When it comes to startups and small businesses, most tend to share these two characteristics:
They move fast.
They operate with few resources.
Although there are many other characteristics of startups and small businesses, these two elements tend to make hiring a team challenging. After all, when you’re screening for a new hire, they don’t just have to pull their own weight, but the weight of all those other team members you wish you could hire, too. Then there’s the added burden of making sure your new team member is a good fit with your culture and core values. One bad hire can cost an organization, so it’s never too soon to be thinking about the blend of personalities you’re pulling in to help lead your business forward.
While there’s a broad range of personality types that work together effectively, startups are a special ecosystem for the two reasons we outlined above, as well as that the fact that your business environment can suffer dramatically if a team has too many of the same type of role players.
Though there are certainly many ways to evaluate the effectiveness of specific teams, startups tend to work more efficiently when there are at least one of the following traits, which are based on both Carl Jung’s personality types as well as those outlined in more modern personality assessment tools.
So, which personality types make for the best startup teams? Keep reading to find out.
Visionaries see the future and activate the people around them to help them build it. While these are often charismatic leaders at the top of organizations, The Visionary can also be a subject matter expert on a team within a company and can be utilized to strengthen a small group and even inspire them to do more with less. The Visionary manifests itself on a team in a variety of different roles, but he or she is always the team member that assesses a static situation and imagines how it could be improved upon or how it will evolve over time.
The Executor takes the intangible elements within a team or a company and helps make them a reality, either by organizing processes and assigning tasks, or taking charge of specific activities themselves. Like The Visionary role, there can be many different types of The Executor, but overall, they share one trait: Getting tasks and concepts from the ideation phase into reality.
Creative people have great ideas, but perhaps more specifically, they have a keen ability to make connections between seemingly disconnected people, concepts, and tools. The Creative on your team will help you in a variety of ways, but perhaps most impressively, in your ability to compel people with narratives about your small business that relate to their lives in meaningful ways. While these narratives might take shape in various ways–a product feature or a marketing video about your project–you can rely on The Creative to build connections where none existed previously.
Listeners possess the rare ability to hear what another person has to say without relating it to themselves, or to another person. In addition, good listeners tend to be those individuals who have the ability to operate in the present moment and ask great follow-up questions when a person is done sharing. The Listener on your team can prove to be valuable in a variety of ways, perhaps as someone who fields customer support questions or simply just serves as a source of support on your immediate team.
Effective communication requires being both a good listener and a good executor. In the workplace, The Communicator must be someone who absorbs what messages people are sharing and then acts on them accordingly. With ability to understand and craft the right message to your team at the right time, the Communicator can help side-step the “say-do gap” and be relied upon for results.
The Mediator is a blend of two personality types in this list: The Listener and the Communicator. What makes it distinct from the other two types is The Mediator’s ability to listen objectively to both sides and then come up with a novel solution to a problem at hand. While there’s a strong communication component to this type of employee, they spend more time listening than they do sharing.
This seems obvious, but it’s not. The Recruiter is someone who has the ability to get people onboard with almost any aspect of a startup, whether that be hiring or joining a group of individuals who are going out for dinner after work. A blend of The Visionary, Creative and Executor types, these are the types of people who are able to synthesize information from multiple parts of the organization and leverage it to be persuasive about any project they’re working on.
Want more reading on work personality types? Our own Director of Training, Elizabeth Pierce, was recently featured in this article on Relate by Zendesk sharing insight into how she uses personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Indicator to train and lead great teams.
Get even more people management advice in our free Executive Guide to Growing your Business.