The Four Personality Types of Board Members
When building the right board for your company, the CEO or chairperson are often looking for specific skill sets, work histories, and connections. While all of those are vitally important to creating a board that can open the right doors and direct a company towards success, something that is easy to overlook in a board member interview is personality.
Personality characteristics can greatly impact the effectiveness of a person’s work within a team. Their communication style or methods of handling frustration are aspects of a person’s personality. You can also include any quirks in this category too. These are all traits you won’t read on someone’s resume.
The personality of your board members is something that CEOs and chairpersons won’t have any way to know until you’ve been working together for a long time. The following is a list of personality types regularly found in the boardroom. Our list of personality types isn’t necessarily about whether the new board member will mesh with the rest of the board. Rather, our goal is to shed light on having the right balance of the different kinds of personality types that make up an impactful board of directors. Having too many of one category can have a negative effect on the level of success your company sees.
1. The Idealist
An idealist on a board is great at casting vision for the future of the corporation. They have big ideas and always see the best possible outcome as the natural one. This person is often the most positive of the group and gets excited about new concepts floating around the group. Their focus on the future and the next big idea can be an unmistakable asset.
2. The Realist
The realist is a critical thinker. When pitted against an Idealist, a realist can feel like they are shooting down ideas. Their ability to think clearly without an emotional stake is an asset to bring the rest of the board back down to earth. The realist can sometimes also be the skeptic of the group. Utilizing their innate skepticism can help to bullet-proof ideas before they leave the boardroom.
3. The Creative Thinker
Your boardroom creative type is the person for out-of-the-box answers. They can take the idea the idealist throws out, and come up with how it could happen. Their solutions aren’t always thoroughly thought out, but they’re the board’s best bet for breaking ground on that new, outrageous idea. Their process may sometimes seem like chaos, but frequently their unorthodox approach leads to differentiating your company from the competition.
4. The Facilitator
This is the person who is focused on getting things done. They take the ideas that have passed the test of the realist and set about to accomplish them. Often the most organized of the group, the facilitator is ready to delegate and set tasks, action items, and next steps. They’re often the person who is keeping the meetings on track and reeling the group back in when a tangent occurs.
Which personality type are you? How do your board members fit in? Likely, each person on your board is a mix of two or more of these categories, and obviously our list isn’t exhaustive. If you find that your board is full of idealists without enough realists to balance the group, you may want to consider that in your next board member appointment! To do personality testing of your own, The Myers Briggs Company has this guide and many other resources on conducting personality tests and personnel choices.
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