Hello Alpha

Hello Alpha


Personalities can be divided into three core archetypes: Alphas, Bravos and Charlies. Most people are varying degrees of each, but if you’re an entrepreneur, you either want to be an Alpha/Bravo, or you want to balance your Alpha with a Bravo personality or vice versa. Meet Alpha, Bravo and Charlie:


A big picture thinker who excels in leadership roles.

Alphas have large aspirations, the self-belief that these will be achieved, and an ability to focus on the ‘here and now’. They understand what it takes to build viable and sustainable structures. But, because of the big picture side of their personalities, they often can’t give real, empathetic, helpful advice for problems encountered at the coalface.


Bravo lives in tomorrow.

This type of personality is driven to achieve, and relies on facts and proof to make decisions. This leads to a narrow-based focus which is excellent under a deadline, but also means that Bravos can be judgemental of anything outside their world view. Bravos get work done, but the 80s and 90s are a key example of a collective bravo era that took care of themselves at the expense of the bigger structure and a sustainable future.


Charlie is the personality least likely to succeed.

Unless it can move from being a Charlie to Bravo or Alpha. Charlies don’t take responsibility for
their lives. They will always find excuses for not completing their work (and this is never their fault). They tend to drain the energy from those around them.

The ideal entrepreneurial leadership model

Alpha/Bravo personalities make excellent entrepreneurs because they are able to balance the big picture with getting things done. They can move from creating a sustainable organisation to understanding what’s happening at the coalface.

Alpha or Bravo entrepreneurs should also look for partners who are a different personality type to balance their own strengths and weaknesses. Bravos and Alphas working together are an excellent match, so finding the Alpha to your Bravo will help you build a stronger organisation.

In today’s social and economic ecosystem, Alpha leaders have become more important than ever before because of their ability for ‘big picture’ thinking and creating truly sustainable organisations.

These organisations are made up of people though, which Alpha can sometimes be removed from. Leadership is as much about looking ahead and realising a vision as it is communicating that vision with employees, and understanding their own personal ecosystems. With the social challenges that South Africa faces, this becomes particularly important.

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What is the one personality trait that you have that will help you with starting a business?

Nadine Todd
Nadine Todd is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine, the How-To guide for growing businesses. Find her on Google+.

    There’s a fourth group of traits, where it’s a half baked ‘Bravo’, but doesn’t want to let go off his clutches on authority and doesn’t trust others to show him the way!