Myers-Briggs and Leadership Growth, Part II

Myers-Briggs leadership growth

Last week, we talked about the general idea behind the Myers-Briggs test, including the different parts of the personality and the strengths that each category brings to an individuals personal leadership growth experience. Today, we’ll look more specifically at each type and how they function as leaders in a business setting. 

Why is this valuable information? As we said in Part I, “Understanding your dominant types can help you seek leadership growth that plays to your strengths, while understanding the types of those you lead can do wonders for the way that you approach them in situations that may require a more tactful touch.”

The Types as Leaders

For each of the 16 types, we’ll note a general description, along with a few of their strengths and leadership growth areas. 

ISTJ

Factual, data-driven, pragmatic, detail-oriented

Strengths: The ISTJ leaders are consistent, honest, and organized. They like to get things done in a way that is both intricate and efficient, often able to come up with creative, yet pragmatic, solutions to everyday problems. They are great at giving clear directions and making their expectations known. 

Growth Areas: Because they are so detail-oriented, this type can sometimes forget the forest for the trees. Their logical thinking can also neglect to account for others’ feelings, which can come across as cold. 

ESTJ

Managerial, business-minded, sensible, stable

Strengths: ESTJ types know that the fastest route is always a straight line. They avoid jumping into situations with both feet, instead preferring to look at pre-established, effective precedents and building off of those. They like black and white situations, where the answer is clear, but also enjoy the thrill of making a tough call. 

Growth Areas: This type can tend to run over other’s ideas, believing that their data and efficiency has already made the solution clear. Instead of opening the floor to new ideas, they tend to shut down anything that could be perceived as frivolous or over-the-top. 

ISFJ

Protective, warm, generous, dedicated

Strengths: If you are an ISFJ leader, you understand the value of balancing compassion with organization. When creating collaborative groups or teams, you take into account both the personal strengths and the personal feelings of those you lead. Harmony and balance are just as important as meeting a deadline. 

Growth Areas: Sometimes, the delicate balance of feelings versus progress can stop an ISFJ dead in their tracks. They also tend to avoid situations that could escalate into confrontation until it’s too late to make a tactful decision.

ESFJ

Caring, compassionate, social, eager to please

Strengths: If you’ve ever worked with someone who walked in the door everyday with a warm smile and a kind word, you were probably dealing with an ESFJ. Their enthusiasm is effervescent, spilling over into their interpersonal relationships. They are excellent listeners, full of compassion and supportive leadership skills, while maintaining their ability to stay task- and goal-oriented. This personality is an excellent one to have around in times of crisis. 

Growth Areas: While short-term strategies are their strong suit, ESFJ can struggle to think long-term. Because they recognize that people and situations can change rapidly, they aren’t fans of risk-taking, as the outcome could come back to bite them or those they are leading. 

ISTP

Bold, practical, experimentive, handy

Strengths: Observant and accepting, ISTP like to keep people level-headed and independent. They aren’t fans of micromanaging leadership style, instead working behind the scenes to ensure that their people have access to the resources necessary to do their own tasks in their own, unique ways. Because they tend to be logical, they are also excellent at adapting data and tools in new, bold ways.

Growth Areas: Without the emotional touch of someone with the “Feeling” trait, ISTP’s go-with-the-flow attitude can come off as a lack of concern for others, especially when they feel that the expectations and resources were present for a job to be done to their personal satisfaction, but wasn’t. Because they like to work behind the scenes, it can sometimes be difficult to read whether or not they are pleased with the progress that is being made.

ESTP

Full of energy, intelligent, thrill-seeking, eager

Strengths: If the ESTP could have it their way, every day at the office would end in happy hour. They love fun, and want others to enjoy their leadership as much as they enjoy being leaders. They are motivational and inspiring, adept at pushing people past hurdles that would otherwise trip them up. While still logical, they see the value in an encouraging word, a small token of appreciation, or a pat on the back. 

Growth Areas: Especially for introverts, ESTP can be a little overwhelming. They like to gather up all the opportunities they can and figure out the strategy later, which can leave those they lead scratching their heads about how everything is going to get done. Because they tend to be intelligent and knowledge-seeking, they can get too eager about the “latest and greatest,” never giving one strategy time to blossom before having a brand new inspiration. 

ISFP

Flexible, artistic, experiential, excited

Strengths: Your ISFP leaders are always going to be willing to jump in and get their hands dirty, especially if it’s for a cause they believe in. Because of their gentle confidence and enormous empathy, they are able to see many perspectives, neatly weaving them together into processes and results that honor the values of everyone involved. They are also very compassionate and strive to create comfortable, productive environments. 

Growth Areas: Because of their innate flexibility, anything that an ISFP deems too rigid is going to quickly be abandoned for something that more suits their style. Deadlines, lists, and hard-and-fast rules just aren’t their forte. ISFPs often struggle to handle the tough parts of being in charge, and may avoid confrontation, critique, or criticism. 

ESFP

Spontaneous, enthusiastic, entertaining, pleasure-seeking

Strengths: Like ISFPs, the extroverted ESFP favors projects, companies, and teams that are willing to jump in to new, exciting opportunities with both feet. They know how to shake things up, always looking for the next brilliant idea or growth area. They are also incredibly compassionate, seeking ways to ensure that everyone feels welcome, included, and valued. 

Growth Areas: ESFPs can struggle with making objective decisions because their main concern lies with keeping the people involved as satisfied as possible They are also easily bogged down by rigidity, rules, and deadlines. They would much rather work at their own (breakneck) pace, hopping back and forth as their mind switches gears. That can be very overwhelming for teams who prefer more standardized procedures and clear goals. 

INTJ

Imaginative, descriptive, strategic, always have a plan

Strengths: Strategic and straight-forward, INTJs are wonderful at keeping the big picture in mind. They are masterful delegators, swiftly honing in on individual talents and finding a place to put them to good use. Their efficiency and determination is often seen as inspirational, pushing team members on even when things get tough. 

Growth Areas: Despite the ability to see the details behind a grand vision, INTJs sometimes struggle to lay out their ideas to people who are not like them. They can have a “just trust me” attitude that may make others uneasy, especially if those others have been left out of the decision-making, as INTJs often do. 

ENTJ

Analyzing, bold, imaginative, strong-willed

Strengths: This personality type is ambitious, willing to go to incredible lengths to ensure that their aspirations come to fruition. They are willing to put in the hard work, the long hours, and the late nights. ENTJs are laser focused on their goals, constantly strategizing and prioritizing tasks that are going to get them to the finish line faster. While they can come off as insensitive, it’s really less about not understanding others feelings and more about thinking those feelings are not productive to the bottom line. 

Growth Areas: Anyone who has worked under an ENTJ would probably not hesitate to label them a complete steamroller. Because of their ability to see how many branches of decisions will play out, they are quick to shutdown ideas that they perceive as “hopeless causes.” That can make the people that work on their team feel undervalued, more of a workhorse than an equal player. 

INTP

Logical, innovative, inventive, ambitious

Strengths: INTPs are democratic in their approach to leadership and have a knack for uncovering creative ways to get things done in a manner that keeps the majority happy. They dislike micromanaging, preferring to trust that their team is freely working in ways that fit their particular style, leaving the INTP to do the same. When they strategize, they are agile, avoiding trouble and quietly pushing others in the direction that will lead to optimum results. 

Growth Areas: The worst position you can put an INTP in is one in which they are constantly beholden to some schedule that interrupts their work. Boardroom meetings, interviews, and large crowds tend to make them bored and uncomfortable, which makes leadership roles that require such work tough for this particular personality type. 

ENTP

Intellectual, agile, bold, witty

Strengths: If there were one word to describe the ENTP leader, it would be “entrepreneurial.” They are highly self-motivated, always challenging themselves to do better than they did the day before. They have vision, and are adept at helping others develop their own aspirations by being able to quickly troubleshoot any problems that less agile personality types feel are holding them back. They are logical and strategic, tending to make decisions that have the best low-risk, high reward outcomes. 

Growth Areas: It’s not uncommon to speak with an ENTP about a project one day, only to come back the next day to them working on something entirely new. They can be perceived as flighty and combative, especially if someone questions their reasons behind hopping between projects. Because they are so passionate and visionary, ENTPs can get defensive when they feel that someone is missing out on the big picture behind their hectic work style. 

INFJ

Idealist, quiet, thoughtful, imaginative

Strengths: INFJs are not your typical leaders, as their quiet nature can make it difficult for them to stand out in a crowd. But, once you have one in a position that allows them to work with a small team of close individuals, they are going to shine. They love to ensure that everyone is well cared for, and tend to believe that investing in the emotional sphere of people’s lives pays back dividends when it comes to productivity and willingness to work together as a team. 

Growth Areas: Because they are quiet thinkers who tend to intuit their vision, articulating those ideas to others can feel nearly impossible. What they believe in their heads naturally can be hard to put onto paper because many of their ideas “just feel right.” Putting an INFJ in a leadership position with bold idealists will often not work out because they tend to retreat into their own inner world when met with confrontation or disapproval. 

ENFJ

Charismatic, passionate, natural leaders, confident

Strengths: The ENFJ leaders are passionate and cause-driven, often seen as world changing visionaries who feel that they have a role to play in the bigger picture. They are great at motivating their team, keeping them organized and regimented, but their Feeling type also allows them to key in on individuals who seem out of the loop. They will work tirelessly to ensure that everyone has a job, a goal, and the tools to accomplish it, while working diligently themselves. 

Growth Areas: Because ENFJs work hard to keep everyone happy, conflict can dampen their fire. If they feel that they have pushed too hard, hurt someone’s feelings, or acted in a way that was contrary to the overall morale of the group, they take it hard, internalizing that perceived failure as an indicator of their lack of leadership ability. They are their own toughest critics. 

INFP

Open-minded, shy, passionate, creative

Strengths: INFP leaders thrive on hearing what others have to say about a goal before finding creative ways to put those ideas together into a comprehensive strategy. They feel that their strength lies not in being a leader, but in being someone that their team members can rely on for support, encouragement, and inspiration. INFPs tend to be better at written communication, but that doesn’t make them any less capable of being both moving and motivational. What they cannot communicate in words, they can easily put to paper. 

Growth Areas: INFPs take criticism very personally. As such, they avoid dishing it out at all costs, believing that it will hurt another person as much as it hurts them to receive it. They also tend to work carefully, slowly, and methodically, preferring to ensure that projects meet their own extensive standards, rather than simply meeting some deadline. 

ENFP

Hopeful, vibrant, dreamers, explorers

Strengths: If you have a problem, ENFPs thrive on solving them. They want to find ways to make people happy, especially when it involves the opportunity to flex their mind in new, exciting ways. They have grandiose ideas and the determination to match, but are more than willing to step down from the podium to give others the chance to shine. While they enjoy leadership positions, they tend to prefer leading as a team, letting others with complementary talents take on tasks that ENFPs feel are outside of their wheelhouse. 

Growth Areas: Their easy-going attitude and eagerness to share the stage leads to important nuances often falling through the cracks. Leaders with the ENFP personality are likely to forget the little, but important, things like expense reports or scheduling because they get very wrapped up in the grand scheme of things. Because they like to depend on others to fill in their gaps, they can begin to rely too heavily that others around them will clean up the little messes, allowing the ENFPs to do what they love best– working with others in creative, innovative ways. 

Understanding Yourself, Understanding Others

When you have a more comprehensive understanding of who you are, and how you can interact with others in a way that plays to both their social strengths and their mental strengths, it pays back dividends. From the ability to thoughtfully create partner teams that bolster each other’s weaknesses, to learning new ways to speak to people during tense situations, taking the time to understand yourself and others is never a wasted investment. 

Not sure how to start your personal journey of leadership growth? We can get you on your way. Catalyst Group ECR works with business owners and executives to help them realize their potential and experience growth in their focus areas. Through one-on-one meetings, we work with you to build a sense of community and rapport that provides a foundation for growth.

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