Why personality type is vital in finding sales leaders
Recruiting a strong leader for your sales team is a major challenge. One helpful aspect to consider is personality type. There are four main personality types and they all take to leadership in different ways.
In the sales field more than almost any other, having a strong leader is key to achieving optimum performance. Salespeople are often subject to strict targets, deadlines and a huge amount of pressure to deliver income which keeps a business ahead, or sometimes even afloat. To truly excel salespeople need a strong leader who can support, encourage and steer the ship when things get a bit rocky. There are four key personality types associated with leadership: Analysts, Amiable, Pragmatists and Extroverts. All of these personalities can adapt to leadership roles but do so in very different ways. So how do you know how to employ the right person for your business?
The Analyst Leader: Unsurprisingly, the Analyst personality type is focused on logic and excels at setting up systems which can improve a product or organisation. They tend to take a rational approach to challenges and give little consideration to any ideas that aren’t rooted in logic and data. They often value inventive ‘outside the box’ thinking as a route to solving problems.
Analysts are highly organised and could often be accused of being perfectionists, which can sometimes make them come across as negative to their co-workers. The way an Analyst approaches something can make them a risk in terms of delivering to deadlines so they are not necessarily suited to all sales leadership positions. However, any position where careful planning and strong strategy are required are the ideal roles for Analyst leaders.
Famous Analyst leaders are said to include Colin Powell, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk.
The Amiable Leader: The Amiable personality type is most linked to imaginative leaders; those who can inspire others and communicate a vision. They don’t concern themselves with the small details in the way an Analyst does, instead prioritising building relationships and avoiding conflict. They may have an element of caution to their approach but their main aim is to foster positive interactions and get along with others.
In terms of the sales field, an Amiable type would be an obvious choice to unite your sales team and build strong team relationships. They could be the key to having a strong sense of teamwork within your sales operations.
Famous Amiable types are speculated to be Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and Walt Disney and no one can argue with their histories of bringing people together.
The Pragmatist Leader: The Pragmatist personality type might be less favourably labelled as a ‘stickler’ or ‘jobsworth’ as they’re associated with being most concerned with following rules and guidelines. They’re generally driven by an overall sense of responsibility and see their role as needing to protect and preserve the business or organisation they work for. Pragmatists make excellent sources of knowledge and advice and are often highly organised.
It’s questionable whether Pragmatists make for the best sales leaders as they might be less outgoing and flexible than a sales professional needs to be. However, they’d be perfectly suited to roles where they’re required to manage large teams because of their organised, methodical nature.
Famous people often labelled as Pragmatists include Queen Elizabeth II, Angela Merkel and Condoleezza Rice.
The Extrovert Leader: An Extrovert might also be described as a ‘risk taker’ for their gutsy approach to leadership. They’re prepared to take risks and are also associated with confidence and energy. While they might not be so focused on long term goals as an Analyst they are just as likely to deliver impressive results. Extroverts are more interested in taking action than in planning and analysing, which makes them exciting and inspiring to their colleagues but can present a certain level of risk to a business.
As a leader of a sales team, an Extrovert would be an excellent choice as they’re highly motivated and goal-orientated. You might just want to keep tabs on what they’re doing before they’ve had the team sell something you can’t necessarily deliver!
Famous Extrovert types include Richard Branson, Bear Grylls and Ernest Hemingway.
Before hiring any leader in your business, you need to consider not only which personality type is best suited to the job but also how they fit in to your wider management team. If your MD is an Extrovert type, you may not want to bring another Extrovert in to increase the risk-taking. Instead, perhaps a more organised type like a Pragmatist or even an Analyst might be a better choice. Ideally such top tier employees will have personality types which don’t match but vary, and in turn complement each other.
Hiring a sales leader isn’t easy. It’s not only about their experience and technical abilities but their innate character. Personality types can help you to understand how different people operate within a business and give you some insight into how to form a dream sales team. Knowing this, Pareto have built personality types into their sales training processes and particularly around leadership.
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Pareto Law have been in the business of recruiting and training salespeople for over 20 years. Pareto know the sales industry and its superstars better than anyone and can help you to find your next leader; we have a high success rate with an interview to placement ratio of 3:1. If you need a real sales pro to drive your operations, contact Pareto Law for a free consultation.
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