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The concept of personality types, temperaments, and work styles has been central to organizational behavior for years. As entrepreneurs or managers, we frequently assess personality to determine ideal team composition and workflows. While there are certainly some toxic personalities out there, many others who seem difficult can offer serious benefits to start-ups. The opposition, non-conformity, perfectionism, and inconstancy that often accompanies abstract thinking should not be breaking traits.
As a founder, I tend to have strong opinions about the work styles and personalities of those I consider to be creative, resourceful, and hard-working people. At the same time, some characters tend to compete in small teams, creating a stimulating work environment. However, hiring managers can quickly label “difficult” people as toxic, which can cost a startup its competitive edge. For my part, I appreciate the contributions made by seemingly “difficult” people. Here are three inspiring personalities who often make great hires and give start-up teams the edge they otherwise wouldn’t have.
Related: Smart Tips For Networking With These 4 Personality Types
1. Demanding but artistically brilliant
Just about any founder or CEO would appreciate a genius on their team, but these rare outside-the-box thinkers can be notoriously difficult employees. They can be prickly, fiercely individualistic, anti-team, and have fragile personal lives.
In my old design retail business, a set stylist we worked with fit the bill perfectly. Not only did he demand double the market rate, but he also wanted my constant attention and didn’t allow anyone else on the team to address his concerns. That said, he managed to deliver the most beautiful sets in the most unlikely and disappointing places: he could turn a cave into a castle for the camera.
In today’s ultra-competitive consumer product market, where hundreds of versions of every item are available, brilliant design differentiation can make or break your brand.
Despite the obstacles, hiring a category-defying genius paid off for us. The key is to manage these people with empathy, awareness and appreciation for their unique contributions – while setting the boundaries required for your sanity. Set your expectations that these hires will be individual contributors – not necessarily team players – and budget your time accordingly.
Related: Do you ask employees for feedback? If not, good luck with retention.
2. Distracted Abstract Thinker
For rational, linear thinkers who prioritize planning and organization, distraction can drive you crazy. Yet the same mental process that leads to fickleness can fuel new ideas and unexplored solutions.
According to a study published in Psychological Science, mind wandering stimulates what neuroscientists call “creative incubation,” allowing a disjointed train of thought to make unlikely and uncommon connections that yield unique and creative solutions.
Although one of the most inspired web developers I’ve worked with often didn’t know what day of the week it was or where to find the printer he used every day, he figured out how to create a basic Shopify e-commerce to offer a fully customized product. site with sophisticated and unique UX features, flexible navigation, and a robust backend that even enterprise-level systems often don’t offer.
The key to working with these distracted gems is pairing them with a colleague who can provide additional operational support.
3. Contrary to looking for problems
While working with someone to always find problems can be disheartening and crushing morale, a team that enthusiastically backs an unrealistic product idea is doomed. The right balance is to hire this smart offender: “Someone who looks for business practices that don’t make sense, who isn’t too dependent on a small group of like-minded people, who can embrace diversity and who is happiest on the fringe.”
A founder I mentored told me she only hires people who show extreme enthusiasm for her product – a scheduling app. She wanted to avoid negativity. As a result, no one on his team halted the beta launch to fix a known issue, and his app experienced a significant functionality failure.
Having this smart contrarian to point out the real concerns at the right time, even if it’s not the popular or politically correct decision, can help ensure that issues are addressed before too many resources are invested or larger issues arise. do not occur. While opposites can be frustrating, they spot critical gaps that others might be afraid to talk about. To work effectively with contrarian personalities, practice prioritizing their observations and be prepared to translate unsolicited criticism into better ideas and more innovative solutions.
Related: 5 Ways to Make Your Company’s Hiring Process Fairer
The final decision
Ultimately, you’ll need to weigh the costs and benefits of working with inspiring personalities within your organization. While many require special hosting, buffering, and handling, I’ve found their contributions to be worth the investment.