Teams – Why opposites attracting is a good thing

Repair team taking a break
Recently, we at Raytech brought in a new member of our team. As an “outsider” he kept talking about how well our staff works with each other. The funny thing is, all of us have our own distinct and seemingly conflicting personalities. Despite these differences, we work well together.

Tumultuous Teams Throughout Time

One team famous for having conflicting personalities is the team of W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. Working individually, each man created some material and established a bit of a reputation. However, both men are best known for the work they produced together, including H.M.S. Pinafore (1878), The Pirates of Penzance (1879), and The Mikado (1885). You would think these men must have had similar personalities in order to work together as long as they did and produce as many great works as they did.

History, however, says you would be wrong. Each felt he had to compromise his work for the sake of the other. Gilbert was very confrontational, while Sullivan did his best to avoid confrontation. Despite their strong and opposing personality differences, they were able to bounce ideas off each other and create something stronger than either many could create on his own.

If you’re a fan of the Mythbusters, you might recognize a similar dichotomy between Jamie and Adam. Jamie is quiet, reserved, and seems to be somewhat introverted. Adam, on the other hand, is boisterous, open, and seems to be very extroverted. There have been several myths where Jamie and Adam have done a build-off and each of them created a solution that was vastly different from the other. By exploring alternative solutions, they can often find a middle ground that incorporates the best of both designs.

Personalities at Raytech

Here at Raytech, our team consists of some varying personalities as well. One of our members is very orderly and meticulous. He insists on having a place for everything and everything in its place. In contrast, I tend to be a bit disorganized and messy. Of course, it isn’t always smooth sailing in the shop. There are times that my habits bother him. There are times his need to be particular is irritating to me. Despite that source of conflict, we are able to solve problems that come up by taking different approaches to them. If we were shooting Mythbusters here, he’d be Jamie and I’d be Adam.

If you’re trying to form a team, be it for sports or a work group, look beyond people who think and act like you do. Find some members who do things differently. It can provide for a more robust and inventive group.