I'm an ambivert. The simple explanation is I'm both extrovert and introvert. People who don't know me well assume I'm an extrovert because of my job. As a career coach, trainer, speaker and owner of a business, my work requires me to  be "on" most of the time. I have to look and act comfortable in front of lots of people. However, those who know me well know I recharge by being alone. I need downtime from people. It's the only way I can calm my brain and relax. 

Advantages of Being an Ambivert

When you understand what it's like to be both an extrovert and an introvert, it can help you relate to the people you work with better. Especially, if you are in a leadership position.  Here are four ways I've used being an ambivert to my advantage.

1) I know when to give introverts time to collect their thoughts. Introverts aren't comfortable being put on the spot. They appreciate time to contemplate and then respond. I allow my introverted coworkers ample time to review and come to their own conclusions so they can feel comfortable articulating their ideas and responses.

2) I know when to give extroverts the opportunity to speak their mind. Extroverts want to openly contribute. They are energized by speaking and engaging with others. I create opportunities for my extroverted coworkers to talk and share their thoughts and feelings so they can be heard.

3) I can sense when an extrovert is overwhelming an introvert. When an extrovert is spending too much time talking, it can be a major distraction for the introvert. There are times when I need to step in and create opportunities for the introvert to have some quiet time to calm his or her brain. 

4) I can sense when an introvert is frustrating an extrovert. When an introvert is overly quiet and absorbed in thought, it can make an extrovert feel snubbed and zapped of energy. There are times when I need to step in and help the extrovert understand the advantages of giving the introvert more time to process their thoughts.

It Pays To Understand Your Coworkers' Style

Recognizing and appreciating the communication needs of your coworkers is one of the best ways to build trust and respect. It also can help you lead more productive teams. Start by figuring out if you are an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert. Then, study all three styles so you can better anticipate what the members of your team need to feel appreciated and understood. In my experience, it can make a huge difference in how your team bonds and works together!

Published on: Jul 31, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.