Personality Blog

The myth of the perfect leadership personality: who wants a template leader anyway?

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Thu, 10/10/2013 - 08:24 by Bill McAneny

Cookie cutterWe were asked by the CEO of a major organisation if he could use our Character Analysis as part of his drive to better understand his people. We kind of like this as it helps spread the word that business is a people game, and a contact sport. We asked how he intended to use the assessments: "Well I want to make sure we only hire ENTJs." We asked why he would want to do that: "Because they are the best types." We asked what type he was (we were being ironic). But it does raise a serious issue: often managers want to clone, ie recruit and develop in their own image.

So much is written about leadership and it does all tend to veer towards the charismatic, extravert, individual pointing upwards with everybody in awe. In reality we know this isn't right but it fits with the myths of leadership as being Caesar crossing the Rubicon.

The logical, complex, relentless visionary: ENTJ vs INTJ, loudly vs quietly

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Wed, 10/02/2013 - 08:56 by Bill McAneny

ENTJ vs. INTJAt face value the ENTJ and the INTJ are very similar. Both types have a love of complexity, both are intensely logical and both have a relentless, restless drive to change things, make them better and for closure. However the E vs I dichotomy makes such a difference and means they tend to inhabit different worlds.

The ENTJ inhabits the external world of people and situations, drawing energy from interactions and will love being loud, visible and will have (extremely strong) opinions on almost every subject.

The INTJ inhabits the internal world, detached and independent of thought and action, and they tend to keep it all inside until they are ready. Their need for privacy and independence means they will be quite reclusive, working behind the scenes to reflect, build and solve problems. The ENTJ is far more ‘out there’ loving the verbal sparring and robust debate and keen to make their point. Don’t ask the views of an ENTJ unless you are prepared for a bone-jarring honesty.

The conundrum of team working: Balance vs. similarity, harmony vs. conflict

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Thu, 09/19/2013 - 10:03 by Bill McAneny

Team Working

All the studies show what we kind of knew anyway that teams need a balance, ie to be most effective it should be made up of different types of people. John Katzenbach put it so eloquently when he defined a team as:

A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to an agreed purpose, goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.

But the problem often comes with the ‘complementary skills’ piece, as we tend to ‘get,’ and be more comfortable with people who are like us, yet it is our differences that make us more effective. So in a nutshell similarity creates harmony but difference gives us balance, which makes us more effective but can cause conflict. So how do we square this?

The anomalous characteristics of the enigmatic INFP

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Thu, 09/12/2013 - 16:49 by Bill McAneny

DreamOne of the reasons the INFP is so difficult to fully understand is the anomalous nature of their personalities. They combine an intense curiosity and need to be in the loop with a quiet shyness. They are driven by meaning and deep personal values, but they tend not to share these or even at times be able to articulate them. This means the INFP can often be misunderstood, as they so want to be invited to the party, but the chances are they won’t show up.

What is Lady Gaga like?

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Fri, 08/30/2013 - 16:16 by Bill McAneny

With the release of her new album, “Applause” Lady Gaga is interviewed on ABC News.

I thought of nothing but my fans

I am such an active person, I love performing

I used the ‘ode to the jester’ who lives for applause

I truly missed my fans…I began to cry

I live for making you happy

I couldn’t dance or walk so I had to create

We believe she demonstrates her ESFP character type, describing the details of her hip injury, her extremely emotional connection to her fans, the unhappiness of not being able to perform and her action orientation and need to always be doing something.

Judging vs Perceiving - certainty vs flexibility

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Thu, 08/22/2013 - 07:41 by Bill McAneny

Railroad TracksJudging vs Perceiving is all about the need to plan and drive for closure vs the need stay flexible and keep options open. Judging types will want to plan the work, work the plan and drive with certainty towards known closure, whilst perceiving types will prefer to remain loose and indeed get energised by last minute pressures and things that don’t go according to plan. You remember at school there were people who prepare and plan in advance for exams whilst others crammed at the last minute, preferring the excitement of the deadline pressure; that is judging vs perceiving.

The ESTJ - factual carers, built to manage

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Thu, 08/15/2013 - 12:08 by Bill McAneny

ESTJDirect, to the point and wanting to get on and ‘do’ the ESTJ could be viewed as not a people person; but they so are, they just don’t really understand the subtleties of emotion. ESTJ’s have at their core ‘factualness’ and they need the facts, the details and they like them clear rather than woolly. ESTJs tend to be quite traditional, family oriented and place a premium on old-fashioned values. They are caring but find it difficult to ‘do’ emotions, as they like to translate anything that is unclear, emotional or fuzzy into facts that can be placed in a box and understood. I once had an ESTJ say to me “I think I’m becoming emotional,” I mean how factual is that! Everything needs a label so the ESTJ can quantify and understand it.

Loud: The Power of Extraverts! (we need to be understood too)

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Wed, 08/07/2013 - 09:11 by Bill McAneny

TrumpetWhisper it quietly but there seems to be a groundswell of support for, and understanding of, introverts. And rightly so! As Susan Cain points out in her book: “Quiet: the power of introverts” it is difficult to be quiet in a noisy world and self-projection is often seen as the norm. So yeah more power to the introverts.

However what if this goes full circle, what will happen to us extraverts? Our maxim tends to be ‘Dico ergo sum,’ ‘I speak therefore I am,” and so will we be expected to let our energy drain away in pale silence? Who will break the ice at parties and social gatherings, who will state the obvious? We extraverts NEED to speak, it is how we process our thoughts and silence kind of scares us. Social chitchat is the glue that holds the fabric of society together and we are often expected to ensure the atomisation of the introvert world is brought into the collective world.

What is Emma Watson like?

Angharad Jones's picture
Published on Fri, 05/24/2013 - 16:38 by Angharad Jones

Emma WatsonNew film The Bling Ring shows a remarkably different side to Emma Watson to the virtuous Hermione Granger in Harry Potter. So what is the real Emma Watson like? Lets look at her tweets:

Emma is open with people and enjoys the buzz of things happening around her:

May 16 Having the best time in Cannes. Shame I can't get my shoes off . . Thank you team!

She’s happy to share more personal anecdotes and little incidents and shares them readily:

May 15 Just did four interviews in Cannes without realising the nerds I had eaten had made my tongue green.

What is Mariah Carey like? Idol, Diva, Butterfly?

Angharad Jones's picture
Published on Thu, 05/16/2013 - 16:34 by Angharad Jones

Mariah Carey, American Idol judge and singer is promoting new single #Beautiful and (not uncharacteristically) Mariah is surrounded by intrigue. So what does characterise Mariah?

We can see Mariah is comfortable speaking, openly and unscripted in public and with being the focus of attention. Both clear signs of an Extravert.

She speaks out how she feels about people and things and what they mean to her:

"Miguel is one of my favorite new artists…"

 "Very me…"

"This business that we all love so much"

"I feel like …"

And she is very people oriented:


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