Why it's better to be an 'ambivert' than introvert or extrovert

Ambiverts are better salespeople, for instance

It's hard for most of us to decide whether we're introverted or extroverted—and that's a good thing, workforce expert Travis Bradberry writes for LinkedIn's "Pulse."

Bradberry notes that some people are clear introverts—they tend to have naturally high levels of dopamine stimulation in their brains, and may end up avoiding extra social stimulation that can overwhelm them. Meanwhile, others who are inherently extroverts may have naturally low levels of stimulation and seek out solutions to their feelings of boredom.

From our experts: Major gift officers with the "curious chameleon" personality type are more likely to be successful fundraisers

But according to Bradberry, "the vast majority of us aren't introverts or extroverts—we fall somewhere in the middle."

Bradberry cites research from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania professor Adam Grant that about two-thirds of people do not strongly identify as introverts or extroverts. Rather, these individuals tend to be "ambiverts," who share tendencies with both introverted and extroverted people and can adjust their behaviors, often based on the situation.

As a result, Bradberry believes that ambiverts possess a "distinct advantage" in work and social settings compared with extroverts and introverts.

He again cites Grant's research, which suggests that ambiverts—not extroverts, as is commonly thought—have the best inherent gifts as salespeople. Specifically, one of Grant's studies found that ambiverts sold 51% more product per hour than the average salesperson, likely because of their characteristic social flexibility.

Bradberry believes that the findings are a reminder: To know yourself is essential in the workplace.

"It's important to pin down where you fall in the introversion/extroversion scale," Bradberry concludes. "By increasing your awareness of your type, you can develop a better sense of your tendencies and play to your strengths" (Bradberry, "Pulse," LinkedIn, 11/8).

Thoughts on the story? Tweet us at @eab_daily and let us know.

Next in Today's Briefing

As he says goodbye, Secretary Arne Duncan lays out higher ed priorities

Next Briefing

  • Manage Your Events
  • Saved webpages and searches
  • Manage your subscriptions
  • Update personal information
  • Invite a colleague