Liz and Ricky are two best work buddies at an industrial supply company in the Midwest. But it wasn’t always like that.
Early on in their careers, they once stopped talking for a week. A minor disagreement turned ugly when Ricky, an extrovert, took action without mulling things over and Liz, an introvert, kept her feelings inside. Learning to talk over situations taught them that conflict was normal, necessary and natural, but it was how they handled it that really counted.
My research on introvert-extrovert pairs in the workplace has shown that the relationships of high performing duos like Ricky and Liz don’t just happen. Even as leaders with experience under our belt, we can let those with different styles crawl under our skin. Introverts don’t talk fast enough. Extroverts won’t stop interrupting. And under stress, introverts tend to shut down and extroverts go into overdrive. That is when potentially productive conflicts become stalemates.
But when introverted and extroverted leaders take a step back and approach conflict in a healthy way, they can achieve extraordinary results. They key is to focus on the results they are both trying to achieve. They either avoid talking about the tough stuff or get in each other faces.
My research has shown that a key aspect of “The Genius Opposites Process” is “Bringing On the Battles” — when you see disagreement as necessary to arrive at better outcomes because you challenge each other to come up with better solutions.
Read more and comment about your experiences in this guest blog post I wrote for SmartBlog on Leadership. Thanks!