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Posted On April 12th, 2016 by Crowded Ocean

Diversity in your startup: psychological diversity

A client of ours—one of the founders of a highly-successful startup and an engineer—told us that the way to recognize an extroverted engineer is that he’ll look at your shoes when talking to you, rather than his.

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 9.01.45 AMWe love that joke, primarily because it’s got so much truth to it. Many of our startup founders are self-identified nerds, which means they’re naturally introverted. But they’re also outgoing and confident enough to be entrepreneurs. Which one of these—natural introversion or learned extroversion—carries the day goes a long way to determining what kind of leader they turn out to be.

There’s casual leadership (hosting the Friday check-ins with the employees) and then there’s packaging these leaders and taking them on the road (for meetings with press and analysts or with potential investors). The ideal scenario, if there are two technical founders, is for one of them (usually the CEO) to be more outgoing and charismatic, while the CTO can be anything he wants (as long as he delivers the product).

The same goes for the rest of the company: make sure there’s psychological diversity within your ranks. And where there isn’t, create environments, social and work, where the two types can become better acquainted, even work together. It will benefit the individuals and the company as a whole.