Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Genius of Opposites

Opposites attract, right?  Sometimes in better ways than others.  Understand how introverts and extroverts can
work together and you’ve got a winning team.  We know that opposites have differences . . . duh.  The key is to understand what those differences are and enrich those different skills to understand and appreciate the other.

Jennifer Kahnweiler’s new book, The Genius of Opposites: How Introverts and Extroverts Achieve Extraordinary Results Together, shows us how to work, together, with someone who is our opposite.  This is a five-step plan to grow a cohesive partnership.  Conflict can be a good thing and Jennifer uses some excellent examples of famous opposites to explain.

Being an introvert myself, I found this book compelling and strengthening.  With the information, examples, tools, and techniques included in this book, it would make a great series of lunch and learns for your leaders and team members.

I'm pleased to have Jennifer Kahnweiler as my guest blogger today.

Email: a Multiplier of Misunderstandings?

When was the last time you came back to your office and listened to 100 voicemails?  More likely you responded to the many emails in your inbox.

I reached my saturation point a few weeks ago after I realized that I had not one live conversation all day.  That is an energy drain for an extrovert.  The real tipping point came during a back and forth email dialogue with an introverted work colleague.

As our email tennis match proceeded, I could see the misunderstandings multiply.  I wrote him an email to ask for a five minute phone call to clear up the issue.  He wrote back, asking me if we could “settle it on email”.  “No way,” I thought.  “It would take more time to write each other again that it will to talk.”

So, a bit nervously, I picked up the phone and dialed his number anyway.  We had a brief conversation in which he explained his position and we discussed several viable options.  The matter was resolved in four minutes.
I know that, as an introvert, he prefers to communicate via email.  As an extrovert, I agree — most of our communication can be handled that way.  I also believe that a personality preference is not a prescription for every situation.  There are times when we need to be able to ask each other questions, dig a little deeper, and listen to a person’s voice tone to better understand their point of view.  We also need to clearly express what we mean.

To what degree should the situation drive the communication mode?  How much do you moderate your preferred style to accommodate others?

Originally published 2/6//2009 on JenniferKahnweiler.com.
Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D., Certified Speaking Professional, is a bestselling author and global keynote speaker known as the “champion for introverts.” In addition to her latest book, The Genius of Opposites, she has written two bestselling books about introverts (Quiet Influence and The Introverted Leader), which have been translated into 14 languages.