We live in a divided world. An estimated 50 percent of people fall on either the introvert or extrovert side of the spectrum. With those odds, chances are that you have interacted with and will interact with your opposite often.
Introverts and extroverts can create great harmonies together. Or their relationships can implode. Whether the outcome is wildly successful or totally disastrous is likely determined by whether they are in sync—or at polarity—with each other.
There is no way to assess how many breakthrough ideas never broke through because opposites could not get over the barriers their differences caused. But consider these examples:
- Lerner and Loewe, world-famous Broadway show composers of hits such as Camelot and My Fair Lady, had much more to offer the world in an already-impressive roster of songs, but they couldn’t get over their dislike of each other.
- Bob Eaton, the former Chrysler CEO, was outmaneuvered by his German counterpart and new CEO, Jurgen Schrempp of Daimler-Benz, in an ill-fated “merger of equals.”
- Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren, famous newspaper advice columnists and sisters, didn’t speak for seven years.
Perhaps you have a few examples like these in your own life. Maybe you’ve left a project because one of the key team members was an opposite type to you and the frustration overcame you. Maybe you left a job because you couldn’t work through your differences with your supervisor.