What do these famous pairs have in common?
Lennon and McCartney
Burns and Allen
Jobs and Wozniak
Lerner and Loewe
Siskel and Ebert
They are all dynamic duos: extrovert – introvert pairs who created something together that neither of them would have done on their own.
What’s their secret?
Too often extroverts complain to each other about their introverted peers.
- You never know what they’re thinking.
- They take too long to respond.
- They’re not good communicators.
And too often introverts quietly roll their eyes at their extroverted peers.
- They talk too much.
- They speak before they think.
- They’re not good communicators.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, as these famous pairs show us.
It’s a spectrum, not a box.
Where do you fall on the Extrovert – Introvert Spectrum? Are you closer to one of the ends or near the middle? You might be mixed. Some of your answers might indicate extroversion and others introversion. Introverts are not all the same. Nor are all extroverts.
We meet at the point of our similarities, and we grow from the point of our differences.
If you only surround yourself with people who are like you, you lose an opportunity for growth and greater creativity.
However, to access that opportunity, you need to find a point of connection to build from, some sense of shared goals, values or purpose.
The place to start is by knowing yourself – where you fall on the spectrum.
In what ways are you introverted or extroverted? What does that mean for you? What are your challenges? What habits tend to get you in trouble? How are you seen by others? Do your good intentions match their experience of you?
Then, set your judgments aside.
Not everyone is like you, and that’s a good thing. Those who are different add a dimension that those who are like you can’t add.
Consider the possibility that those who are different might see a solution you could not have found without them.
And confront your assumptions.
If you tend toward extroversion: Understand that people who like to be alone are not unhappy or antisocial. Learn more about what’s really going on for introverts.
If you tend toward introversion: Understand that people who like to be with lots of people are not necessarily superficial. Learn more about what’s really going on for extroverts.
Harness The Genius of Opposites
Jennifer Kahnweiler, bestselling author of The Introverted Leader and Quiet Influence, says the key is to stop emphasizing the differences and focus on approaches that move you toward results. According her latest research, dynamic duos are successful when they:
1. Accept the fact that they can’t change their own preference or each other’s.
2. Deeply respect each other.
3. Understand and appreciate each other’s style strengths and limitations so they bring out the best in each other.
4. Hang in there when they don’t agree and are willing to challenge each other.
5. Understand that they can’t do it without each other. Their differences are what makes them successful.
This post is written in honor of the release of Jennifer Kahnweiler’s newest book The Genius of Opposites: How Introverts and Extroverts Achieve Extraordinary Results Together where she shares her latest research and explains her five-step A-B-C-D-E process that helps introverts and extroverts understand and appreciate each other, use conflict to spur creativity, and accomplish things they would not have been able to do on their own.
The Genius of Opposites provides an extraordinary guide to harnessing the power of differences. Well-researched and practical, it is an easy, fun read, and I guarantee you’ll learn something useful. If you enjoyed my post and would like to learn more about this topic, I highly recommend this book. It is available in bookstores and at Amazon starting this week.