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LSRV 2011: Leadership can be a mixed bag of personalities

Original post made by Emily West, editor of Danville Express, on Sep 14, 2010

I'm an ENTJ. Don't bother looking for clues to this code on These letters represent one of 16 personality types identified in the Myers Briggs personality profile test. In the first session of 2011 Leadership San Ramon Valley, we were put to this test in order to help understand the way we function and how it is a key element in learning to lead and work as a team.

Bill Coy was our guide in teaching about leadership styles and the idea of emotional intelligence. Coy is an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco's Institute for Nonprofit Organization and does consulting for nonprofit strategic restructuring and organizational effectiveness.

It was interesting to hear each LSRV participant discover the meaning of their Myers Briggs classifications and how it impacted their leadership style and teamwork. With so many differences in personality, it's easy to see the how challenging it can be to lead and work together.

This challenge was best presented as we spread out in the front of the Round Hill Country Club meeting room to show our tendencies in the four categories that are represented by each letter. For the category of Extraversion versus Introversion, there were people stretched out across the room. To be honest, I had always associated leadership with being extroverted, but it's simply not the case.

The biggest takeaway of the day, for me, was remembering that not everyone I interact with is an ENTJ. Knowing more about the other types, it brought home the essence of teamwork: finding balance and harmony, starting at a place of respect and considering different approaches or ideas.

Now our challenge is to act on what we've learned. I'll keep you posted as we continue to undergo this refinement process. Until then, I am curious to know how others around me feel about the Myers Briggs personality test and what their type is.

==I As the editor of and, I was accepted into Leadership San Ramon Valley. The group meets once a month from September through June. Having received a scholarship to the program, I will blog about my experiences. ==

Comments (2)

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Posted by hal
a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2010 at 8:06 am

Dear Emily,

Your readers should be very careful when an employer requests a Myers Briggs personality test. Typically, employment counsel(s) will recommend that a candidate refuse to take the test because of its stereotyping of individuals and lack of significant scientific basis. The impact on resumes in future job searches can be significant.

It would be interesting to have readers explain their experiences with personality tests.


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Posted by Charlie
a resident of Danville
on Sep 17, 2010 at 5:41 pm

MB has been very useful for me in gaining self-awareness, and appreciating the vast diversity of personalities that exist. To say that MB is not scientific is to miss the point. MB is like a roadmap that shows the broad lay of the land. Any map is an "abstraction", an oversimplification, but often we need to see just the highlights so we don't get lost in the details. If you try it I guarantee you will find some useful insights, and also some things that may not seem to make perfect sense. Just remember MB is a simple approximation (16 types) to the infinitely diverse complexity of personality, thinking and behavior. A lot of thought and study has gone into it. Think of it as a set of models of reality - like a plastic DNA helix to illustrate the basic concepts.

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