What’s Your C-Suite Personality Type?

At first blush, it might seem surprising to find Deloitte delving into personality types and their interactions, as presented in a recent report, Business Chemistry in the C-Suite. On closer inspection, though, it makes perfect sense – and the results include some useful insights for chief tax officers and rising tax leaders.

Deloitte’s own practitioners are constantly interacting with clients at the C-level, so it’s understandable the firm would explore ways to strengthen those relationships. However, the value of the research extends beyond that initial purpose by “offering relevant insights for understanding and improving working relationships among people in many different types of organizations and across levels.”

The report doesn’t include a magazine-style quiz – “20 Questions to Find Your C-Suite Personality Type,” but you don’t really need one. Most readers will quickly identify with one of the four “Business Chemistry types” the report outlines:

  • Driver: You value challenge and generate momentum.
  • Guardian: You value stability and bring order and rigor.
  • Integrator: You value connection and draw teams together.
  • Pioneer: You value possibilities and spark creativity.

The Pioneer and Driver types are the most common in the C-Suite, at 36 percent and 29 percent of Deloitte’s sample, respectively. Guardians account for 18 percent and Integrators 17 percent. But the report’s authors are careful to point out that no personality type is more valuable than any other and all are needed to avoid “group-think-type cascades.”

“If you have a team full of Pioneers, you may get a lot of great ideas, but nothing may ever get done,” Deloitte’s Karen Brown explains in a helpful ACCA article, “so you need the Driver that will have a relentless execution and some Guardians to make sure protocols are being met and things are being implemented correctly.”

As helpful as an understanding of business chemistry undoubtedly is, tax leaders may also feel the need for a description of the leadership skills that can help them thrive in the C-Suite. More on that topic is available in this Vertex white paper by my colleagues Peggi Rockefeller and John Wilson.

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Nancy Manzano

Tax Director

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Nancy Manzano is a Director in the Chief Tax Office at Vertex, responsible for insight and thought leadership regarding in-house corporate tax department operations, spanning income, global and transaction tax. A seasoned tax professional, Nancy is a licensed C.P.A., has a B.S. in business administration from Drexel University and an M.S. in taxation from Widener University.

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