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Yin & Yang: Why It’s Not Always Great To Work With Your Opposite

The “opposites attract” thinking is commonplace. We’re led to believe that when two entities of different characteristics come into contact with one another, a kind of balance is inevitable.

While this ideology may be right, most times, it is not the case, all the time. Refocusing our lens a bit, let’s explore this thinking through a prism of the human disposition: introverts and extroverts.

While there are numerous instances where these two very different dispositions might get along famously, we’re also aware of those unfortunate situations where such relationships don’t work.

The latter scenario is especially acute in high-performing business relationships (where the pressure is on, both parties are pushed to their limits and the typical working niceties become elusive).

Let’s probe this further.

Here are some well-known reasons why business partnerships of a yin/yang nature don’t always work well.

Different dispositions hinder productivity

When C-suite level leaders (who have long established different working styles) are thrust into an incredibly intense working situation, their contradicting personalities are often hurdles to productive conversations.
In these dramatic circumstances, introverts – who typically take their time to reflect and think things through – move too slow or don’t talk fast enough.
Extroverts, on the other hand, because of their boisterous personalities, develop a waning elasticity for the glacial pace of the introvert (whose contemplative nature comes across as an unafforded luxury), and so, keep interrupting just to get their point across.

You can envision where this is going.

The working atmosphere becomes thick with disregard and discord. For this reason, the introvert shuts down, and the extrovert goes into full throttle.
This is a lose-lose situation where nothing productive is accomplished.

Disputes could lead to dislike

If this “oil and water” situation continues and isn’t filtered in time, it can result in the development of complex connections (at best) or a complete disintegration of personal relationships.
They, unfortunately, might get to a point where their professional disputes lead to personal dislikes.
At this point, the resulting conflict does not dim with time and they end up in a volatile state of being.

Missed opportunity to tap into each other’s potential

If introverts and extroverts work together in an emotionally charged situation for too long, they no longer see that one person’s strength make up for the other’s weakness.
In a brainstorming session, for instance, the extrovert (who is typically vocal) might be brimming with ideas, and the introvert in the room might share a measured kind of excitement.
The extrovert might read this differently, jump to conclusions and be robbed of the opportunity to leverage the proficiency of an introvert – a thinker who needs time to sort and flesh things out mentally.


As you can see, it is tough to get people with opposite dispositions to work together. Not to say it can’t be done, both parties have to be well aware of the potential areas of conflict and adjust accordingly to become productive.



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