Researchers took a look at 21 different personality factors of corporate executives and startup executives and found that, indeed, startup entrepreneurs are different. Full disclosure: The title of this post is the first sentence of an article in which Tom Eckmann of Venturer Newsletter interviews Carl Robinson of Advanced Leadership Consulting. I found the interview some months ago in a startup business website, but when I want back to find it, it’s gone. However, thanks to Google, I found the full text of the article on a PDF.
Robinson looked at traits such as insight, energy level, assertiveness, criticism tolerance and acceptance of control. What he learned can be helpful to you if you’re starting your first business. You’ll want to know which aspects of your personality will help you succeed and which you may need to manage or control.
Five traits that the researchers found that distinguish startup executives are:
- Insight about people – people smarts of what Daniel Goleman would call Emotional Intelligence
- Frustration tolerance – the ability to handle frustrations, rejections and pressure with grace
- Criticism tolerance – the ability to receive, assimilate and put to use critical feedback
- Optimism – the deeply held belief in a positive future
- Self-control – the ability manage ones emotions under pressure
Some traits typical of startup executives that they most need to control are:
- Need for freedom and acceptance of control – They need to avoid resisting reasonable organizational structures that can create efficiencies.
- Need to be liked – All too often they have difficulty making hard personnel decisions, especially with “loyal buddies”.
- Realism and pragmatism – They are often dreamers and idea people who can’t get to market because they want to keep making it [the product] better.
- Self reliance – Startup entrepreneurs should get over toughing it out and learn to ask for help in a timely fashion.