A successful business requires a blend of personalities

If you are looking for a single pointer to someone’s personality, there is a simple question – “Do you believe that your glass is half full or half empty?” Apart from the inevitable ‘”Don’t knows” or a handful of philosophers who challenge the premise behind the question, most people fall into one camp or the other: they instinctively know whether they are positive or negative about life. And if they’re not sure, then their friends will probably be able to tell. It’s quite unusual for someone to be perfectly balanced with an optimistic attitude. In the majority of relationships, there is one person who is extroverted, bouncy and full of ideas while the other is the realistic, introverted and more thoughtful one. They tend to balance each other out.

How much does your personality affect the way you do business? Are you more likely to be successful in the business world if you are either very extroverted or introverted? The natural assumption is that an extrovert would be more successful, but this isn’t always the case. Extrovert strengths are that they are very good around people, are excellent networkers, more likely to take risks and they will be very passionate about new ideas. In business meetings and public speaking they come across very well with good communication skills, confident body language and a lot of infectious energy.

An introvert on the other hand will not particularly enjoy spending much time networking with people as they need their own space. They are usually very thoughtful and will spend a lot of time thinking ideas through very carefully, as well as being good listeners. In the modern world of business there are now more opportunities for introverts as networking can be done online through social media sites such as LinkedIn. As business becomes more global, more communication is done through email and conference calls rather than face-to-face. At TAEFL we believe that face-to-face is the best form of relationship-building and we try to organise this wherever possible.

Is one camp better at business?

It’s impossible to say that either personality type is better at business. The real answer to the question has to be that anyone can be successful through passion, hard work and perseverance in business. Any type of person must push themselves out of their comfort zone at times, regardless of what the task is, to make themselves successful in business. And ultimately working with a mix of people is helpful because it balances out personalities and stabilises a team. If you have a very creative, energetic personality, they will steady with a quiet, thoughtful colleague and between the two of them come up with creative but realistic ideas.

TAEFL enjoys extensive diversity within its staff, which means that teamwork is always beneficial as it can generate new thoughts and ideas and results in great steps forward in business. Our CEO, Mark Runiewicz is typically a big picture person who enjoys talking with other people, thinking of new ideas and starting new projects. In contrast, Mary McErlain, another director, is more of a small picture-specific person so she can look at a whole host of ideas and options and think them through; suggest the ones which will be possible and worthwhile.

It’s helpful for each individual to work out what type of personality they have, as it will be much easier to learn if the information is adapted into a way they can easily relate to. The variety of personalities and even nationalities at TAEFL mean that everybody sees something with a slightly different perspective so we can all look at a problem and come up with several solutions based on different angles and then work together to find the best solution. So the real question isn’t “Is the glass half full or half empty” but really “What can we do with what’s in this glass?”.

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