Whenever you think of the qualities that make someone successful in what they do, leadership often comes to mind. Think of the most successful athletes, doctors, professors, or military generals, for example. Yes, they all have to have the right training to make them superior at what they do, but what makes them the most successful is their ability to face challenges, remain proactive and lead those around them to also make a contribution to that success. Leaders take the people that follow them to heights they did not think they could go!
As one of the key components of a Qualified Entrepreneur, leadership is one quality that can help make a difference in your success as an entrepreneur. Leadership assessment is key to help reduce the failure rate of entrepreneurial companies in the US and it can also increase the longevity and productivity of companies. As a result, we must assess where we stand as a leader. I think there are ways of understanding ourselves when we process new information or face a challenge – and that we can internalize and use this self-knowledge to help us recognize when our personality and our approach to management is affecting our choices or preventing us from acting.
So what kind of leader are you? There are four personality types that live within the general categories of an entrepreneur or CEO:
This leader’s motto is “fix it and forget it.” The Urgent/Reactive leader tends to be someone who is always two steps behind. They create and thrive on an almost crazed atmosphere, where he or she can ride to the rescue, put out the fire, be everyone’s savior, then move on to the next problem. This leader has little introspection and a lack of vision. As entrepreneurs – or perhaps newly elevated leaders in an existing organization – we all start with Urgent/Reactive tendencies. This is the ultimate “busy” leader.
2. Ever Optimistic
This leader’s motto is “things are great!” The ever optimistic leader tends to be someone who is either one step ahead or one step behind. Ever Optimistic starts from the belief that there is nothing he or she can’t do. This leader usually shows sheer enthusiasm as an entrepreneur and is motivating, but struggles to realize where he or she should be in leading the business or if they are an equal amount behind.
3. Reflexively Pessimistic
This leader’s motto is “batten down the hatches!” The Reflexively Pessimistic leader is someone who is either one step ahead or one step behind. While the Ever Optimistic leader plays offense, the Reflexively Pessimistic CEO plays defense – not to win, but to survive. He or she has been made tough by hard times, and so is persistently worried about the economy’s effect on the business. These leaders tend to be hunkered down and almost paralyzed by fear of moving forward at times. Reflexively Pessimistic CEOs guide and are guided by information.
This leader’s motto is “I’m as ready as I can be for the challenges I’ll be facing.” The Steady/Proactive leader is someone who is always two steps ahead. This is the type of leader we should all be aiming to become. Such leaders are highly respected and much sought after, because they value productivity and profitable growth 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. This type of CEO very much knows what he or she does and doesn’t know, using that knowledge to hire the right talent and promote the most skilled. Steady/Proactive also understands an important paradox: sometimes an organization needs to slow down to vision and plan before it can speed up for successful growth.
Based on these four leadership personality types we can learn how we can most effectively create success for our companies. It’s about knowing what we know and don’t know as entrepreneurs while taking time to assess ourselves as leaders. Understanding ourselves can help us process new information to help us conquer the challenges our company may face. If you’re a Steady/Proactive leader you’ll always be ready as you can be to face those challenges. So what type of leadership personality type are you? Are you proactively leading your company to its maximum potential?
-Randy H. Nelson