That must be:

  • a sexually confused amphibian?
  • the latest version of a popular face cream, with a new name that marketing thought was really swell?
  • an alien race which didn’t make it into the Star Trek script… ?

Apparently, since the 1920’s, ambiverts have been all around us, and we didn’t even know it!  Honestly, have you ever heard that word??  In reality, ambiverts are us.  That is, most of us are neither true extroverts or total introverts, we’re ambiverts (as concluded by sociologists doing research over the last century).  Now that you know, read this article…

What I find fascinating is how well this tracks my own experience.  Extroverts can easily overwhelm you; all they want to do is talk (often, about themselves) or they want to crawl inside your skin by asking lots of questions and being overbearing.  Introverts don’t talk, generally.  Both have trouble, at least with me, in being persuasive.  And without that persuasive ability, they can’t lead.  They can dictate, they can be in leadership and run from making decisions and then selling them to others, or they can crash & burn while doing countless combinations of both.  True confessions here: I consider myself a borderline extrovert of the “crawl in their skin” variety.  There are people out there, I believe, who now avoid me because the last time we talked I asked wwaaayyy too many questions, and thus persuaded them to put me on their “flee at first sight” list.  My challenge, which the article doesn’t address in depth, is to find the winsome balance.  Not all effective leaders are winsome, and sometimes leadership requires barking orders, but most leadership today requires leaders who win the hearts and minds of their team, and thus persuade them regarding which course is the best.

I’m also impressed by the way the author builds his case from actual research, which others can verify, to correct the impression that most of us have.  [Extroverts make the best leaders.]  This is the kind of information which is actually useful to me, as a business and family leader.   Finally, the article rebukes the tendency many leaders have to assume that if they know a little bit more than everyone else, they know enough to lead, thereby avoiding the hard work of doing their own research.

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