People whose personality or management styles are polar opposites can find common ground and manage to co-exist, maybe even thrive, that’s if anyone ever gets back to the office.
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.