I listened to a webinar this week that addressed the topic of introverts and extroverts working together. While the “wiring” of each different temperament may drive the other one crazy, Jennifer Kahnweiler provided strategies on working together to create results that could not be created alone. And doing so, she argued, is essential in today’s workplace where “partnerships are the new work model.”

The three main ways introverts and extroverts differ:
1. Introverts draw their energy from being alone vs. Extroverts drawing energy from being with people

2. Introverts draw energy from thinking vs. Extroverts draw energy from talking

3. Introverts relish their privacy vs. Extroverts are more comfortable as an open book

Kahnweiler said that you can’t change the opposite temperament, but understanding the differences goes a long way toward acceptance. She urges people to move beyond acknowledgement to actually embrace the creative tension and use it to foster breakthroughs. 

Kahnweiler refers to extrovert/introvert pairings as the Genius of Opposites and shared examples of many “dynamic duos”: Penn and Teller, Siskel and Ebert, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Venus and Serena Williams, and Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. 

Think about your temperament and preference — and then think about who you could partner with to complement the aspects that you are lacking. Who can be the other part of your pair? You may be tempted to align with someone who is like you, but the real magic comes from finding someone dissimilar to fill that role. As Penn described about Teller: “we are like flint and steel, but when we get together is when the sparks are created.”

beth triplett

Source: Managing Opposites: Introverts & Extroverts Achieving Extraordinary Results AMA Webinar presented by Jennifer Kahnweiler, June 22, 2106   Recording of the webinar available at: http://ow.ly/q0yK301hK6W 

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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