Diversity Through Complimentary Personalities

In a previous post, I showed how to piece together an awesome team, like a jigsaw puzzle. Here I have listed some complimentary personality types to help  building such a team . If you have one of these personalities, you probably want to balance him/her with someone with a complimentary personality

The compliment of a personality is not necessarily the opposite personality. For example, an out-of-the-box thinker has to be balanced by a validator.

Caution! None of these personalities by themselves is bad. However, certain groupings of these personalities can result in undesirable group behavior such as recklessness, lack of innovation or group think

There are two main reasons for pairing complimentary personalities …

  1. Achieve high performance while avoiding mishaps
  2. Find middle ground.

An environment for all to thrive

In some cases, you have to setup the environment so that complimentary personalities have healthy conflict and come to a common solution. In other situations, each one needs autonomy

Out-of-the-box Thinker Validator Many  innovations are made possible because the innovator is blissfully unaware of some scenarios. A validator on the other hand is aware of those scenarios. Have both on your team enables unbridled imagination that can be harnessed practically

Make sure that your validator is not a nay sayer. A good validator says ‘thats a great idea. Do we have worry about xyz scenario?’. A nay-sayer says ‘but it cant handle xyz scenario’

Simplifier Exhaustor Everything should be as simple as it can be, but not simpler. These two personalities work on first and second phrases respectively
Cowboy Process Stickler Long winded processes often slow you down. Cowboys can get someone killed. Having both on your team can help you find middle ground
Risk Taker Safety Seeker Innovation & progress is made possible by risk takers. Unfortunately many risk takers don’t survive. Safety seekers are run-over by change in the long run. A good team has risk-takers pushing the limits while safety seekers add safety nets. I have found it best to keep these two autonomous
Doer Thinker These are collaborative complimentary types. Very often, some people have great ideas and designs but can’t get things done. Doers on the other hand would rather code than attend a meeting
 Innovators Scalers Innovative people often suck at bringing their ideas to fruition. If do bring it tuition, they probably lack the patience and discipline to scale the idea. This is why big companies are so profitable while startups are so innovative

No-one is superior

You should never allow a personality to triumph over his / her complimentary type. Either both their views are implemented or they find middle ground. For example, a safety seeker can make a safety net while the risk taker can walk on a tight rope.

No personality is superior to its complimentary type. The innovators are in no way superior to conventionalists, who are often better at scaling and implementing an idea than the original innovator

Centrist Changes

Most people change over time. But personality traits rarely harden. Instead, people broaden their range of behavior, leading some curious changes like …

  • Validators become more innovative ! In the early part of their career, they amassed as much knowledge they could. They focussed on applying that knowledge correctly which made them superb resources to validate ideas. Overtime, the breadth of their knowledge leads them to discover ambivalence – that the same thing can be accomplished in many ways. Once they realize this, not only do they become more open to innovation, they innovate
  • Innovators become validators! In the early of their career, they threw everything at the wall to see what stuck, what was important and what they could get away with. This led them to broaden their knowledge over time. Armed with the knowledge (and an occasional defeat), they are able to validate innovations. This is very similar to entrepreneurs going on to start incubators

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