What Kind of Executives Are There? 20 Types Outlined

The 20 Types of Executives (part 1) How to Improve Your Performance No Matter What Type You Are

As an executive, you are probably aware that successful executives display a number of personality traits that have been defined and identified by years of management research.

The goal of executive coaching is to improve performance no matter what type of personality an individual (or the collective personality of an executive’s team) may have or display.

That said, the more you know about your individual profile and personality, the easier and more effectively you can progress over the course of an executive coaching program.


You will also get better quality results based on what is appropriate and effective for a particular situation and personality style.

The 20 Most Common Executive Archetypes … Which One are You?

The following are some common executive archetypes that have been identified and profiled as the result of extensive managerial research. While this list isn’t inclusive, it should give you a good overview and possibly some insight into your own executive style, personality and behavior.

  1. The Aggressor. The Aggressor responds to stressful situations by being overly assertive, to the point where he comes across as coercive and even abusive. By their nature, Aggressors are often results-driven and can be superstars in certain areas of performance (like deal making and sales). The Aggressor’s coach has to help the Aggressor become aware of the negative consequences of his aggressive behavior, and choose more appropriate responses such as listening, involving, and knowing when to disengage from situations before they become explosive.
  2. The Avoider. The Avoider responds to stressful situation by running away. If the aggressor is like a rabid raccoon, the avoider is like a turtle hiding in his shell. Avoiders have a lot of difficulty asserting appropriately, resolving conflicts, and giving honest performance assessments. They are often passive aggressive, failing to do what they promised to do (because they couldn’t say no). The coach has to work with the Avoider to understand what gets in the way of his ability to confront conflicts, and role play to practice assertion, stating expectations, and conflict management.
  3. The Political Animal. This type of executive is overly concerned with his power and relationships in the organization. He frames decisions based on who will win and who will lose power. On the one hand, the Political Animal is fantastic at exchanging favors in the organization in order to find scarce resources and get things done. On the other hand, he can be nasty in the way he deflects blame and fails to take full responsibility for results.

What are the remaining Executives Types? We’ll explore those in upcoming articles. (Part 2 Here)

About the Author: Advance a career. Transform a company. Achieve incredible results. For executives who want to take their career to the next level – Executive Coaching can get you there. In business, the only thing that really counts is results. High achievers continually deliver results and they do it by performing at their best each and every day. For more information on executive coaching or coaches please visit http://exec.actioncoach.com/

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