The Extrovert Ideal

The next time you read a job advertisement, I can guarantee you that the requirements of the job will involve “good communication skills”, “an outgoing personality”, “enthusiastic”, or some sort of synonym for the above. But businesses (especially big organisations) typically already have their own idea of what “enthusiastic” looks like. Someone who preaches their ideas, enjoys speaking, can lead a meeting and hold the rooms attention with their woo, or work in an open office space collaboratively.

However not all of us have the personality type conducive to this behaviour. Does this mean we will fail on the job? No. It simply means we have different ways of going about getting to the same destination.  

Nowadays, being extroverted is ideal and the quiet reflective types are not seen as the leader. There are classes you can do on how to speak in public, social and networking events pushed weekly…and all those meetings.

 If you’re extroverted, you’re probably reading this wondering how any of this is a problem. If you’re introverted, you’re probably already exhausted. There is only so much flexibility in our personalities before we snap, so how do we create workspaces and workforces that are conducive and encouraging for both personality types?

Brian Little, an internationally acclaimed scholar and speaker in the field of personality, suggests that the answer lies in restorative niches, or making time to recharge in your own way. For example as an extrovert you can feel drained when there isn’t much action. A restorative niche for you might look like a vibrant stroll around the office to chat with your work friends, or putting some time in your calendar to chuck your headphones on and listen to some loud, upbeat music. If you’re an introvert too much interaction and stimulation is draining and if frequent can cause high levels of anxiety. A restorative niche for you might look like frequent walks to the kitchen on your lonesome to make yourself a fresh cup of tea, or some time blocked out of your calendar to sit on your own and focus your whole attention on your work (without the background noise).

Unfortunately, often we can’t give 100% of our time to the things that recharge us, but incorporating a restorative niche into your day (whatever the context – work, home, a social event) will ensure that you’re never flexing too far in the wrong direction.

What does your restorative niche look like?



Team TBM xx

Tagged with: Wellbeing

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