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Leadership Personality Types: What is Most Effective?

Arvid Buit | 13 August 2021

Research is still ongoing in the study of personality types and its impact on leadership approach. The aim of these studies is to determine if certain personalities make for a better leader than others. The best way to start this is to understand the various leadership personality types and how they correlate to better leadership.
When it comes to decision-making, thinkers have the upper hand.

Insight into Leadership Personality Types

Although more research has to be made in the area, there is not much debate over whether an individual’s leadership style develops from their own personality. Every individual possesses skills and gifts that they can contribute to society. The same can be said when it comes to their effectiveness (or lack of) as a leader.   Some personality types are committed to order and thoroughness. For a few others, their personality makes them want to have directive control over every detail. The latter gives a leader the ability to handle any situation, no matter how difficult, with a clear state of mind.   According to experts, the personality type of an individual is a good way to predict their leadership style, or if they are fit to become a leader at all.  

MBTI Personality Types and Leadership Traits

  The Myers-Brigg Type Indicator is one of the most reliable personality tests in use. In fact, an average of 3.5 million people take this test every year. Even Fortune 500 companies and their executives use this test in order to assess personality and leadership approaches that would benefit the organization and improve team collaboration.   This personality test and indicator is utilized to identify potential strengths and weaknesses in a leader’s personality. This is crucial to resolving conflicts and making decisions that impact the organization as a whole. Executives and business leaders see it as a powerful tool to build a dynamic workforce.   According to the theory behind this test, there are 8 personality preferences. These personality types and preferences are as follows:  
  • Extraversion (E)
  • Introversion (I)
  • Sensing (S)
  • Intuition (N)
  • Feeling (F)
  • Thinking (T)
  • Perceiving (P)
  • Judgment (J)
  Based on the above theory, we can identify up to 16 combinations of personality types. With that said, the different personalities of individuals can be very complex. These complex personality traits impact how people perceive the world, as well as how they make choices and decisions in life. Moreover, it can also indicate where their motivations and priorities lie, which can explain why people make certain decisions in life.   Knowing the personality insights of an individual will help gain a better understanding of their world views, how they gather information, make decisions, and how certain people behave.   Extroverts tend to focus on what’s in their immediate environment. These are social individuals who enjoy spending time with others. They tend to talk loudly and are quick to engage in activities with their friends (or even strangers).   Introverts, on the other hand, prefer to spend time with their own ideas and relish their memories. They tend to be more reserved and reflective. They also prefer to do things alone or with a select few people they’re comfortable with. A person with this type of personality usually carefully considers all options before they act on things. The only downside with this personality trait is that they might tend to overthink and be unable to act quickly.   Leaders with a sensing personality like to observe their surroundings and gather data. They also tend to use what they’ve learned and experienced in practical situations. This is one of the best personality types for leaders because they work through facts in order to assess a problem. They also like to look at the big picture and trust their own experience rather than relying on perceptions.   Another personality type that would be a good fit for an effective leader is the intuitive type. Unlike sensors, the intuitive personality pays attention to impressions and patterns. They like to explore new things. This makes them excited about predicting the future and anticipating what is to come based on theories they have developed from patterns. The main downside to this type of personality is that they tend to focus intently on ideas that they fail to act on in real life.   When it comes to decision-making, thinkers have the upper hand. They decide based on logic and consistency. This personality type is effective as a leader because they look at how their decisions can impact other people. They decide using their brains, not their emotions. In addition, they seek out the truth and always look for explanations for how certain things are.   Feelers are typically warm and caring. They take into account other people’s viewpoints and values before reaching a decision. Their goal is to forge harmonious relationships. This is an important personality type for a leadership approach because empathy is an essential characteristic in an effective leader.   Judgers are task-oriented because they want to maintain order and organization. This does not mean that they dwell on judging others; this personality type refers to a person’s decisiveness.   Lastly, perceivers like to lead spontaneously. They are very adaptive because they like to pay attention to what is happening in the world before acting on it. Unlike judgers, who like things organized, perceivers are open to new information. They keep plans to a minimum because they improvise as they go.  

Importance of Learning Leadership Personality Types

  When you invest time to learn and analyze the personality types of an individual, you will be able to identify which ones would help make an effective leader. Since personalities are inherent in an individual, the assessment is crucial in designating roles within an organization. Some people may say that leaders are made, but it seems some people are born to be leaders.   Taking this extra step in designating roles and responsibilities (especially in a leadership position) can benefit the organization in the following ways.  
  • Maximization of the leader’s strengths
  • Identification of areas of weaknesses
  • Boosting career development efforts
  • Identification of skill gaps
  • Development of a winning team work style
  • Enhanced understanding of each other’s differences
  • Improved communication
  • Promotion of a better work environment
  While there are unique leadership personality types, it is important to know that personalities can change over time. This is why it is recommended that every organization continue to employ training to equip every individual with the skills to maintain competence in their respective duties.