Article in Brief: What does it really means to be an Extrovert or an Introvert? Are these traits being loosely used to set people in defined groups?
I recently attended a psychometrics assessment course in which one of the main components was to study personality types in an attempt to understand people better; be it for recruitment and selection or learning and development.
One of the measures in personality assessment is identifying where you fit on a scale of extroversion vs. introversion, a scale that was developed and first popularized by Carl Jung. According to Jung, extroverts get their stimulation from outside themselves and tend to be enthusiastic, talkative, assertive, and enjoy the company of others. Introverts, on the other hand, are stimulated from within and are usually quiet, reflective, and have a preference for solitude.
The discussions that followed peaked my interest as the trainer went on to explain that in today’s workforce, introverts are generally misunderstood as they are seen as overly shy and aloof. It appears that the term introvert can have a negative connotation to some who do not understand the true nature of introverts. In fact, Jung had also observed during his research that society placed higher value on extroverts and it appears that the trend has continued to this day.
As an introvert myself, I experience firsthand the misconceptions that can occur in the workforce. I am constantly being told that I need to speak up or be more assertive. What they fail to see is that we all have different traits and our approach is different. However, the general consensus is still that loud employees who are outgoing and don’t mind spending hours chatting away are seen as more dominant and worthy of managerial roles, while the quieter ones who prefer their solitude as they diligently finish their work are seen as unassertive and incapable.
In the book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”, author Susan Cain talks about how extroversion is now seen as an ideal standard which people feel they must live up to in order to get that job or promotion. This notion is further encouraged with the way that extroverts are portrayed in the media despite having strong figures such as President Obama and Bill Gates who are introverts.
However, recent research suggests that reliance on extroverts alone will only lead to failure unless employers realize the true worth of introverts. This is not to say that introverts can outperform extroverts, but that a balance is needed for any organization to be successful. Each personality type brings with it a set of strengths and weaknesses and it is for this reason that both should be given the same opportunities and valued equally.
- Helping Psychology (2009). “Carl Jung: Extravert vs. Introvert”. Retrieved 14 May 2014. http://www.helpingpsychology.com/carl-jung-extrovert-vs-introvert
- Mind Development. “Carl Jung and Jungian Analytical Psychology”. Retrieved 14 May 2014. http://www.mind-development.eu/jung.html
- The Ladders (2014).”Can Introverts Get Ahead in the Workplace?” Retrieved 14 May 2014. http://www.theladders.com/career-advice/can-introverts-get-ahead-in-the-workplace
- Profiles International (2012). “Quiet but not Forgotten: The Plight of the Introvert in Today’s Workforce”. Retrieved 14 May 2014. http://info.profilesinternational.com/profiles-employee-assessment-blog/bid/109585/Quiet-but-Not-Forgotten-The-Plight-of-the-Introvert-in-Today-s-Workforce
Bahar is a recruiter by profession, an aspiring writer by night, and a mom of toddler twins. She has an unending thirst for learning, as she completed her BComm in Canada, an MA in Dubai, and continues to develop herself with reading and research.
With her column, she shares her journey as she grows and learns more about this crazy beautiful world we live in.