Understanding Business Personality in Organizational Growth

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Understanding Business Personality in Organizational Growth

In the ever-shifting economic and social landscape we live in, business leaders do everything in their power to search for an advantage wherever an opportunity presents itself. As we suggested many times before, one of the most vital assets an organization has is its people. For this reason, recruiters and organizations go out their way to hire and grow talent. In challenging business environments, organizations are now discussing the recruiting and development of business personality, business mindset, etc.

Is it enough to recruit individuals who work better in teams, show leadership skills, and don’t falter in the face of adversity? What makes a desirable business personality in candidates? And is there a business personality test to discern such desirable business-oriented personality traits? Let’s find out today!

What Is Business Personality In the Context of Recruiting and Organizational Development?

We have talked about personality before, especially in personality testing and matching individuals’ personality traits with job requirements. Academics, psychologists, and organizational experts use personality tests to screen and find tomorrow’s business leaders.

However, according to Harvard Business Review, citing the Deloitte Business Chemistry Framework, we need more focused business personality testing. Is it enough to get a Myers-Briggs ENTP score to be sure the candidate will make an excellent business trailblazer with an entrepreneurial mindset?

Experts found that,

Organizations aren’t getting the performance they need from their teams. They wrestle with complex challenges ranging from strategic planning to change management. But often, the fault doesn’t lie with the team members. Rather, it rests with leaders who fail to effectively tap diverse work styles and perspectives – even at the senior-most levels. Some managers don’t recognize how profound the differences between their people are; others don’t know how to manage the gaps and tensions or understand the costs of not doing so. As a result, some of the best ideas go unheard or unrealized, and performance suffers.

Harvard Business Review, March–April 2017 issue (pp.50–57).

To overcome the challenges that risk disrupting organizational success, Deloitte built a framework of four work styles/business personalities that helps organizations to

identify distinct patterns of behavior that can be harnessed to improve individual interactions and influence strategy.

Harvard Business Review, March–April 2017 issue (pp.50–57).

The idea here was to develop a working framework that matched employees’ personalities with customers’ objectives. Deloitte wanted to help organizations create efficient teams and anticipate consumer behavior.

Deloitte proved to be on to something. Today, the Business Chemistry Framework is present across thousands of organizations and industries. So let’s see what we should learn from it!

How to Approach Business Personality Types for Hire and Growth

types of business personalities

In real life, no executive will remember that Jenny from accounting is an ESTJ while Mark from sales is an ENTJ. Too many acronyms, too little time to understand who is who and what advantages they bring.

More to the point, they rarely predict job performance or an individual’s ability to become a leader inside a successful business. While everybody is trying to match the Myers-Briggs personality preferences with leadership skills and entrepreneurial success, many remind people that MBTI measures preference, not actual, measurable job abilities.

For this reason, in recruiting and personnel growth programs, executives use the Big 5 Personality test. It is a good indicator of performance in certain jobs and offers insight into individuals’ potential of becoming business leaders and pillars of their organizations. The Big Five is an excellent business personality test if your focus is on finding and nurturing certain traits and preferences.

Deloitte speaks less of “personality traits” but of “working styles” responsible for sparking business chemistry. As with any attempt to confine humans into pre-defined categories, this one has its obvious limitations. One person has one or two dominant “traits” or working styles, but all of us display such personality preferences to different extents.  

Business Personality Types/Working Styles

Let’s see in short the four business personality types or working styles you might want to evaluate in the recruiting process according to the Business Chemistry Framework:

1. The Driver Personality

In business, leadership, and customer relations, drivers show high levels of logical reasoning, are direct, action-oriented, and analytical. They are the doers, preferring experimentation over theoretical thinking. Less interested in small talk and “what ifs,” these personalities have the power to drive themselves and others towards the common organizational goals.

2. The Pioneer Personality

As its name suggests, pioneers are the ones that look beyond the horizon, caring less about the things that are and concerning more about how things could be. It does not mean that you should not hire pioneers because they keep their heads in the clouds and can’t focus on the tasks at hand. Companies should hire more pioneers, as their high adaptability allows them to thrive in numerous working environments.

They make business exciting as they take challenges and redefine the status-quo permanently. However, when you seek such a business personality, know that these people don’t handle rigid structuring and details very well. They will question everything and may show high levels of “indiscipline.” Look beyond such superficial judgment of character.

3. The Guardian Personality

A guardian business personality describes an individual who shows skills in providing structure and minimizing risks. Guardians are reluctant to pursue new and unproved ideas while taking their time to make rational decisions and think things through.

4. The Integrator Personality

Integrators have everything figured out when it comes to empathy, building genuine relationships, pay attention to nuances, and understanding the big picture. They take their time to listen to everyone’s opinions and moving forward with an approach only when everybody else is on the same page.

The Benefits of Using These Business Personality Types in Real-Life Working Environments

In practice, we use plenty of personality inventories and cognitive assessments to understand candidates’ and employees’ work styles, attitudes, communication preferences, and so on. As you can easily realize from the categorization above, the four business personality types identified in the Business Chemistry Framework overlap and juxtapose personality and character dimensions revealed by other more established personality tests and inventories.

Is one type of working style/business personality better than others are? Clearly no. On the contrary, experts suggest we build business and leadership teams containing all these types. Here are some of the benefits of this approach that recruiters and organizations should consider:

Encourage Team Diversity

A mix of the four types leads to more team diversity. In its turn, it allows for creativity, challenge, and organizational growth. An organization where people execute without challenging the status quo is a dictatorship, not a thriving business.

Manage Team Strengths and Weaknesses

Many executives feel compelled to hire people of the same personality type, unknowingly promoting uniformity and narrow-mindedness. On the other hand, executives who don’t understand the value of a team’s different business personalities face conflicts, misunderstandings, employee frustration, and high turnover rates.

Push The Organization’s Goals Further

It is better to organize brainstorming sessions between Pioneers, Drivers, and Guardians to get a broad but realistic picture of its status and goals than having only Guardians at the table.

Helps Organizations Redefine Roles

At first glance, Guardians are the de facto leaders. They make sure everything is by the book, nobody takes unnecessary risks, the organization preserves its assets, and everybody complies with the rules. On the other hand, being a Guardian leader is not quite beneficial for people and organizations. If you know your literature on leadership styles and leadership assessment, you can make quick connections between Guardians and bureaucratic leaders. But it goes beyond finding team leads and seniors.

Allows Organizations to Bridge Talent Gaps

Experts recommend recruiters and executives take a step back from time to time and consider their team’s structure. Mindful, goal-oriented companies should always ask themselves the following questions:

  • What personality patterns and traits are the most present in my team? Do we foster uniformity and conformity, or do we embrace diversity?
  • How can we get more out of the traits we currently have connected to our team’s personality strengths?
  • What/who is missing from my team? What are my team’s weaknesses on a personal level?
  • What types of business personalities should we hire to boost teamwork, company performance, goal achievement, customer satisfaction, employee retention, etc.?
  • Are there personality gaps in our teams, and how can we mitigate these blind spots? Do we have recruiting, onboarding, or engagement strategies to diversify the team for better organizational success?
  • How do we celebrate individual differences in our company? How do we take advantage of complementary personality traits where they exist and reward employees for showing these traits?

Answering all these questions honestly helps organizations and recruiters refine their hiring and growth programs. An authoritarian leader may show a tendency to quash free thinkers, pioneers, disruptors, and all those who challenge the status quo. On the other hand, talent does not usually want to work for micromanagers and toxic leaders.

How Do Organizations Identify Business Personality Traits?

Observation is the main tool recruiters and executives use to identify existing or developing business personality traits within their organizations. Some specialists say that understanding these personalities is similar to learning a new language.

  • Are employees in your team making continuous remarks about cooperation, cohesion, or communication? They are most likely Integrators.
  • In the same vein, if you notice people praising decision-making, thorough analysis, detailed processes, etc., you may deal with both Integrators and Guardians.

Historically speaking, labeling and categorizing individuals proved catastrophic. For this reason, you should always be mindful of shared traits.

  • Drivers and Pioneers are prone to make decisions quickly. They are also slightly more tolerant of risks or conflicts.
  • On the other hand, Drivers and Pioneers yield some of the best brainstorming results. They can cooperate due to their shared traits while bringing benefits to the table because of their differences.

When it comes to business personality testing, you have plenty of HR tools at your disposal. You can use a broad range of cognitive and skills tests to highlight logical reasoning, people skills, personality traits that predict leadership or job performance, and so on.

Bottom Line

If your talent acquisition strategies focus on finding and retaining valuable employees to push your business forward, understanding business personality is paramount. When it comes to business personality testing, personality inventories, leadership assessment tools, observation, simulations, and 360-degree analyses are among the most useful instruments to employ.

However, it would help if you started by answering questions regarding your team’s diversity, success, strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots to build an effective hiring and growth program.

Do you consider business personality when you evaluate candidates or help organizations strengthen their teams? Did you ever use a personality test for business? How important do you find these business personality traits to be in an everyday working environment? Can you give us some examples of when such work styles proved useful to business growth?

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