Ambiverts are better leaders than extroverts and introverts. Why is it so?
Psychologists have long argued about who is better — an extrovert or an introvert. The answer is simple: be an ambivert. These are the people who make the best leaders. They can change their management style depending on the situation.
Find out if you are an ambivert: take the test Menteora!
The term “ambivert advantage” was coined by Wharton School of Business professor Adam Grant in 2013 study. He doubted that extroverts were more successful and effective salespeople.
Adam Grant studied 340 call center employees’ behavior and found that those in the middle of the extraversion scale brought in the most income. The worst performers were those who were either highly introverted or highly extroverted.
Grant says ambiverts “have a flexible pattern of speaking and listening.” Therefore, they show enough confidence and enthusiasm to convince the buyer and close the deal. Ambiverts are “more likely to listen to clients’ interests and not appear overly excited or opinionated.”
Carl Moore, Associate Professor of Management at McGill University and Associate Fellow at Oxford University, has been researching ambivert behavior for years. He estimates that 40% of top business leaders are extroverts, 40% are introverts, and 20% are “true ambiverts.” These findings are based on interviews with 350 senior executives.
In his book We’re All Ambiverts, Moore says that working through the pandemic required leaders to tap into the strengths of extroversion and introversion. For example, leaders must listen and process feedback to provide a flexible and comfortable work environment. But they also needed to show confidence and enthusiasm to rally and guide the team into the unknown.
New York-based startup coach and CEO Alice Kohn says ambivert management is “more about an adaptive leadership style” than a complete personality change. “I think it’s not so much about working on your shortcomings as it is about developing your ability to push yourself out of your comfort zone,” she explains.
How to develop ambivert qualities? People who consider themselves extroverts may listen more rather than talk. Introverts can be active in meetings. I like to practice this behavior three, four, or five times a day and give myself points.
While working on his research, Moore met the introverted CEO Claude Mongeot, the former head of the Canadian National Railway. Monjo worked with a leadership coach who gave him a clicker to record all the extraverted skills he practiced daily. It was the little things, like saying hello to someone or chatting about the weather.
“The most successful leaders are those who can assess the situation and adapt their style as needed,” says Cohn. “Then other people feel heard and accepted.”