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The most creative and professional of the lot. They are the people who are most likely to say, “My toughest competitor is me”. They are good learners and absorb most from other people’s lives and experiences. The foundation of any start-up is laid on big, innovative, unique ideas. This personality type can be the ultimate source of such ideas.
They strive to better themselves at every step. Not surprisingly, these individuals are seen to achieve the highest number of promotions and awards. They make perfect CXOs.
It is possible that over-achievers like these may put their personal need for development ahead of the organizational goals. Also, striving for excellence may not always be the most practical option is something they may need to be reminded of.
2. The Drivers
Highly action-oriented and believe in the prompt and effective implementation of ideas. Any start-up is incomplete without hard-working “Drivers” who can brilliantly execute great and novel ideas, striving for perfection. They are strongly motivated and work towards achieving power and influence. This combination of traits makes for great leaders. They make the perfect “Product/ Project Managers”.
Due to their self-driven nature, they may come across as arrogant and impulsive and are prone to losing their patience. In some situations, it may be essential to slow them down a bit.
The risk-takers and experimenters of the team. They are unlikely to leave a difficult task undone. They are resilient and optimistic. They work with one notion in mind that if one tries hard enough, anything can be achieved. Such people are adept at finding creative solutions to the various problems that arise in the new and inexperienced environment of a start-up. The Dreamers do not consider a task to be complete till it is perfect and are proud of this fact. Here you have the “Creative Designers/ Developers/ QA Leads/ Team Members of the Product Team”.
Similar to the High Risers, they too may need a reality check from time to time.
Highly skilled, for lack of a better word, manipulators. Not a bad thing at all. Every team needs a “Smooth Talker” who can mince a few words, use clever (but clean) tactics to project a rosy picture, once in a while. Selling your start-up’s image and the product is as important, if not more, as building it. Keeping your customers and investors happy is best done by the “Smooth Talkers”. They are careful about the image they create and thrive on appreciation. They prefer structure and organization. Welcome the “sales and marketing personnel” with this personality type.
They are risk-averse to an extreme extent and can have a difficult time dealing with unstructured tasks.
The process-oriented members of the team. While a large portion of a start-up is focused on generating and implementing new ideas, one does need someone to make sure that the other so-called mundane and routine tasks such as maintenance issues, paperwork, smooth running of well-established operations etc. are continuing unhindered. The Labourers prefer rules, consistency, and structure. They believe in following a routine, a standard procedure to complete a task. They like to stay in a safe middle place when making decisions, without moving towards any extreme. They make the perfect “HR and Admin Managers, Operations managers, etc.”
Flexibility in thought as well as in the manner of doing tasks is something they lack. They may come across as being the least motivated of the lot.
When it comes to these 5 personality types, saying which one is the most important isn’t an easy query to answer. Which personality type should be given the role of the hero and which types should be assigned the roles of the indispensable co-actors depends on the industry we are going to place them in and the role they are assigned.
Each personality type possesses different beliefs and attitudes, hence having different mindsets, priorities, and motivations. Only collecting this set of personalities is not enough. One needs to ensure that they are placed in an environment where they can work together as a team and bring forth their unique capabilities to achieve a common goal, which is best suited to the needs of the organization. A healthy balance between these personality types is what every start-up should aim to achieve when building their teams, to ensure productivity and success.
Originally published April 1 2018, Updated December 10 2020