Collaboration of Opposites

March 29, 2017

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I'm Deb- CEO, worldwide executive coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. I'm here to help you take your leadership and impact to the next level!

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Collaboration of Opposites

What do these entertainment pairs have in common: John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and Bud Abbott and Lou Costello?

If you said they were some of the most iconic entertainers of the twentieth century, you would be right. If you said they were some of the very best in their respective fields of music, dance, and comedy, you would also be right.

But what you may not know is that all three pairs did not necessarily enjoy working together at times. In fact, there were times when they went their separate ways.

Sound familiar?

As a business leader, you know that one of your biggest needs is for your team to work together to accomplish the goals that create the vision. Yet one of your biggest issues is team members who cannot get along and certainly have no desire to work together.

Very often, the root of the issue is the same as our entertainment pairs noted above: they are opposites. And opposites do not always attract. Yet, opposites who do work together create the most amazing results, far surpassing what they could have accomplished alone.

How do you, as a leader, create a culture where collaboration of opposites actually works?

Educate your Team

Miscommunication is often an issue on dysfunctional teams. Miscommunication happens because what one person says is not what another may hear. The fact is, we are geared to filter information through our natural wiring. When you say, “Blue” to an I-wired extrovert, for example, they will picture a vivid, intense shade of blue. When you say, “Blue” to an S-wired introvert, they will picture a very calm, peaceful, subtle shade of blue.

If introverts and extroverts can’t picture the same color, how can they possibly work together? This is where education comes into play. In our Team Strengths Mapping process at Strength Leader, we have each person take the DISC profile to discover their individual strengths and weaknesses. Then we plot those on a chart representing the company. Finally, we explore ways team members can communicate, not in their way, but in a way that the person on the other side of the DISC can see what they are saying.

Understanding the differences and the value of each, then being able to communicate clearly based on the other person’s natural way of understanding goes a long way toward great collaboration.

Expect it of your Team

Undoubtedly, there were days when the entertainment pairs did not want to work together. But as they say, “The show must go on.” There are times when you will need to meet with members of your team to remind them that the “show must go on.” They may not like the other person, but there is a job to be done and a goal to be reached.

Encourage your Team

We have all had those days when someone we have to deal with makes us want to quit what we are doing and go elsewhere. Encourage your team to make the effort to keep their eyes on the goal. Encourage them to know that, once that goal is reached, everyone wins. The fact is, introverts need extroverts, and extroverts need introverts. It is not always easy to work together, but it is rewarding to see the results when they do.