Is long-term burnout making you want to quit your job or change careers? If you’re finding it difficult to recharge your batteries even after a weekend or a vacation, you are likely ignoring—and working against—the strengths of your own personality type.
In the Color Q system of personality type identification developed by Shoya Zichy in the early 1990s, it is critical to honor your introvert or extrovert tendency. All human beings worldwide have one or the other. Trying to behave consistently like your opposite is one of the least-known, yet most critical, factors in professional burnout.
Zichy’s work incorporates research done by Carl Jung, Katharine Briggs, Isabel Myers, David Keirsey, Linda Berens, and others over almost a century. Modern neuroscience is now confirming these theories. These state that introverts recharge by spending time alone or with one other person in quiet, contemplative pursuits. Extroverts recharge by being in the company of others. Quite simply, introverts who have too much interaction with others and extroverts who work too much time by themselves drain their internal energies and burn out.
Introvert or extrovert: What’s your personality type?
American society tends to reward extroverted behavior more than introverted, but in the Color Q system one is not better than the other. Evolution has shown there is a critical need both for people who can work alone and concentrate intently for long periods and people who enjoy personal give-and-take and work best on teams.
It is important to note that in the Color Q system, the words “introvert” and “extrovert” do not carry any judgments about social skills. There are introverts with brilliant social skills, extroverts who lack them, and every degree in between.
So, which are you? Ask yourself:
- Do you a) like to talk, or b) prefer to listen?
- Do you a) talk first and then reflect, or b) reflect first and then speak?
- Do you a) prefer to work with a group, or b) prefer to work alone or with one other person?
People who answer “a” more often are Color Q extroverts, while people who answer “b” more are Color Q introverts.
Avoiding burnout for your personality type
How will this information help you? If you find you are working against your introverted or extroverted nature, you can take steps right now to more fully recharge your batteries.
If you are an extrovert in a lonely job, schedule more people time—go out and socialize after work, give and attend more parties, engage in group activities like sports or club meetings.
It’s harder for introverts to schedule alone time, but just giving yourself permission to skip a few less-critical social functions will go a long way. Make time during the workday, if at all possible, to get alone time—work in a library or unused conference room, or go to a quiet place by yourself for lunch. This is especially necessary for introverts who work in open offices.
It is well worth trying these simple fixes before making any major job change. A new job or career may drain you even more if you continue to unconsciously work against the needs of your personality type.
AMA’s leadership training will help prepare you to take on new challenges and responsibilities in the workplace.