As a leader in your startup, you need to take the time to identify your management style. This is because you need to recruit other executives and employees who will work well in the environment you create. Working with people who understand and appreciate your management style will increase your likelihood of business success.

Why management style matters

Understanding your leadership style, and that of the rest of your management team, is an important part of defining your company culture. A company’s culture, standards and expectations are driven by the philosophy and style of the management team.

Your management style is an expression of who you are as a leader

Your management style is really an extension of who you are. To home in on it, ask yourself the following:

  • Am I generally more directive or collaborative with my staff?
  • Am I comfortable “letting go” of operational or development tasks?
  • Am I more comfortable with a structured or flexible workplace?
  • Do I encourage others to ask questions and challenge me?
  • Am I a risk taker?
  • Am I reactive or proactive?
  • Am I innovative?
  • Am I an early adopter of new ideas, or do I prefer to let others “get the bugs out” before I adopt something?
  • From a social and communication perspective, am I formal or informal?

Often, our perception of how we behave—or manage— is different than how others see us. There can be great value in participating in a more objective assessment process.

A number of tools are available to help management understand their strengths, preferences and style. These can be helpful in laying the groundwork for building a company culture. Generally, you’d work with a certified professional to do an assessment and help you better understand yourself, your teammates and your staff.

Three common, effective assessment tools are listed below.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, DiSC and True Colors

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

Myers-Briggs helps people and teams to understand themselves and each other better in order to support continued learning and growth. The MBTI measures four areas on a scale and yields insights to help people work together more effectively.

The four areas of focus are:

  • Introverted vs. extroverted
  • Sensing vs. intuition
  • Thinking vs. feeling
  • Judging vs. perceiving

Using the MBTI to assess your management style can be quite in-depth. Working with a certified professional will add a valuable layer of understanding that cannot be achieved from a “do-it-yourself” approach.

DiSC Assessment Tool

DiSC is a personal assessment tool that focuses on increasing productivity, teamwork and communication. It builds profiles and zeroes in on behavioural differences between team members, which can help you leverage their different strengths.

This management assessment tool highlights possible challenges that may arise between team members based on their differing profiles, and provides objective feedback to promote discussion.

DiSC focuses on four areas:

  • Dominance
  • Influence
  • Steadiness
  • Conscienciousness

True Colors personality assessment

True Colors provides general insight into personality styles. This tool categorizes people using a combination of four “colours,” with one colour usually being dominant.

Each colour (blue, green, orange and gold) corresponds to a typical set of attributes. This analysis can strengthen teamwork by shedding light, for example, on one’s motivations and preferred means of communications.


The Myers-Briggs Foundation:

DiSC Profile website:

True Colors International: