You may have heard the phrase, “opposites attract”. Some believe in this concept from a relationship perspective and others don’t. Where did this phrase comes from and how it applies in business is the focus in this blog.
In 1785, French physicist Charles Augustin de Coulomb (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Charles-Augustin-de-Coulomb) developed an experimental law which stated that like charges repel and opposites attract. Some believe that the idea of “opposites attract” was first brought forth in psychology by Robert Francis Winch (https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/222520). In the 1950s, Winch studied spouses and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t likeness that made a relationship work, it was the opposing views and characteristics.
Although 80% of us believe that opposites attract, in actuality we are attracted to those who are similar to us. So where does this take us in a work setting.
You possibly have been in a work setting where a leader has hired those who are like them or at least agree with their decisions. This may make the leader feel important but it doesn’t do much for the business’s sustainability.
Think of those who are opposite you in their skillset and even approach. In a work setting, this is a great problem solving environment. It fosters innovation, creativity, and growth. These opposites also allow for leaders to support each other in an innovative manner. Leaders…next time you have a colleague who has a different opinion than yours, explore the reasoning behind it. You may be surprised that it will be complementary to your efforts.