Sorting through types of entrepreneurs is not something human resources get to do. Entrepreneurs, especially founders, often are the first employee. They set the tone and the future company culture. In effect, types of entrepreneurs translate into types of companies.
At the same time, hiring based on personality type is a big deal nowadays. More and more human resources managers include some sort of personality testing into hiring. Why? Because more and more organizations want to make sure they onboard the right candidate. Personality testing seems to be a safe way to ensure employees will fit in.
Yet, oftentimes the same results don’t apply to types of entrepreneurs. In fact, it appears that entrepreneurs that “make it” constantly change the paradigm for which personality type does what. Hence, let’s cover personality types for a bit, and then go into types of entrepreneurs.
How personality theories apply to types of entrepreneurs
There are several systems that paint a picture on personality types. While some rely on science, others still lack scientific backing of any kind. Every year, millions of people are tested and millions of decisions are made based on such tests. Consequentially, organizations that develop the tests continually improve their repertoire.
The main criticism, however, is that there seldom is any relation between the personality type and management effectiveness. To be sure, mature markets rely less on personality testing. Nearly three quarters of all mature market companies used personality testing in 2012. This went down by 12% in 2016. Intermediate and developing markets, however, are making more and more use of personality testing. On average, more than half of all international companies use some form of personality testing. Check this global assessment barometer report for more info.
To critics, far too many companies still rely on personality testing. And heavily so. Especially since opinions on the effectiveness of personality testing are mixed. The expectation that psychometric assessment predicts performance is 70% in Sweden versus only 30% in Germany.
Moreover, most companies use psychometric testing in hiring (on the rise from 77% in 2010 to 94% in 2016). Meanwhile, only a third use them for promotion. Add to this that more than a third of all of these companies complain that there is a shortage of talent. And this complaint is primarily based on some very common tests.
The most common personality tests used in 94% of the hiring psychometrics fall in the same line. Tests such as the Meyer-Briggs Type Indicator, Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire, Gallup Strengths Finder and the list goes on. Emerging markets favor newer flavors of these tests, and so they should. You can actually train to get it right.
Types of entrepreneurs in the Meyer-Briggs Type Indicator
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is, well, notorious. It is perhaps one of the most known personality tests. It therefore had its share of criticism. Many have called it “unscientific“/ “a joke“/ “questionable“/ “a fad that won’t die“/ “totally meaningless.” Yet, more than 2 million people take the test every year. And that is hard to argue with.
The point here is that one day you might be tested against the MBTI. And, scientific or not, your answers will be part of a profile that might mean yes or no. Conversely, think of all those entrepreneurs you admire. All those profiles that inspire you. Each of them might have taken the MBTI at one point or another. Ever wondered whether Elon Musk is an INTP or INTJ? In fact, we’ll follow in a bit with some of the most successful types of entrepreneurs.
But first, a bit of MBTI and what it all means. MBTI proposes a personality typology covering 16 personality types. Each type is the result of your answers to 93 questions that rate your preference on 4 opposing pairs of personality traits. How you rate in each of these traits wins you a 4-letter code.
- “Extraversion” or “Introversion”, with E and I, respectively;
- “Sensing” or “Intuition”, with S or N, respectively;
- “Thinking” or “Feeling”, with T or F, respectively;
- “Judging” or “Perceiving”, with J or P, respectively.
Overall, you can have a total of 16 combinations. Each of these types stands for an unique personality. Some are more frequent than others. Of all 2 million testers every year, the rarest is INFJ, followed shortly by ENTJ. The most common are ESFJ and ISFJ. The rarest by gender is ENTJ, there are only 0.9% ENTJ women.
Most successful types of entrepreneurs
The most successful types of entrepreneurs are ENTPs, ESTJs, ENTJs, INTJs, and ISTJs. This means that the majority of successful entrepreneurs predominantly fall within these 5 types.
First of all, we can see all these entrepreneurs are thinkers. This is highly advantageous for business. Thinkers are more inclined to base decisions on evidence. They are also more capable of making unpopular decisions.
Second of all, we notice that extraversion covers 60% of the most successful types of entrepreneurs. Introversion, however, is not far behind. You can clearly see why it’s perhaps best to harmonize introverts and extroverts. Lastly, each of these most successful types of entrepreneurs has a few traits that are worth exploring.
MBTI types of entrepreneurs
The ENTP, for example, is “the inventor.” Loves to challenge authority and will prove you wrong at the risk of inventing time travel. They are one of the types of entrepreneurs that innovate. They create new products.
ESTJs are nicknamed “the supervisor.” Among the most successful types of entrepreneurs, they can draw out order and structure from chaos. They have an amazing aptitude at performing mental tasks. Think Riker from Star Trek. Their introverted counterparts, the ISTJ, are also known as “the inspector.” They make for great CFOs and legal counsel. At least, when you want things done by the book.
ENTJs are essentially the highly effective leaders, the CEO’s, the Field Marshalls. Among the types of entrepreneurs, they’re the rarest personality type in MBTI and are most likely to think of options in face of obstacles. Their introverted counterpart, INTJ are nicknamed “the mastermind.” Much like Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek.
All these types of entrepreneurs follow their intuition, which means they take risks. However, these risks are calculated and assumed. All these types of entrepreneurs are competitive and want to win, every time. On the other hand, they have great self-control and can focus on the end-game, blurring out everything else. However, they seldom compromise and rarely prioritize feelings. For a full picture, you might want to check this amazing infographic, which compares various types of entrepreneurs against the Meyer-Briggs typology.
To conclude, personality testing and psychometrics may be on the rise, but there are many issues with how the tests are conceived, carried out and how the results are used. At times, much of the procedure seems to be nonsensical, unscientific, and perhaps even mystical. The future, however, seems to bring improved testing rather than fewer tests. Understanding how it all adds up means you can better figure out where you stand.