Wednesday, June 15, 2011

158. MBTI and Organizational Cultures

It seems I have caught the plague on researching MBTI. I really can't stop thinking about it, especially in relation to leadership and organizational culture. I am ENTP, and the P is what often throws a kink in my desire to see things really gain traction for the long haul. I am easily distracted to pursue new opportunities. So much so, that I can tend to drop things I have intentionally started and forsake them for the next new thing. Add to this my preference for the intuitive, abstract, conceptual world of information, and I can often find myself running around with so many rabbit trails, I come right back where I started, all to realize that I dropped some things, sometimes really important things, along the way.

In researching this topic of MBTI, leadership and organizational culture, I came a cross a really cool slide show that drew content from a book called Leadership in High Performance Organizational Cultures by Stanley Truskie. Truskie uses an odd combination of iNtuitive and Sensing along with Thinking and Feeling to create a matrix describing the different kinds of cultures created by leaders with these different combination's.(usually Judging and Perceiving are in the mix)

If you look at slide numbers 13-25 of the slide show, you will see a variation of this diagram.

As an NT, I function best when I am motivating people to press into the kingdom of God and his mission for us. I can honestly say that the most miserable I have ever been has been when I tried to lead as a SF with a consensus style of leadership.

The point of this diagram is not to say that one style of leadership is better than the other, per se. But to recognize that each combination of MBTI sets creates a certain kind of organizational culture when it is allowed to set the tone and style of leadership in that organization. All of these styles have a place in the organization, but it is typically the NT's or the NF's who will shake things up and get things moving in a group of people. They operate out of a vision for the future and a unsettling posture towards the status quo.

The tricky part for me has been negotiating the P side of my personality type. I read today in the book "Gifts Differing" (which my buddy Daniel Thigpen loaned me) that a P with no J is like a boat with all sail and no rudder. It can become directionless and blown around by whatever catches it's interests.

The thing about MBTI, of course, is that it is not determinative, You can learn to explore and cultivate what they call the auxiliary elements of your personality: those parts of you that you don't test positive on, but still manage to surface and come out when the circumstances are right. So I can function as a J, but I prefer a P approach to things. I enjoy the processing of things, rather than coming to closure. This means I enjoy the journey, not necessarily getting to the destination. In fact, if I never reach the destination, I can be fine with it, as long as I hop onto another journey. 

So a word of caution to all the P's out there, especially ENTP's. Don't let your personality type get the best of you. Every now and then you need to "open up a can of J" on what you are pioneering to make sure you reach the destination and your entrepreneurial ventures reach a level of sustainability.This is part of maturing and growing towards the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:7-16).

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