Business isn’t supposed to be personal. But your personality can actually play a big part in how you run your business and whether or not you’re able to manage your team successfully. In fact, MetLife recently created a paper that explores the idea of leadership personality types and how they can impact business.
Four Leadership Personality Types
The paper, which is titled “It’s Personal: The Four Types of Small Business Owners,” outlines four distinct types of small business leaders:
- The visionary
- The problem solver
- The director
- The hands-free owner
Each of those personas include varying characteristics and leadership styles. And they all present different potential benefits to teams and businesses.
The visionary is seen as a goal oriented leader who is open to new experiences and puts their vision and values first when making business decisions. The visionary can help a business stay on track since they’re so focused on the main goals and values that they initially set for the business.
The Problem Solver
The problem solver is inventive and collaborative when coming up with solutions to both routine problems and unexpected obstacles. The problem solver can adapt to different situations and come up with really inventive solutions to a wide variety of problems.
The director is highly focused and resourceful when applying a pragmatic process to business decisions. The director can keep teams on track and make sure everyone is producing at a high level.
The Hands-free Owner
The hands-free owner is optimistic and comfortable delegating much of the everyday tasks involved with running the business. And the hands-free owner can foster an environment of freedom and creativity in the workplace.
What Type of Leadership is Best for Your Team?
There isn’t just one specific personality type that is better suited to business leadership than the others. Instead, you have to look at what type of leadership is going to work best for your business and team members. Of course, a lot of that personality and leadership style comes to each individual naturally. But you can also be deliberate about some of the leadership and decision making processes that you put into place for your business.
For example, if you have a team that operates most successfully when given a lot of freedom, then you might find the need to employ a hands-free owner approach to some of your business processes. Even if you’re more naturally a director, if you find that a certain style is more conducive to your team succeeding, then you can work to employ that style in certain instances.
There’s no rule that states every business owner must employ only one leadership style and stick to it in every single situation. In fact, many leaders might find that they have tendencies that fit into two or more of those leadership personality types. Even if you do fit into only one of those categories naturally, you might find that certain situations call for more of a hybrid or out of character approach.
Let’s say you most naturally fit into the visionary personality type and you use that leadership approach in most areas of running your business. However, when you run into unexpected obstacles, you might find that it’s actually more effective to employ a problem solver style to find really creative solutions.
Each of these leadership personality types can also potentially benefit how each business owner manages his or her employees: everything from the workplace environment, to the culture of promotions, to managing the company’s employee benefits programs. For instance, the hands-free owner might develop a process that gives employees a fair amount of freedom when choosing their benefits, rather than spending a lot of time pouring over the different potential options. They might appoint a knowledgeable HR rep to develop a set of options for employees to choose from, but leave a fair amount of freedom for each team member to make their own decisions.
Someone who has more of a director leadership style might be more deliberate about the options presented. They may be fairly pragmatic about researching to find the very best options available and then present only those deemed worthy to their team members.
Ultimately, each business owner must consider which styles fit best with their own goals, their business and the members of their team.
Understanding these leadership personality types and how they can impact teams and businesses can help you lead more effectively. Whether you’re dealing with everyday issues, solving unusual problems or even doing something like developing a benefits program, your personality and leadership style has the potential to make a huge impact on the overall success of your business.
Which of these leadership personality types are you? You can check out the paper to learn more.
Leader Image via Shutterstock
I think that I am more of a mix of problem solver and hands free. I let the talents of my subordinates come out and I give them enough of a freedom as well. But I solve problems as they come up.
Sounds like a great approach!
Your post not only made me think about what leadership style fits my team best, but also what leadership behavior is most suitable in a particular business- or team-situation.
A team may need me to be a “Director” in a crisis situation and a “Hands-free Owner” when starting a product development project that requires a lot of creativity.
It seems to be about continuously adapting one’s leadership style within the range of two dimensions: Detail-Orientation and Control.
The Visionary would be oriented towards the big picture to navigate a given situation (low Detail-Orientation), while the Problem Solver would work at a much higher level of detail to come up with a solution (high Detail-Orientation).
The Director may control the team quite strictly to ensure that everybody sticks to the intended processes (tight Control), while the Hands-free Owner grants more freedom to the team to encourage creativity and allow a high degree of initiative (loose Control).
So, to choose the “right” type of leadership, business owners need to ask themselves: “How much of a detail focus is required to tackle the task?” and “What level of control is needed to help my team perform at its best?”
Thanks again for summarizing the four Leadership Personality types!
So true – adapting to what your business/team needs can be such a great trait in a leader. Glad you liked the post!