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).
To determine your personality type, take this free test or visit the Myers-Briggs site to participate in the official evaluation.
During the fourth and final installment of this series, we will examine the four personality types that align with Introversion (I) and Sensing (S).
ISFJ – The Thoughtful Leader
Known as the practical helper, individuals with the ISFJ distinction are committed, devoted, generous, and conscientious individuals. They are adept at not only staying organized and meeting deadlines, but also caring for and empathizing with their teammates. When delegating, they tend to give specific instructions with clear expectations, while putting the needs of the team above their own.
According to Myers-Briggs, ISFJs “usually enjoy a sense of belonging at work. They like to work in traditional, stable environments with people who care about and support each other. They’re typically attracted to jobs that reward loyalty and a sense of duty.” When making decisions, ISFJs tend to invoke personal details from their past and apply them to the present and can be found “helping one person at a time to find an efficient solution to a question or problem.”
While ISFJs stay focused and goal-oriented, they struggle prioritizing multiple goals. While trying to maintain peace and harmony in the office, these individuals tend to avoid conflict. And by worrying about how each decision affects the team, they can struggle with analysis paralysis.
ISFP – The Sensitive Leader
Referred to as the versatile supporter, those with the ISFP personality tendency are gentle and compassionate leaders, often leading with an unassuming quiet approach. ISFPs are best suited for roles in which their work directly helps people. Their decision-making process first starts with choosing the path that aligns with their values, then analyzing how the decision impacts others involved, working to maintain harmony.
According to Myers-Briggs, ISFPs “usually enjoy work that is personally meaningful for them. They have strong values and often prefer to work somewhere these values will have practical outcomes. ISFPs generally like a supportive working environment and colleagues who care about one another. They may go out of their way to avoid competitive roles. They enjoy working independently in roles where their attention to detail is valued.”
Since ISFPs enjoy a more flexible and hands-on approach to work, they can struggle with rigid deadlines and commitments, as well as being in an office setting for too long. They may become overwhelmed with others’ expectations and can have a hard time finding the most direct, logical, and objective decision to a problem. Due to their gentle nature, they can also struggle with confrontation.
ISTJ – The Detail-Oriented Leader
People with the ISTJ personality type are quiet, cautious leaders who are dependable and systematic. They tend to work within clearly defined systems and processes and lead others by delivering clear, consistent direction through logically and efficiently outlined plans. They have an innate need to ensure everyone on their team understand the process and tasks needed to be successful.
According to Myers-Briggs, ISTJ’s “are great at finding the most efficient way to do something. They tend to make decisions based on what worked in the past. Even so, they’re careful about the decisions they make. Once a decision is made, they may be reluctant to change their minds—even if they find another, better choice.” They also enjoy working in secure roles that reward loyalty and a sense of duty.”
Because of their detail-oriented approach to work, they can lose sight of the big picture while getting caught up in the weeds of a situation or task. Some ISTJs may also struggle with tact and empathizing with others because of their will to remain focused on the goal at hand, often neglecting the emotions of their team members.
ISTP – The Tactical Leader
Referred to as the logical pragmatist, ISTPs lead through action with a casual, approachable style. They are objective and logical problem solvers and are determined, observant, and effective leaders. With ISTPs’ open-minded approach, they are willing to listen to others’ opinions and perspectives, while giving their employees the freedom and autonomy to achieve their goals the way they see fit.
According to Myers-Briggs, ISTPs “often analyze and respond to problems in the world around them. They like to have autonomy and may find rules and procedures stifling or restrictive. They love to have mental or physical challenges in their work and focus on getting accurate practical results. They often seek out careers that allow them to use their five senses. Action-oriented, technical, or practical roles tend to appeal to them, particularly in engineering or business.”
While ISTPs are natural troubleshooters, they often struggle with long-term vision or future goals. Due to their ability to work best alone, they can sometimes ignore the emotional needs of their employees and peers, often struggling with empathy and tact.
The Myers-Briggs Leader
To view the first three instalments, click on the following links:
Part 1: Extroversion (E) and Intuition (N)
Part 2: Introversion (I) and Intuition (N)
Part 3: Extroversion (E) and Sensing (S)
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!
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