The Outgoing Introvert: What Does It Actually Mean?

06/23/2016 11:15 pm ET

The term "Outgoing Introvert" is floating around on the internet lately and seems to be gaining traction? But what exactly is an Outgoing Introvert? At face value it seems to be a phrase used to describe introverts who aren't quiet or shy, but this itself seems to be a bit of a misnomer. You see, introversion has absolutely nothing to do with being quiet or shy. Instead, it has everything to do with how you expend and recharge your energy.

Introverts tend to look inwards

Introverts thrive on reflection and gain energy from solitude, understanding and self-awareness. But does this mean that introverts are not naturally outgoing? Not necessarily. 

I often refer to myself as a Hard-core Introvert and I truly believe this is an accurate description. But if you spoke to my work colleagues, some of the words they would use to describe me are "loud", "funny", "a storyteller", "team-oriented" and "relationship-focused". This would also be an accurate description of my personality and behaviour. I adore telling stories. I love making people laugh! I am great at building relationships and I am an enthusiastic public speaker and presenter. So, I could be described as an Outgoing Introvert then? Well... maybe. 

A different way to look at introversion

According to DISC, which is a widely used behavioural assessment tool, there are four primary behavioural styles. Extroverted People-Focused, Extroverted Task-Focused, Introverted People-Focused and Introverted Task-Focused. As it happens, I fall directly into the Introverted People-Focused category, which is known as the “S” or “sensitive style”. This differs considerably from my Introverted Task-Focused counterparts, who are described as having "C" or "compliance style" behavioural preferences. 

Two very different introverts

As an "S" on the DISC scale, I am hugely focused on people. I am loyal, I work well with others and I am often known for protecting those who are close to me. My preference for introversion means that I do have a tendency to hold back on sharing my opinions (preferring to ponder over them inwardly) and this means that sometimes I can be trampled on by extroverted behavioural styles and strong personalities. I am, however, a thoughtful communicator and sensitive to the needs of others, so although I am very introspective and reflective, I am highly considerate of my friends and colleagues and wildly driven by emotion, but I usually prefer to keep this to myself.

Individuals with high “C” preferences are more focused on the task at hand. They generally have a high attention to detail and can be a little quieter than those with “S” behavioural styles as they are easily drawn into a project and can get caught up creating, assessing and evaluating the specifics. This can limit their attention to people and relationships and for this reason, "C" styles can be known as being even more socially-awkward than their "S" colleagues and more likely to communicate based on evidence and fact than emotion. 

So what does this mean for the Outgoing Introvert? 

As you can see, from a DISC perspective, the Outgoing Introvert could also be described as an introvert with a strong people focus. Regardless of the title though, it is important to recognise that your place on the introversion/extroversion scale is based on the way in which you recharge your batteries and to the extent you do this by tapping into your internal feelings or looking to external stimuli. 

Introversion is not an excuse

Another important thing to point out is that introversion is not an excuse. Introverts can do everything that extroverts can do and vice versa - it just means that we might need to stretch a little further outside of our comfort zone. I am a huge advocate of this, as working outside your comfort zone is a wonderful way to learn, develop and challenge yourself, though it is recommended that you allow yourself adequate time to recharge and regenerate your energy to avoid breakdown and burnout.  The more you understand your behavioural preferences, the better you will become at managing and maintaining your energy by factoring time to re-energise into your schedule. 

Final words

Whether or not "Outgoing Introvert" is an accurate way to describe these behavioural traits is in my opinion, not really significant. It is though, extremely positive that more awareness is being promoted about the introversion/extroversion scale, with a hope that this increased awareness will help to create more welcoming and balanced environments for introverts in schools and workplaces. Introverts and Extroverts alike need to have the opportunity to revitalise and employers and educators will notice significant improvements in performance from individuals who are encouraged to embrace this opportunity. 

Rebecca McFarland is a Career Coach, DISC Advanced® Accredited Consultant and Facilitator and the creator of PopYourCareer.com. To get access to Rebecca’s weekly newsletter, The Hump Day Digest, and her free workbook, How to Define Your Purpose, Vision and Values (Then Use Them to Craft Your Perfect Career), sign up now!

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