Everyone has heard of the aspect of personality called Extraversion. People tend to have a mental image of Extraversion as relating to the degree to which people like people – do they seek out company? This is correct, but there is more to Extraversion than simply a liking for people.
True Extraverts don’t just like to be with people, they tend to be socially confident – comfortable in their own skin – and they tend to be “Lively” – optimistic, cheerful and positive. Of course, it is possible to love to be with people and be completely pessimistic, but that does not fulfil the full technical definition of an Extravert.
But what about Liveliness? Does it matter?
Here are some characteristics of Lively people which are worth knowing:
- Lively people tend to be more engaged in their work and organisation
- There is a relationship between Liveliness and resilience – higher Liveliness means more resilience
- There is a “social contagion” effect. People with positive outlooks tend to cause others to be more lively and optimistic
- People with positive and optimistic outlooks on life tend to be significantly physically healthier than those without this resilience factor (Rasmussen et al, 2004)
So, should you try to find true extraverts for all the jobs you want to fill? Definitely not. There are many jobs where a reflective, quiet, analytical approach can be very valuable. Whether the people you hire are confident, big personalities or more inclined to be shy and retiring, a good score on Liveliness is an asset which you should look for. If you would like to find out how to do this click here.
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Lee, K. & Ashton, M. C. (2004). Psychometric properties of the HEXACO personality inventory. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 39, 329-358.
Rasmussen, Heather N, Scheier, Michael F, Greenhouse, Joel B,
Optimism and Physical Health: A Meta-analytic Review
Annals of Behavioral Medicine,
June 2009, 37:239