We hear so much about introverts and extroverts, that you could be fooled into thinking that these were the two main types of personalities found in every single workplace. Whilst it’s true that many people are either one, there is another type which we need to pay attention to. There is also some evidence to suggest that this type of personality may be the most valuable in the workplace.
An ambivert is an even balance of both the introvert and the extrovert. You could say that they possess both personality types’ strengths and weaknesses, but depending upon the situation at hand, they are able to channel either option. Obviously in business this is extremely useful. An employee who is just as able to handle large social situations, e.g. giving presentations, as they are dealing with low-key methodical work at regular office desks, is a true asset.
To really sum up how an ambivert is useful, we need to talk about the strengths of both the introvert and the extrovert. This will give us a wider pictures of the strengths of the ambivert.
The strengths of the extrovert are:
- Being able to thrive well in social situations
- A great creative thinker
- A good problem solver
- Excitable and enthusiastic
- A great team player and collaborator, with furniture such as bench desks ideal to help them work with others
- Can bring employees together with their infectious enthusiasm
- A good leader and role model
The strengths of the introvert are:
- A great listener
- A true deep thinker
- Highly developed analytical skills
- Quiet confidence
- A creative mind and problem solver
- Methodical. Being left to work alone at their workstation means they will have the ideal environment in which to complete the task to a high level
If you can mix together the two types, you get a seriously impressive employee! In many ways, that is what an ambivert personality type gives you.
The Qualities of an Ambivert
An ambivert often encompasses all of the above, but they have the following:
- The ability to know when to listen and when to speak, without a real leaning in either direction – this makes ambiverts great conversationalists
- Not too expressive, but not particularly reserved either – this helps them to deal with a variety of different people and situations
- Comfortable either working alone or within teams, e.g. in situations which are more sociable
Basically, an ambivert is the height of adaptiveness and flexibility, and that’s the perfect blend of employee for any manager to have. This type of employee is also more able to deal with change, e.g. their adaptiveness means they can handle changes in the working environment, such as if hot desking is implemented, for example.
How to Get The Most of an Ambivert
An ambivert thrives in most situations, but not every ambivert is a complete blend. It could be that you have a member of staff who is mostly ambivert, but has a leaning more towards the introverted side of the spectrum, or the extroverted. This means that you need to be able to effectively identify this, and call out to that leaning.
For example, if you have an ambivert who is quite flexible, but they do prefer quieter spaces, you should give them more tasks which are introvert-related, but you can still give them the odd extrovert task, because you know they are quite able to deal with it, without any problems. Ambiverts are great collaborators and problem solvers, and work equally as well in collaborative workspaces, as they do quiet booths, on more concentrated tasks.
It’s also a good idea to make sure that you give variation of tasks to ambivert, because they are so wide-ranging in the situations they can deal with. If they are more towards the extroverted side of the scale, variation will also stop them from being bored or from being under-stimulated in the workplace. In order for any member of staff to do well, they need to be challenged and find the tasks they have enjoyable. Effective space planning will also be useful, because it will help them to find the right type of environment for the task they have at hand, e.g. quiet or collaborative.
We all know that working together in teams is key to productivity, and also a great way to come up with creative solutions to problems. An ambivert’s flexibility will help you to find those solutions, especially when working closely with the other members of your workforce.