When we talk about entrepreneurs or successful business leaders, some tend to believe that certain people are just born with those abilities or interests. I’m not one of them.
I once attended a workshop for a number of entrepreneurs. As part of the event, we all took the Personality Research Form (PRF) – sharing the results as a group. This exercise changed what I thought made a successful entrepreneur – and my perspective on myself changed as well.
Since then, I’ve come to identify a number of personality types who fill the roles of entrepreneur and CEO. Do you see yourself in any of these?
- Urgent/Reactive: “Fix and forget it” – this is someone who is always two steps behind. These individuals seem to create and thrive in near-chaos – oftentimes riding to the rescue to put out the fire, be the savior, quickly moving onto the problem to fix. It’s common for many of us to experience this at some point in starting our businesses.
- Ever Optimistic: “Things are great!” – this person is either one step ahead or one step behind. This individual starts with the firm belief that there is nothing he or she can’t do. This mentality can be inspiring and contagious for those you work with. Optimism is wonderful if it motivates you to anticipate and prepare for future challenges, as opposed to ignore or deny that it would ever happen to you.
- Reflexively Pessimistic: “Batten down the hatches!” – this is someone who is either one step ahead or one step behind. The flip side of an Ever Optimistic is the Reflexive Pessimist, who lives in a defensive crouch and can always give you chapter and verse on why things have been, are, and likely always will be so challenging. This leader plays defense – not to win, but to survive, leaving offensive strategies sitting on the sidelines.
- Steady/Proactive: “I’m as ready as I can be for the challenges I’ll be facing” – this person is always two steps ahead. This is the leader we should all be aiming to become. They are highly respected and sought after. Why? Because they value productivity above all things and understand how to achieve it. They can course-correct whatever the weather. They understand both offense and defense and shift comfortably between them as cycles dictate.
The reality is, each of us exhibit one or more of these different personality traits depending on the situation or the state of your business. However, if we recognize the Steady/Proactive CEO as our ultimate leadership goal, we can better balance our other tendencies – helping us become the most effective leader possible.