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There really is no one way to go
about being a leader. Learning about leadership does not mean being molded in
to a leader. Instead, I believe it involves exploring yourself and using your
innate strengths to guide people. Each person has different traits that are
dominant. Thus, each person will mature in to a different type of leader.
Yesterday’s MBTI meeting was
definitely eye-opening in helping me flesh out the effect my personality has on
my leadership. While I don’t think I’ll act any differently in my leadership
roles as a result, it is helpful to understand the way I come at a leadership
problem. I learned yesterday that I am an ENTP, an Inventor. ENTPs are
creative. They are logical. They don’t want to do something like it’s always
been done just because it’s been done that way. They thrive on challenges and
are very independent. Some famous ENTPs are Walt Disney, Buckminster Fuller,
Nikola Tesla, and Thomas Edison.
It is important to realize that one
leadership personality is not necessarily better than another when solving a
problem. In fact, it is better to have leaders on your team of varying
leadership types so all sides of an issue are explored. As an ENTP, I may not
be able to delve in to the details of a situation or plan too far in advance,
but it is necessary to have other leadership personality types on a team that
can do so. For instance, in my work with Onward State, I have often been
responsible for working on new ways to do things, whether it’s produce content
or social media branding. At the same time, I am generally incapable of making
longer-term decisions like how to turn the organization over to the next
generation of Penn Staters. For that, I’ve relied on Davis and Evan. They had
more long-term planning in mind, while I worked on being more innovative in the
day-to-day operations. I thought the speaker last night brought up an
interesting point about working together with people that have extremely
different personality types than you do. He talked about his relationship with
a former Air Force officer. In the beginning, his more introverted style
clashed with the more extroverted, loud style of the officer, but eventually,
they became very good friends and worked together. They were able to utilize
each other’s strengths, even if they got off to a rocky start.
I also think personality is
important because followers respond differently to different leadership styles.
For instance, when dealing with people, extroversion is incredibly important.
Relaying information, listening, and building relationships are all essential.
On the other side of things, introspection is necessary to figure out new
solutions to problems and to brainstorm. Thus, an organization interested in efficient
leadership may want to have a more extroverted person interacting with staff
and those outside the company. It should also have introverted leaders working
more behind the scenes answering the tough questions.
It would be interesting to look at
how people self-select for different leadership roles based on their
personality type. Would an extreme introvert find him or herself working as the
public face of a company, going to soiree after soiree, giving keynote after
keynote? Probably not. While weaker leadership personality traits can be worked
on and overcome, I believe self-selection allows leaders to reach their full
potential. An extrovert’s talent is wasted if he toils all day in silence by
himself. Effective leaders realize this and work to their strengths, and ensure
that other leaders under them work to theirs as well.
So, on the question of personality
and leadership, it is clear that just as personality affects everything else in
one’s life, it also affects how you lead.