8 ideas for opposites working together

March 15, 2016       The NonProfit Times      

People whose personality or management styles are polar opposites can find common ground and manage to co-exist, maybe even thrive, together.

Opposites have also been known to drive each other to distraction, however, and they have been known to drive those around them to such distraction that the workplace suffers.

In her book “The Genius of Opposites,” Jennifer B. Kahnweiler suggests dealing with friction caused by introvert-extrovert opposites by focusing on outcomes and seeing the genius in partnership. Kahnweiler gives several solutions for holding that focus.

* Learn about personality styles. People should learn about both their own style and their partner’s. Be aware of who’s issue is causing a problem.

* Learn to speak their language. Build on the self-awareness that comes from knowing personality styles. Taking a walk on the other side can help an individual’s growth.

* Accept that it isn’t possible to change them. Ironically, the more one lays off trying to change another, the less the potential change-er will be bothered.

* Remove the elephant from the room. Talking about differences gives them legitimacy.

* Work on adapting one small thing at a time. Try some of the things that the opposite does and observe the reaction in the partner.

* Create a shorthand for communicating. Create a code, a way to stop the action when everything goes off course.

* Give it time. The respect opposites have for each other grows over time.

* Meet regularly and talk. Give honest updates and honest feedback about how things are going.

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