Who do you think of when you think of business leaders? Do you think of loud, charismatic people like Donald Trump? Or do you think of more reserved, almost nerdy people like Bill Gates? Or do you think of both types?
Is there one right personality for good business leadership? Or, to be specific to our profession, is there one right personality for good procurement leadership?
Personally, I’ve seen both types succeed. And I’ve seen both types fail. But I read an interesting article in Kelly Services’ SmartManager newsletter today that gives some insight into what conditions are necessary for both types to succeed.
According to the article, a study of a chain of stores revealed that stores with the “combination of extroverted managers and relatively passive employee groups achieved high profits. However, those stores with proactive employees, when managed by introverted people, earned equally impressive bottom lines.” The study also discovered that stores earned “lower profits when extroverted managers were supervising proactive employee groups.”
Essentially, the point of the article was that either type of leader can succeed if their underlings collectively have the type of personality most conducive to the leadership style. Certainly good news, especially if you ever worried that your lack of Trump-ish charisma may limit your success.
A clear implication, however, is that, regardless of your leadership style, you have to be good at hiring the right people. While I personally may not be as strong as I’d like to be in every skill area, one thing that I consider a core competency of mine is my ability to hire great people.
When you’re good at choosing a team, so much takes care of itself. Regardless of whether you’re more like Trump or more like Gates.