In our last post we talked a little bit about how personality means as much – if not more – to success than intelligence does. Specifically, we talked about conscientiousness and how it’s the single most prevalent trait among those who are successful, because they’re organized, focused, orderly people who keep their eye on the prize.
Now let’s look at interaction with other people, more commonly known by fans of the Myers-Briggs personality tests as the Introverts versus the Extroverts. Who among them is the more successful? One might think that the introverts are at a disadvantage. They don’t say much, don’t get to know folks, don’t help themselves. Extroverts know how to mix and mingle. They must be more successful, right?
A Washington Post article states that neither introverts or extroverts have the edge. In fact, it’s the “ambi-vert,” the one that falls in the middle of the scale, that tends to have the most success.
Said author Daniel H. Pink in the 2013 article, “Extroverts can talk too much and listen too little.” And introverts “can be too shy to initiate, too skittish to deliver unpleasant news and too timid to close the deal.” Ambiverts strike the right balance.
The article covered the study of Adam Grant, University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business Professor who looked at sales reps at a software company. He measured their personality and rated their level of introversion/extroversion on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 being the most highly extroverted. After that, he tracked their performance for three months.
“The introverts fared worst; they earned average revenue of $120 per hour. The extroverts performed slightly better, pulling in $125 per hour,” Pink wrote. But the ambiverts? They earned an average of $155 per hour. In fact, those ambiverts who scored a 4.0 on Grant’s test, right smack in the middle of the scale, earned the most, at $208 an hour. They presented a balanced, not-too-loud-and-not-too-shy approach that didn’t overwhelm but didn’t miss the opportunity.
I’m sure that somewhere along the line you’ve taken a personality test to determine where you are on the introvert/extrovert scale. If not, it’s likely you have an idea where you fall. If you’re the life of the party and feel yourself gaining energy the more you talk to people, you’re more extroverted. The introvert experiences a drain of energy in a room of people looking to have a conversation. If one of the above situations describes you to a tee, it’s possible you may be at one of the polar ends of the scale.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t be successful in the workplace. Extroverts can force themselves to tone it down a little, develop stronger listening skills. Introverts can find ways to promote themselves and align with extroverts that will shout their better qualities from the rooftops. But the majority of those reading this find themselves in the middle of the pack. That’s good news – go out and succeed with your incredible balance of people skills and internal conversation!
Next post: Wednesday, April 29