Techstars Founder David Brown: How To Deal With Different CEO Personalities

By Amit Chowdhry ● October 6, 2019
  • Techstars founder David Brown recently discussed how to deal with different CEO personalities. These are some of the suggestions he provided.

Recently, Techstars founder and co-CEO David Brown wrote an article for Inc. about different CEO personality types. Brown had pointed out that there are 3 types of CEOs: bosses, leaders, and managers. It is important to know which kind of CEO you are dealing with since it can help you understand your strengths and weaknesses.

Boss CEOs
The “bosses” are directive in the sense that they make sure their view is implemented to very detailed levels. Brown pointed out that Steve Jobs and Elon Musk fall under this category. Like when Apple was building the iPod, Jobs had demanded repeatedly that the design and interface should be simple in appearance and function so you could get to a song in three simple clicks. This directive leadership style is how Apple became the giant company it is today.

On the flip side, it can be a challenge to work with “bosses” since you need to be in line with their direction. And for bosses who are pushing a bad idea, it could lead to the downfall of the company.

Leader CEOs
The leader CEOs are visionaries and set up their own path. Brown pointed out that Jeff Bezos and Larry Page fall under this category as they think big and clear up obstacles that are in the way.

The Moonshot Factory at Google launched by Larry Page is an example of this. This is where a group of employees is finding solutions to make the world a much better place. For example, the Moonshot Factory is working on projects like floating balloons bringing the Internet to rural areas and generating renewable energy storage with molten salt.

The challenge of working with Leader CEOs is that having big visions requires tremendous resources. And the burn rate can be high for these types of businesses and it requires companies to hire people who can handle a wide range of tasks.

Manager CEOs
The manager CEOs are the ones who are behind-the-scenes. And manager CEOs are known for helping everyone on their teams to become their best selves in order to benefit the company.

“I would describe myself as a manager. As Techstars CEO, I need to provide the company with leadership and vision, but I like to work collaboratively. Techstars isn’t about me. It’s about all of us, working together, making something we can all be proud of and helping entrepreneurs succeed,” wrote Brown in the Inc. article.

Manager CEOs generally do not become a household name, but many times they prefer not to. And manager CEOs expect people to give knowledgeable opinions and become a major contributing member of the team.

After you are done reading this, I would recommend you to spend a few minutes thinking about the CEO who you work with. Think about their personality type and brainstorm ways you can adapt to that personality. Or if you are a CEO, then I would recommend you think about the personality type that you have and whether it meshes well with your team.

Featured Image Credit: David Brown