The 4 ‘Essential Types’ That Make a Team Great

Many factors contribute to making a team great, but one that sticks out in my mind is whether you have the 4 ‘Essential Types’ on your team.

According to David Culver, iLiv’s Chairman, you will always find all four of these types represented on any team that can truly be called great.

Culver grew Alcan to be one of Canada’s largest and most successful companies (a company that sold in 2007 for $38 Billion). He’s been awarded many accolades over the years, and is widely respected as a great leader. When asked to describe his key role as CEO, he once replied, “growing people quickly”. And this test — taught to him by management guru, James T. McCay — helped him to organize some VERY successful teams.

So, what are the types that every team needs?

Type 1: The Hunter

The Hunter is all get up and go, “Let’s do it.” Imagine a cave-dweller clubbing something and bringing it back to the cave. At that point, the hunter’s job with that ‘something’ is finished, and the hunter goes back out and continues hunting for another ‘something’ to bring back. The hunter is always hunting.

Type 2: The Spiritualist 

The Spiritualist asks questions, and then asks some more questions, and then more questions — the principle one being: “Why are we doing this?” The Spiritualist drives the Hunter crazy.

Type 3: The Jester 

The Jester has the innate ability to lower tension — to be the team’s pressure-release valve. The Jester thinks both the Hunter and the Spiritualist are a little nuts, but is fine with both of them, because the Jester is also keeping a critical eye on…

Type 4: The Leader

In spite of all of the traits that come to mind when you imagine a leader, there is one ubiquitous and essential quality of a great leader: The Leader understands that you must have all four types, and composes the team accordingly.

Of course, people can be more than one of these types at the same time. I often work with a team of 2, where we fill all four of these descriptions between ourselves. I’ve noticed my dominant ‘type’ changes as is required, and if we lose one of the types between us, that’s when we have trouble.

Your type can also change.

Perhaps you’re an executive (traditional Leader role), currently exploring your company’s purpose (the Spiritualist). Or maybe you’re in sales (traditional Hunter role), but strongly motivated to keep your sales team’s internal competitiveness in check (the Jester). This is all OK, as long as your team is always comprised of the 4 types.

So, the next time you’re wondering what you could do to make your team more successful, regardless of your traditional role, consider these 4 types, and be sure you’ve got them covered.