverts also display a lot of flexibility. They are sort of the chameleons of the workforce—content in most situations. While they’re good at blending in, they also have a knack for standing out as influencers due to their impressive work performance.
“These findings [Grant’s sales study] mean we need to rethink the personality traits that define a successful salesperson and reconsider some of our traditional assumptions about hiring and training. When hiring we should select for ambiversion. When interviewing or checking out referees we need to question for evidence that the candidate knows how to balance assertion and holding back.” – Harry Mills, CEO and Marketing Expert
Information about personality types doesn’t just affect sales departments; it affects every position you can think of. With the knowledge we have about personality types and employee assessment tools, it is completely possible to make better matches, hire the ideal person every time, and build better teams at work.
Carl Jung, the man credited with popularizing the idea of the ambivert, was spot on when he said, “There is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert. Such a person would be in the lunatic asylum.” We’ve all got a little hermit crab and life of the party in us.
Bio: Ryan Mead, CEO/Partner
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