Key Team Personality Types by Jeff Palfini
Much like characters in a role-playing game, everyone on a successful team plays a unique part. When certain challenges arise, you need to know whose strengths will best match the task. Here are a few key personality types to look for.
Strength: Questions the status quo, outspoken
Weakness: Abrasive, needs prodding to work well with others
Battle cry: “What I cannot create, I do not understand.” — Richard Feynman, physicist
The Agitator is the flint that sparks innovation within the team. An unwillingness to accept things as they are and propensity for speaking out can often trigger real and important change.
Hero: Virgin founder and CEO Richard Branson
The Wild Card
Strength: Skill and dedication, if you can find the key to motivating him
Weakness: Lackluster performance if you can’t
Weapon: Latent energy
Battle cry: “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I’ll remember. Involve me and I’ll understand.” — Confucius
The Wild Card has a moment of clarity when he realizes the importance of the company vision and feels invested in its success. After that, you might mistake him for the Workhorse — or even the Expert.
Hero: Director Quentin Tarantino
Strength: Execution, ability to get team on board and invested in new ideas
Weakness: Often gets all the credit for the Agitator’s ideas, can be subject to swollen ego
“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?” — Steve Jobs
Any opportunity to address the troops. An ability to inspire the rest of the team with a clear and dramatic vision puts momentum behind ideas.
Hero: Jack Welch
Strength: Focus, work ethic, dogged determination
Weakness: Can sometimes be slow to adapt to new ways, resistant to change
Battle cry: “Victory belongs to the most persevering.” — Napoleon Bonaparte
Reliable and determined, the Workhorse is the finisher and will ensure that the job gets done.
Hero: Baseball’s ultimate everyday player, Cal Ripken, Jr.
Strength: Communication — the glue that brings the team together, especially in difficult times
Weakness: More effective in times of crisis than when things are running smoothly
“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic but creatures of emotion.” — Dale Carnegie
When rifts appear in the team or progress has stalled, the Glue smoothes things over or suggests who might be able to get the wheels turning again.
Hero: eBay CEO Meg Whitman
Strength: Vast knowledge of a subject area, its major players, and its most useful sources of information
Weakness: Information doesn’t always translate to innovation
Weapon: Encyclopedic brain
“The desire of knowledge, like the thirst for riches, increases ever with the acquisition of it.” — Irish writer Laurence Sterne
When an intellectual or informational snag is slowing the process, the Expert has the solution. However, team members often need to approach him, since his active mind is frequently occupied.
Hero: Java engineer James Gosling