We are all different. Shaped by upbringing, education and lifestyles. Our personalities inflame passion within the minds of researchers. One of them, Dr William Marston, developed a matrix, dividing all features of character into four archetypes. Beetroot has assigned easily memorable names to each one of these archetypes, used when putting together teams—energizers, brains, sheepdogs and dominators.
There are many other methods of personality definition, less oriented towards building teams, with examples based on 9 archetypes or even 16. Marston’s model is, furthermore, only one of the many tools we use to design a great team. And it’s not a universal solution by any means. It doesn’t provide a full spectrum of personality types. Moreover, neither of us are pure representatives of a certain archetype. Yet, a sharp eye can spot the most distinctive features of energizers, brains, sheepdogs or dominators and balance them out to build productive cooperation.
The first archetype on our list consists of those with seemingly inexhaustible energy. They are motivators, evangelists and entrepreneurs all rolled up into one neat package. Energizers have a relentless passion for starting something new. In the old days, these people would be at the forefront of expeditions, exploring new lands. Today, they generate ideas for startups. Their inner fire burns stronger than in others, enkindling everyone around them. But they burn out fast, and often need something new to reignite the flame that has become just a smouldering pile of ashes.
We are all different. Shaped by upbringing, education and lifestyles.
Energizers are the heart and soul of any team, pushing everyone over the edge of their potential. You need them to keep your team motivated and upbeat.
How to find them? It won’t be hard to spot them during job interviews. Their energy makes them talk fast and passionately. Energizers like to be appreciated and try to draw attention to their persona by any possible means. Their CVs are riddled with speeches they’ve given, presentations they’ve made, and projects they’ve helmed.
Leadership potential. Energizers are, at least traditionally, natural born leaders. The majority of CEOs grow from this type of personality. Their potential downsides are a lack of long-term focus and neglect of areas they no longer find interesting, discipline and in some cases – empathy.
It comes as no surprise that the next person you should have on your team is the energizer’s opposite. Brains have an inexhaustible thirst for new knowledge. They are logical, thoughtful and balanced. Their greatest passion is diving headfirst into the world of information and looking for answers with curiosity and vigor. Social interactions aren’t necessarily their strongest side—their analytic personality and focus on details may come across as them being slow or distant.
When it comes to team building, you should bear in mind the saying: “opposites attract”. To keep a team balanced, both energizers and brains need to be on board. Energizers will help to jiggle brains into new projects. Brains in their turn will keep energizers from dropping out of the race when they lose interest. They’re the ones that harmonize this obvious marriage that’s been made in heaven, bringing an evenness to counterbalance the energizers impulsiveness.
How to find them? When talking about their previous job experiences, geeks will drop a truckload of technical details on you. Their speech is paced and measured. They like to have strict rules and precise briefs before starting on any given project.
Leadership potential. Brains don’t like to be leaders in the traditional meaning of the word. Their dislike of public speaking and communicating with people dials back their chances of helming the team. Yet, they frequently become kingmakers—deliberately influencing major decisions with their knowledge and authority.
These team members make the sun shine brighter. Sheepdogs are everybody’s buddy. They are like magnets that glue everyone together. They are the stimulants to having collective dinners, travelling together, or just grabbing a cup of coffee. Yet they’re also top-tier conflict-solvers, as their mild and amicable character is a soothing influence on those around them. They even out the hard edges, paving the way for a calmer negotiation process.
In a team of brains and energizers, it is crucial to have a sheepdog as well. We mentioned before that opposites attract—but life ain’t no walk in the park. Such dissimilar people, as brains and energizers, inevitably end up in controversies and quarrels. Yet, with a sheepdog’s diplomacy in smoothing arguments, the team would co-exist happily.
How to find them? You’ll probably spot them after realizing that your interview should have ended an hour ago. Not because either of you are too talkative or slow—you’re just truly enjoying their company. Among all job benefits, sheepdogs will most likely think that team relationships and a great office atmosphere are the most important.
Leadership potential. Surprisingly, sheepdogs are captains of the future. They will not only lead the team—they will be a part of it, uniting people unconditionally and naturally. If they also possess some of that enviable energizer vigor, they will make for the best leaders of all time.
Dominators are among of the stronger personalities in this squad. Their problem solving mindset, non-aversion to risk-taking, and never-give-up attitude make them irreplaceable in tough times. Dominators preserve an optimistic attitude even in crisis situations. Their self-confidence and eagerness to work until they win helps them to stay on top.
Usually dominators are the ones who see the goal clearly and pursue it persistently. They are natural born speakers and can persuade their teammates—one way or another—to dive into any incredulous adventure. Their leadership aura reeks of power, enkindling many teams, burning others out. This is a robust individual who can be overwhelming.
How to find them? You will notice their confident, specific and imposing manner of speaking. They know precisely how much they are worth of and their inner dialogue is well-rehearsed to motivate this.
Leadership potential. Huge, but in a certain “we need to reach the goal at any cost” kind of way. This type of character often has a very traditional type of leadership talent. To many, it represents an inefficient style that is fading out from contemporary business; a successful, modern leader should be empathetic and caring.
A good team should be heterogeneous. By combining different types of personalities, you are able to leverage your team’s strongest sides and to conceal its weaknesses. All four types that we’ve discussed here have a place in a team. Knowing who, where and when—now that’s your million dollar question.