There have been thousands of books written about what it takes to be successful in business, but what isn’t as widely spoken about is how much your personality traits could impact your chances of success.
According to Dr Mike Allan, a psychologist and associate director of employment advisory firm Livingstones Australia, it is possible to predict if an individual is more or less likely to be a successful entrepreneur purely by looking at their personal characteristics.
BizSmart’s own research also found this to be true and revealed a strong correlation between business success and personality type in our recently published ScaleUp Challenges report.
Why personality type is important
As a business owner, understanding where your strengths lie by undergoing some personality profiling can be hugely valuable and could hold the key to taking your business to the next level. Not only can it help you communicate better, but it can also allow you to expand your horizons and improve your own skill set.
Whilst succeeding as a business owner requires certain traits and attitudes, building a solid team that works well together is clearly vital, too. Understanding people — their behaviour, motivations, fears, and challenges – is a necessity for businesses to improve their performance, and understanding your employees’ personality traits and working styles as well as your own can help you establish whether weaknesses are within yourself, or within your wider business.
By understanding your own personality type, you can lead others more effectively by focusing on your strengths and being aware of any potential pit falls, as well as understanding others’ strengths and requirements to succeed.
So, where do you begin?
There are many different types of personality profiling you can undertake but DISC analysis is, without a doubt, one of the most effective.
DISC analysis is a behavioural assessment tool which measures personality and behavioural style, such as how you respond to challenges, how you influence others and how you respond to rules and procedures.
In business, DISC is used to analyse leadership styles and to help business owners understand their own strengths and weaknesses and the types of people they need within their organisation to build a cohesive and effective team.
Typically, DISC profiles are administered as a speed quiz, encouraging participants to answer the questions as quickly as they can and then move on. This added pressure means participants have less time to think through their answers and give what they perceive to be the ‘correct’ answer – they just respond with their gut. This means the responses are genuine reflections of their behaviours – which is exactly what you want.
The four personality types explained
There are four primary DISC profiles, which we at BizSmart have translated into birds to represent each personality type. The profiles are divided as follows:
- Dominance [Falcon]: Commanding individuals motivated by authority, competition and success who are self-confident, direct and forceful by nature
- Influence [Cockatoo]: Energised, pioneering and affirmative individuals motivated by social recognition and strong relationships
- Steadiness [Dove]: Supportive, stable and collaborative individuals who are patient, calm and possess excellent listening and team skills
- Conscientiousness [Owl]: Quiet and reserved individuals focused on accuracy who are motivated by an opportunity to use expertise or gain knowledge
When questioning business owners with each personality type on the challenges they faced, we found an obvious link between their individual traits and the hurdles they were trying to overcome on their business growth journeys.
For example, 50% of individuals with a Dove profile revealed they struggle to remain on track with any plan compared to just 21% of Falcons, whilst 57% of Falcons said they struggle to attract and retain enough of the right people, compared to just 15% of Owls and 22% of Doves.
Work/life balance was another divisive factor between each type, with 36% of Falcons working 60 hours plus compared to just 6% of Cockatoos, 0% of owls and 6% of Doves.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to your personality type
Whilst these findings shed an interesting light on where some personality types fall down on their business growth journeys, it’s important to know that all DISC styles and priorities are equally valuable.
The idea of learning about your personality profile is not to find out if you are better than anyone else but is instead to gain a better understanding of yourself and how you think about situations. Everyone sits differently on the scale, but by examining where you and your employees’ fall you can better understand decisions that are being made within your business and in what areas you and others are holding it back, so that you can take steps to rectify it.
The above points are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding how personality type can affect your business, and clearly it is worth taking the time to get to know both yours and your employees’ unique traits to improve self-awareness and, in turn, organisational effectiveness.
Accepting the strengths and weaknesses of yourself and those around you can not only improve your ability to work more positively with your team but everyone you encounter and will help put your business on the path to sustainable growth and success.
Kevin Brent is director of business support provider and franchise, BizSmart