This is a four-part series. (Part 1)
As we learned in the Leadership by the Numbers series about the Enneagram types, each person’s unique personality traits help determine the type of leader they are prone to be. Another strong tool to use to uncover leadership tendencies and understanding strengths and weaknesses associated with personality traits is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
First published in 1962, the indicator examines different personality preferences within four specific relational realms:
- People and things (Extraversion) or ideas and information (Introversion)
- Facts and reality (Sensing) or possibilities and potential (Intuition)
- Logic and truth (Thinking) or values and relationships (Feeling)
- A lifestyle that is well-structured (Judgment) or one that goes with the flow (Perception)
Of these four preferences, the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator determines 16 different personality types through a combination of Extraversion or Introversion; Sensing or Intuition; Thinking or Feeling; and Judgment or Perception. The first letter of each preference becomes the Myers-Briggs personality type, with excepting to Intuition (N).
During the second part of this series, we will examine the four personality types that align with Introversion (I) and Intuition (N).
INFJ – The Perceptive Leader
Known as the insightful visionary, individuals with the INFJ distinction are passionate and perceptive individuals. While others may see them as sensitive and reserved, they tend to be idealistic and imaginative while enjoying helping their teammates develop and grow. INFJs see meaning between ideas, people, and interactions, helping them create harmony within their team while simultaneously motivating others.
According to Myers-Briggs, INFJs “often enjoy work that helps people. They like designing innovative programs and creating new approaches, but they’re also motivated by helping others develop. They usually work well in a positive, friendly environment where they can set their own schedules to allow them to fully explore and organize their ideas—they need quiet time to do their best work! Despite their independence, they like to have opportunities to share their work and collaborate with others. They’re likely to be attracted to careers in teaching, social good, and the arts.” They tend to rely on instinct and hunches.
Due to their unusual insights, INFJs may find it difficult to articulate their ideas, making it tough for others to understand. Some potential struggles INJFs may have are conflict avoidance and being susceptible to overworking, seeking unattainable perfection.
INFP – The Sincere Leader
Referred to as the thoughtful idealist, those with the INFP personality tendency are passionate and empathetic leaders, often fighting for humanitarian causes. They enjoy developing creative solutions and always keep their values and morals in mind when making decisions, considering how the action will affect those around them. As leaders, they focus on helping others grow and reach their full potential. At their best, they are devoted, idealistic, and compassionate.
According to Myers-Briggs, INFPs “like to help other people learn and develop. They often express their creativity through writing or art. They’re drawn to places where they’re able to work autonomously and flexibly. The culture of the organization they work for is likely to be very important to them.” They seek out work that has meaning for them and are driven by strong values that shape their decisions.
One potential struggle INFPs have is a difficulty expressing criticism, usually avoiding it altogether, while also struggling with receiving criticism and tend to take the feedback personally. Another potential struggle is INFPs can have difficulty with long to-do lists and deadlines, usually causing stress and leading to INFPs to become overwhelmed.
INTJ – The Strategic Leader
People with the INTJ personality type are uniquely adept at developing long-term visions, which is why they are referred to as the conceptual planner. They lead with vision, rationality, and determination. They tend to have a knack for creating innovative solutions to complex issues. As leaders, they are driven to put their ideas into action by organizing their team and resources to bring their vision to life.
According to Myers-Briggs, INTJs “prefer to work in a fast-paced, achievement-oriented environment where they have the opportunity to work with experts and specialists. They like to work independently and develop their own ideas—they hate being micromanaged. Most INTJs enjoy theoretical and conceptual work.” They are motivated by analysis and fixing issues and tend to think decisions through thoroughly before acting on behalf of their team.
Because of their big-thinking and visionary leadership style, they tend to get caught up in the bigger goal, losing sight of the small details that make the goal come to fruition. They can also struggle with maintaining morale by often disregarding niceties and platitudes by focusing on the task at hand.
INTP – The Unconventional Leader
Referred to as the objective analyst, INTPs lead through accuracy and knowledge. Tending to be strategic and conceptional, their unconventional view of looking at the world around them leads INTPs to develop new and innovative ideas. Though sometimes detached from others, they are viewed by those around them as precise, efficient, and analytical. At their best, INTPs solve problems through open-minded curiosity and intense focus.
According to Myers-Briggs, INTPs “work best when they have the time and space to concentrate without interruption. Pressure to work in teams or too many meetings can be distracting for them. They enjoy working with abstract or conceptual data and like quiet time to be alone with their thoughts. They’re drawn to complex subjects and often develop creative or ingenious ideas. They prefer to work in a flexible environment with plenty of autonomy.” They are most driven by innovation and are great at situational analysis, always looking for something they can improve or fix.
Due to their autonomous personalities, some INTPs struggle with working with large groups and grow tired of situations that put them at the mercy of others’ schedules. They are great at leading in the background, but when thrust into the spot light, they may become stressed or not as effective.
The Myers-Briggs Leader
In the next installment, we will focus on the Extroversion Sensing leadership types, including ESFJ, ESFP, ESTJ, and ESTP.
How has your team utilized the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator? How has understanding your personality type helped you lead more effectively? Let us know in the comments section below!