A walk into Ambiversion: Personality Diplomacy

This is Leadership: Leader reflections

This is Leadership

Extroverts should be silent about the things that don’t matter. Introverts should speak up about the things that matter!

On the long introversion – extroversion continuum, there are many stops. Each stop provides meaning within a leader’s personality type. When situations emerge, refresh your being by negotiating with your personality. Personality types define a leader’s disposition and there’s a direct relationship between personality type and human behavior.

Leaders must pick up the habit of self-talk in shaping their personality types. A good self-introspection will do. At any point in time, every individual knows where he or she stands along the introvert – extrovert gauge.

The OCEAN Five Factor Model makes it clear that leaders are distributed across all personality types, though disproportionate. Your position on the introversion – extroversion continuum wouldn’t necessarily determine your effectiveness as a leader.

Introversion and extraversion are too clear blocks of separate personality types and for popular interpretation of clear differentiation between extraversion individual who tend to be outgoing and an introversion personality who appears to be more reflective. Introverts appear team shy, reserved, calm, quiet and are positively reliable. Extroverts are more conversationalist, sociable, outgoing, lively, active, assertive, optimistic and are always looking forward to the next adventure. Both personality types have strengths and weaknesses.

The terms introversion and extraversion which were introduced into psychology and ‘coopted’ into leadership in a bid to summarize a loud or a calm leader was first introduced by Carl Gustav Jung (1875- 1961). Among the main concepts of analytical psychology is individuation which is an enduring psychological progression of differentiation of self, out of each conscious and unconscious state.

Although many of Jung’s work were not published, there are many models developed within the discourse of personality and human behavior. Examples are the Big Five Factor Model (also referred to as the OCEAN Model), Hans Eysenck’s Three- Factor Model, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (the MBTI), the Raymond Cattell’s 16 personality factors and interestingly the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory which proposes a standardized psychometric test of adult personality interpretation and psychopathology.

As a matter of fact, mental health practitioners use this in diagnostics therapeutic examinations and in criminological psychology. Walking in ambiversion towards personality diplomacy requires frequent self-audit just as authentic leaders do. Building strong self-values and discovering where you stand on the introversion-extraversion continuum enlightens your being on the leadership journey.

Some school of thought also argue that you don’t have to work your way into the middle to permanently place yourself as an ambivert leader. They argue that, ambiversion requires trade-offs. You can remain an introvert or an extrovert but can swing to either side depending on the situation. This is where personality diplomacy comes in. There are few times I negotiate with my personality. Try it. It’s a beautiful experience.

There are times you may want to scream, but the diplomacy around your personality will pull the breaks. When you are an extrovert your strength is to be quiet about the things that don’t matter. Interestingly, the introvert should learn to speak their minds on the things that matter. Martin Luther King Jnr’s ‘our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter’, is forever relevant.

This is Leadership!

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