Yin Leadership Strength & Challenge: Loyalty

Loyalty is the capacity to stick to and stand by a person, a cause or an organization.  People who are loyal remain committed to people or things in good times and bad.  The opposite of loyalty would be some version of fickleness or fair-weatheredness.  It’s easy to stick with someone or something when things are going well.  But when things get difficult . . .  True loyalty is often very costly.  It frequently involves the willingness to stand by someone at great personal expense.  On the whole, there appears to be a shortage of loyalty today.  Americans, as a whole,
Read More

Introvert-Extrovert Continuum

Binary Things (or) Many characteristics of human beings are either-orkinds of distinctions.  We are either male or female.  We are alive or dead.  Many of us talk of introversionor extroversion as if it were a binary thing.  We speak as if people are either one or the other.  Many people are surprised to learn that we even have a term for those in-between, ambiverts.  With this new found knowledge, we then want to divide people into three categories instead of just two. Things on a Continuum Other things are on a continuum (kənˈtinyo͞oəm): n: a continuous sequence in which adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from each other, although
Read More

Introversion: Independent or Interdependent?

Clash Two cultural psychologists, Hazel Markus and Alana Conner recently (2013) published Clash: 8 Cultural Conflicts That Make Us Who We Are.  It’s a brilliant look at the things that tend to divide us from one another.  Among the things they discuss are: masculinity/femininity, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, regional distinctions, religious differences, workplace sectors, global north / south economics. Overriding these cultural differences, they see a core clash between independence and interdependence.  When the authors connected independence to western culture (yang-dominant) and interdependence to eastern culture (yin-dominant), I immediately connected the dots to the conversation about introversion and extroversion.  Here’s how the
Read More

Yin Leadership Challenge: Self Acceptance

Carl Rogers built an entire counseling theory on the core human need for self-acceptance. Believing that the rejection that we have experienced from significant others is at the root of our psychological struggle, Rogers set out to give his clients a gift: unconditional positive regard. What we now know is that this aspect of Rogers’ theory is the greatest factor in the therapeutic relationship. Being accepted by others as we are opens the door for us to begin to accept ourselves. I would argue that no greater struggle exists for an introvert than the possession of self-acceptance. Because our nature
Read More

Myers Briggs?

Recently, one of the leading instruments used in the therapeutic and business communities to determine aspects of temperament (including intraversion-extraversion) has come under fire. For a recent article discussing the credibility of the MBTI (Myers Briggs Temperament Inventory), click here. In our consulting and coaching work with clients, we use the DISC (from TTI Success Insights) to measure similar traits in people. I have long found that the DISC model, with its use of four dimensions of human behavior and related traits provides a much more nuanced as well as a “stickier” model to help people understand themselves and others
Read More

It’s All In Your Head

With the advent of the fMRI, PETscans and other means of exploring previously less understood inner workings of the human brain, our understandings of introversion and extroversion have been greatly advanced. Our language, however, often still reveals our ignorance on these matters. “Stop being so introverted. You’re in your head too much; it’s depressing. Let loose, have some fun.” We might just as well ask a leopard to change his spots. Far from being a choice or preference, introversion at one end of the continuum is actually visible in brain scans. At either extreme of the spectrum marked on one
Read More

No News Isn’t Always Good News

Published previously on LinkedIn. We have several idioms in English that express the basic sentiment that in the absence of more information people assume the best. “No news is good news” and other similar truisms are only true for maybe 1/3 or less of the population (the optimistic extroverts). What we know about the temperament of different people in the workplace dictates our understanding of this principle. For the outgoing positive extroverts in the office, this is their default setting. With no additional information, they will almost always assume the best. For them, the saying is pretty accurate. But, for
Read More

Diversity and Workplace Conflict

We humans are incredibly diverse as a species. Our differences exist on so many different levels, they are hard to meaningfully enumerate. These differences, diversity, are what makes life interesting and challenging. On our worst days in our exasperation, we say to ourselves, “Why can’t she be more like me?” We breathe a silent request for greater similarity and uniformity. I speak and write often on the subject of interpersonal conflict (its nature, development, prevention and resolution) in the workplace. By far, the most frequent answer I receive to the question, “What causes conflict?” is this idea of differences or
Read More