Common business personality types in your small business - which are you?

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

Navigating different personalities in the workplace isn’t always easy. Whilst diverse teams make for great businesses, this is only ever the case when there is effective communication, and when each team member is managed by someone who can work with their individual strengths and weaknesses.

Let’s face it, teamwork is essential to business success, and understanding your employees’ psyches will have a direct impact on how you will be able to get the most out of them.

More than this, understanding your own business personality will be key in helping you become a better leader. By recognising your personality traits, you will become more self-aware, and be able to lead your small business with greater confidence.

16 Personalities & The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

You might already be familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Developed by Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs, the MBTI questionnaire was originally designed to help identify an individual’s personality type, strengths and preferences.

‘16 personalities’ is a framework that has evolved from the MBTI. A helpful tool for understanding personalities in the workplace, the framework evaluates five characteristics of personality and categorises character types with five-letter identifiers. The identifiers are:

  1. Introversion vs. Extraversion

  2. Sensing vs. Intuition

  3. Thinking vs. Feeling

  4. Judging vs. perceiving

  5. Assertive vs. Turbulent

What are the main workplace personality types?

As the name suggests, there are 16 personality types that sit under four main groups, referred to as ‘roles’. These roles determine a person’s goals, interests, character traits and preferred activities, which can easily be applied to the workplace. The four main roles are:


Personality types & famous entrepreneurs:

  1. Architects: Elon Musk

  2. Logicians: Bill Gates

  3. Commanders: Steve Jobs

  4. Debaters: Mark Cuban

The analyst group consists of independent thinkers that are both rational and strategic. These employees favour a utilitarian approach and are more concerned about doing what works over doing what people want.

Analysts are curious by nature, driven by a desire to understand and create. They are able to problem-solve confidently, which makes them an essential part of any team.

However, this self-assurance means that analysts have a tendency to question authority, never willing to blindly accept what people in positions of power have to say.


Personality types & famous entrepreneurs:

  1. Advocates: Marie Kondo

  2. Mediators: Isabel Briggs Myers

  3. Protagonists: Oprah Winfrey

  4. Campaigners: Walt Disney

People within the diplomats group tend to be social, cooperative workers that are often responsible for harmonising situations. A diplomat would describe themself as a ‘people person’ and a major strength lies in their ability to empathise with others.

Diplomats are constantly trying to understand themselves and the people around them better. Caring souls, they are sensitive to other people’s feelings and believe in the ideals of humanism.

Diplomats don’t enjoy rocking the boat, and overthinking is a common trait in this group. As a result, making difficult decisions in business can be a hard task.


Personality types & famous entrepreneurs:

  1. Logician: Henry Ford & Jeff Bezos

  2. Defender: Gwyneth Paltrow & Kim Kardashian

  3. Executives: John D. Rockefeller

  4. Consuls: Sam Walton

Sentinels are grounded, practical and cooperative people that tend to be hard working and meticulous in what they do. These personality types thrive in logistical and administrative fields where rules and hierarchies are present.

No task is too big for a sentinel, and you can rely on these personality types to work efficiently to meet deadlines. Sentinels are good planners and don’t procrastinate in getting the job done.

A potential flaw of sentinels is their belief that their way of doing things is the best way, which can make them inflexible and reluctant to listen to other people’s points of view.


Personality types & famous entrepreneurs:

  1. Virtuosos: Jack Dorsey

  2. Adventurer: (underrepresented as business owners)

  3. Entrepreneur: Donald Trump & Winston Churchill

  4. Entertainers: Richard Branson

Spontaneous and quick thinking, explorers are good at learning on the fly. Their flexibility suits situations that require them to adapt quickly, as change is where they thrive best.

Explorers enjoy introducing others to the latest innovations, be it in food, fashion, tech or school of thought. They thrive when completing work that excites them, but aren’t the best workers when it comes to tasks they aren’t passionate about.

These personality types tend to be risk takers, and aren’t afraid to move out of their comfort zone.

How can businesses use 16 personalities?

Both 16 personalities and MBTI are commonly used by businesses for recruiting purposes, helping to determine whether a candidate will make a good cultural fit.

These tests also help companies better recognise the different personalities that lie within their existing teams, which can help them understand how to best boost morale and productivity.

Understanding your business personality as a leader:

There tends to be three personality types that are commonly associated with business owners. These types evolved from Michael Gerber’s ‘The E-Myth Revisited’, a book that analyses small businesses and common reasons for business failure.

The entrepreneurial ‘myth’ is that most people who start small businesses are entrepreneurs, when, according to Gerber, in reality this is not the case. The book focuses on the Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Technician personalities, and states that just one of these personalities tend to be dominant in business founders.

The Entrepreneur:

Always looking at the bigger picture, entrepreneurs think strategically and are always striving for improvement within their firm. Their focus is on analysing where their business is versus where they want it to be. As big dreamers, entrepreneurs aren’t short of vision. This personality type focuses on their business’s equity value, deeming both time and money as of critical importance.

The Manager:

Managers are practical planners, able to drive results through others. They are also highly concerned with how their resource’s time is spent and utilised. They pay attention to both short-term and long-term company goals. Tactical thinkers, managers are highly aware of a business’s financial health and are constantly aiming to ensure employees and business assets are being used effectively.

The Technician:

Technicians have a hands-on approach to business that is crucial to the production and delivery of work. They tend to be hard workers that are less focused on money made and more focused on ensuring project completion. Task oriented, technicians keep the cogs of business turning by focusing on the present.

The link between personality & success

Interestingly, Gerber believes a typical small business owner is 10% Entrepreneur, 20% Manager and 70% Technician. Whatever your result, by understanding your dominant personality better, you can take corrective action to improve the areas you lack.

And when it comes to your employees, by taking the time to understand your staff, improve your workplace culture and ensure your teams and values are aligned, your business is bound to benefit from a better engaged and more motivated workforce.

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