What’s personality got to do with it? Top qualities for founders

Entrepreneurship has raised the interest of psychologists over the past few years. Their research has increasingly focused on topics like understanding the psychological price of entrepreneurship, to finding the personality traits that characterize successful founders. Founders, particularly in the early stages, face an enormous amount of uncertainty and a high degree of demand complexity, begging the question: is there a type of personality/personalities that can manage this burden most successfully?

In 2014 research paper published by Michael Frese and Michael Gielnik investigated a wide array of variables like personality dimensions, entrepreneurship constructs, and psychological constructs, seeking to identify how these related to entrepreneurial success.

They found several traits and qualities related to entrepreneurial success and we’ll explore them in two categories: Entrepreneurial Traits, and Psychological Traits.

Entrepreneurship Traits

Entrepreneurial alertness – Defined as the ability to notice business opportunities without searching for them, entrepreneurial alertness provides founders with the advantage of identifying the discrepancies in the markets. The combined effect of information processing and information acquisitions, resulted in better predictive validity.

Aptitude for planning – Having the aptitude to create business plans that describe the current state and a presupposed future of a business is important. Research has found that business plans can have two functions:  1) To facilitate and regulate the action; and, 2) To legitimize the venture, i.e. illustrate potential to investors or banks. The research expanded on the former, stating this shows a clear path to achieve goals, whilst also being flexible to change said plans as time goes on.

Financial resourcefulness – Sometimes lack of financial capital and founder failure can be blamed on institutions or other external causes, but research has shown that neither the existence, nor the perceived existence of resources, affected entrepreneurial efforts. Instead, capital constraints did not affect new venture creation when founders had mental models similar to the experienced entrepreneurs. In fact, there was a negative effect when nascent entrepreneurs’ mental models corresponded to novice entrepreneurs. They also found that these models can be taught, and founders can take actions to overcome financial constraints.

Entrepreneurial orientation – Characterized by autonomy, innovativeness, risk-taking, competitiveness, aggressiveness, and proactivity, entrepreneurial orientation is found in the majority of successful founders. Companies with high entrepreneurial orientation outperform other companies because this mindset helps seek and exploit new opportunities for growth. Research has provided enough evidence to say that entrepreneurial orientation and its sub-components are highly correlated with company’s performance.

Psychological Constructs

Willingness to continually learn – Several scholars have argued that knowledge is central to discovering new business opportunities. For example, unsurprisingly, specific knowledge in areas like industry and managerial experience is more important for entrepreneurial success than general knowledge. However, when paired with poor decision-making, relying on shortcuts, or a tendency to become constrained by the familiar, knowledge is not enough. Founders should always be continually learning new information, in order to not hinder the identification of new business opportunities.

Practical mindset – Practical intelligence means making fast and accurate decisions, joining knowledge about ideas, processes, and operational paths to be successful. Practical intelligence also means repeated experimenting, testing and revising of the business concepts to continuously improve without wasting time.

Tendency for overconfidence/overoptimism – Research has found that it is possible that this cognitive bias increases entrepreneurs’ motivation to initiate action and to persist even in the presence of failure and low expected returns. On the other hand, setting unrealistic goals, making non-optimal decisions, or interpreting ambiguous information as promising opportunities can also arise from the same cognitive bias, resulting in failure. Research has revealed that overconfidence had a curvi-linear relationship with company performance, suggesting that after an inflection point overconfidence has a negative impact, but is necessary for the first stages of the business.

Growth mindset – Research has shown that entrepreneurs who set specific and challenging growth goals for their ventures achieved higher growth rates over periods of two – six years. Focusing their attention on desired outcomes helped them execute the needed tasks to achieve them, providing them with the right tools for communicating their visions to their teams, having a positive impact on everyone involved.

Proactive and autonomous attitude – This is characterized by self-starting, proactive, and persistent behavior. There is empirical evidence that having so-called “personal initiative” has positive effects on entrepreneurship, supporting the claim that a higher degree of active performance is a central determinant of successful entrepreneurship.

Passion – Defined as an intense positive feeling toward entrepreneurial tasks and activities relevant to the entrepreneur’s self-identity, entrepreneurial passion plays a key role in providing positive and activating feelings that translate into motivation and effort from founders. Experiencing those feelings creates “action tendencies” to move toward an object and the energy to make an effort. Additionally, entrepreneurial passion leads to higher levels of goal commitment.

The research found that there are no psychological paths to ensure entrepreneurial success, but action characteristics like personal initiative, goals, visions, planning, among others were found in successful founders. 

It was also emphasized by the authors, that entrepreneurship is characterized by many phases, requiring founders to adapt and solve new challenges every day, turning entrepreneurship into a possibly stressful and even depressing path to pursue. But don’t let that turn you off – check out our articles on how to combat burnout and manage employee well being. 


4 Myers-Briggs Personality Combos that Make Great Teams

Any team is comprised of people with different personality types — and this is what you want. If you are the founder or CEO of your company, you’ll want to take an analytical approach to your team — by putting the right combination of people together. Because some differences are more subtle than others, using a personality test can be a great way to figure out which groups click the best. Here are four Myers-Briggs personality combos that make great teams.

One of the more popular personality tests out there is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which determines personalities across four axes:

  • Extroversion (E) vs. Introversion (I)
  • Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N)
  • Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)
  • Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)

There will continue to be growth in the area of personalities. When you’re trying to run a business, it may feel like personality traits merely get in the way. But each side of the Myers-Briggs traits comes with strengths and weaknesses, and combining them for peak productivity is not as simple as putting similar personalities together. Take a look at these winning combinations to see how they can bring the best out of one another:

The Mediator (INFP) and The Commander (ENTJ).

Mediators and Commanders have a lot to offer any workforce. Mediators have a creative personality and express themselves best through writing as opposed to speaking. A Mediator is typically harder to please, and they prefer to either work with the best or just work alone. The Mediator personality type might seem suited to solo work — but the personality is great to pair with the Commander.

Even though one is an introvert and the other is an extrovert, this yin and yang duo can work well together if they accept one another’s differences and focus more on their similarities. Both the Mediator and the Commander have a common trait, and common ground — they both have intuitiveness (N). They both enjoy thinking about the possibilities that the future holds. Commanders can help Mediators become more organized, encouraging them to plan and communicate effectively in a work environment. Mediators can trim off the impulsive-brashness of the Commander.

In this team pairing — have the Commander initiate the plan of action. The Mediator may be tempted to wait for instructions. The Commander may also appreciate the challenge of helping the Mediator become more assertive. You will want to speak to this combo together and speak frankly about how you want them to operate together, and then let them take the process of working together, forward from there.

The INFJ (the Advocate) and the ENFP (the Champion).

You might be excited to have an outgoing and ambitious team member such as the Champion, but this personality type can be tough to work with.

Although the Champion has strong people skills, this person tends to rely on approval from others to feel accepted. The Champion tends to get stressed out if things aren’t going their way. The Champion dreams and has huge plans, which they can make work if they have a cheerleader behind them. Nothing squashes the productivity of your Champion faster than being unsupported. The Champion does not take directions from others well. With those challenges in mind, it might be best to find your Champion an Advocate.

The Advocate derives energy from within; they are humble, and always there to offer support to those who need this type of support. Without even realizing it, Advocates often think about the feelings of others before themselves.

When you put the Champion and the Advocate together, they tend to balance each other out. Give this pair of team members projects that require attention to detail. The Champion can put together the plan of action, while the Advocate can make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

The ESFJ (the Caregiver) and the ESTJ (the Director).

The combination of the Caregiver and the Director is one that has two extroverts. The dynamic duo makes a lot of sense for sales teams. Both the Caregiver and the Director types get energy from interacting with others, and both are suited to a fast-paced work environment.

Directors do well in an office environment and hold on to a sense of tradition. Getting up to go to work isn’t a chore for them; it’s part of their identity. The Director gives much thought to their decision-making. They are hard-working, and they have excellent leadership skills. Introverted people might take the Director for being a little bit harsh and demanding, which makes them a good match for other extroverts, such as Caregivers.

Caregivers love to interact with people and won’t feel like they’re getting pushed around by Directors. While the Caregiver and Director both enjoy structure and organization, Caregivers will typically have higher emotional intelligence, so they will be able to spot emotional problems and regulate their own emotions in ways that Directors will not. When the Caregiver controls their emotions, it gives support to the Director which allows them to function better.

Learning about emotional regulation and why it matters, Dr. Amelia Aldao, Psychology Today suggests ways that people can up-regulate or down-regulate their emotions to get a benefit.

While some personality types might try to hide problems that are going on at work, both the Director and the Caregiver would rather face challenges head-on. Trust these two team members to speak up if something isn’t working right in your business or organization.

INTP (the Thinker) and INTJ (the Architect).

If you need strategic thinkers, the duo of the Thinker and the Architect are a great pick. These two personality types are introverts. The Thinker will think outside the box, while still relying on the facts to come up with their hypothesis. The Thinker tends to do better with team members who don’t need a lot of attention, and who share similar interests. While the Thinker might not have the best people skills, and won’t talk much — they’ll get right to the point without beating around the bush when something has to be said. The Thinker also dives directly into projects without delay.

What’s the Architect’s role? The Architect team member is the person who can challenge any point and help you see all angles of any situation. You should listen to what they object to because they likely see something that other team members cannot. The Architect is great at implementing the Thinker’s ideas. Both of these individuals are intuitive — and what they can always flesh out is the stakeholders’ motivations. Put the Thinker and the Architect types in a quiet and creative environment, and let their minds run free. Assign the Thinker and the Architect tasks that require a little more abstract thinking.

It’s tempting to focus on personality differences when you are working on a team. But keep in mind that diverse types can work well together. Personality typing should serve to help you create great conversations and projects. Using personality typing doesn’t need to drive a wedge between people of different types. Take a moment on your team and sleuth-out the differing personality types. Pair them well — and reap the rewards.

4 Myers-Briggs Personality Combos that Make Great Teams was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton. 

The post 4 Myers-Briggs Personality Combos that Make Great Teams appeared first on KillerStartups.