Recipe for Great Work

It takes a multitude of personality types to make the world go ‘round, especially in the creative realm. Consider the perfect gumbo recipe. Individually you have ingredients like okra, sausage and shrimp, which are just fine when used separately, but combine to create a flavor explosion. Similarly, creative teams are made up of diverse personalities such as introverts, extroverts and ambiverts, who together create the spice of life when bringing their individual strengths and traits to the table.

Creative Introverts
Before I throw any stats out, let me just state that “shy” and “introvert” should not be used interchangeably, as they often are. An art director who is shy for example, would have a difficult time pitching an idea to an account executive. Being shy is based on fear of social situations; however, an introvert has no problem presenting a concept.

When presented a task, an introvert designer may meet with the team, transcribe notes, take those nuggets to their desk and begin to absorb all the information gathered. Some of their best ideas come in times of solitude, and there’s nothing wrong with that because they are literally wired differently. The neurotransmitters of the brain in an introvert show that they are very sensitive to Dopamine. In other words, too much stimulation from the outside world may exhaust them.

Now for the numbers; approximately half of Americans are introverts. What is ironic about this data is that if so many Americans are introverts, then why have they been so misunderstood and mislabeled for decades? Simple. The culture in America doesn’t reflect it because most introverts feel forced to put on an extrovert suit to join the ‘club’ and be accepted. I believe that’s where we as a creative industry need to educate ourselves as to what they can provide and what vital assets they can bring to the table.

How Introverts Shine:

  • Their blatant honesty is refreshing, as they don’t like to beat around the bush. This helps in weeding out concepts that may not work, and thereby increase efficiency.
  • Being soft spoken can be a plus with clients. On occasion, you may come across a client that may not particularly respond well to an extrovert’s more dominant nature.
  • Introverts are great listeners. This skill is key to understanding what the clients need as well as your co-workers and your boss. Every group needs one.

Creative Extroverts
As previously mentioned, introverts and extroverts are wired differently. Studies show that the neurotransmitters in extroverts have a different path; one where they can’t get enough dopamine and they need adrenaline to create it. That is why extroverts love to be stimulated and seek other people for conversation and contact. They actually feel uncomfortable in solitude.

A designer that is an extrovert will be the one who may lead the brainstorming meeting and throw out some ideas quickly. They think while they talk. They thrive on constant social gatherings where they can receive input from others. Extroverts believe in immediate action over contemplation.

How Extroverts Shine:

  • When it comes to verbal communication skills, the extroverts are experts. They have an innate ability to be completely comfortable in groups of any size. They can actually give free advertising for a client in everyday conversation with no effort.
  • Since extroverts seek stimulation constantly, innovation isn’t too far away. In an industry where new ideas are our sustenance, this is a vital type of person to have in your team.
  • When a team is feeling down or unmotivated, extroverts are there to pick you up and restore everyone’s creative juices.

Creative Ambiverts
This personality type, simply put, is the best of both worlds. This term is not as commonly known as introvert and extrovert, but that sure doesn’t make them any less important. Ambiverts have the enthusiasm of an extrovert with the concentration power of an introvert. Ambiverts may be in a meeting happily contributing, until they simply shut down or have experienced enough group inspiration to begin thinking and working. They now want to go to their desk and meditate on the task at hand. As you can see, identifying an ambivert amongst your creative team may require a more discerning eye.

An ambivert creative will feel comfortable talking about a concept in a large group, as well as with one person in a more in-depth conversation as to how tackle the task at hand. The difference is sometimes you, as a co-worker, may not know when they will feel most comfortable at any given time. And no, they are not bi-polar.

How Ambiverts Shine:

  • These chameleon types function well taking front stage as well as back stage.
  • Ambiverts can talk to others confidently as an extrovert, but can also regulate when they need to stop and listen carefully. Any agency can benefit to have a handful of them.

In conclusion, whether you are an introvert, extrovert or an ambivert, your input is valuable to the team. If we all talked, who would listen? If we were all deep in thought 24/7, who would speak to the client? Diversity within a creative team is vital to the success and quality of work that is dreamt up and produced. We create the spice of life when we work together and appreciate each other’s distinct abilities and personalities.