The Building Blocks of Leadership: An Exploration of MBTI Leadership Assessment (Part 2)

Vol. 4, No. 1

Dr. Artika R. Tyner is a passionate educator, author, sought-after speaker, and advocate for justice. At the University of St. Thomas College of Education, Leadership & Counseling, Dr. Tyner serves as an assistant professor. She teaches public policy, law, and leadership courses. Dr. Tyner has also developed a comprehensive leadership curriculum that focuses on training lawyers as leaders who facilitate the process of social change. Her book entitled The Lawyer as Leader: How to Plant People and Grow Justice has been recently released by ABA Publishing (www.ababooks.org).

 

The process of leadership development provides an opportunity to gain an understanding of your style and approach to leadership. This varies from person to person because your leadership style is as unique as your DNA. Your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment will provide you with insights into how to effectively lead as you explore the strengths and weaknesses of your MBTI profile (personality type).

 

Strengths and Weaknesses of Lawyer Types

There are strengths of each personality type. For example, the INTP serve as the thinkers of the legal profession. They tend to be innovative and see new possibilities. The ENTP is a zealous advocate who can formulate a strong case theory. The ENTJ is a natural leader who can develop a long-term vision and succeeds in organizational development. You can find the ENTJ in corporate environments. You can find the INTJ behind the scenes orchestrating others. They are independent thinkers and embrace the possibilities of the future. These examples illustrate how certain personality types can be effective in specific roles within the practice of law.

However, your personality type should not be used to limit your possibilities for the practice of law and exercise of leadership. Instead, Dr. Jane Kise, leadership development expert, notes: “One of the type community ethics is that type should not be used to limit (i.e., ‘You’re introverted? Well, then forget about being a trial lawyer’) but rather show patterns and suggest pathways.” One such pathway is being aware when your personality type is limiting your ability to work effectively. Beware of when your “judging” typography is creating a barrier in your client-relationship or when your “extroversion” is hindering your ability to be relational in the workplace with your colleagues. This heightened level of awareness will cause you to pause and reflect. Are you following a negative pattern in your behavior? How can you alter this challenge by creating a positive experience? Being aware of your personality type will provide you with opportunities to learn and grow as a leader.

 

Leadership and MBTI

The process of leadership development is informed by the words of Socrates who stated “know thyself.” Through the process of “knowing,” you can discover key insights about how you lead and improve your effectiveness within this capacity. Instruments like the MBTI can aid in this initial process. After completion of this assessment, you should meet with a test administrator and discuss your results. He/she can aid you in understanding your leadership platform by exploring your intrapersonal dynamic, evaluating your work style/communication, and addressing how to interact with clients. You can visit www.myersbriggs.org to find a test administrator and learn more about the MBTI.

Additionally, you may also consider meeting with a coach to aid in your leadership development. Coaching is a process of working with a skilled professional to discover your full potential and implement your professional development plan. Coaching can be used to help young lawyers improve their productivity and enhance their leadership skills. He/she will assist you in developing a comprehensive career development plan which could include establishing a strong leadership platform. A coach can also administer additional assessments tools. These assessments can evaluate your soft skills (how well do you communicate with your clients and colleagues?), monitor your performance progress (how are you progressing toward your career goals?), and identify your key strengths (what are your gifts and talents?). These tools may include: 360 degree assessment (provides holistic exploration of your effectiveness in a work setting), emotional intelligence tests (measures your emotional understanding), and Kohlberg (which aids in assessing your social and moral character development).

Finally, to be successful as a leader, it is integral that you create the space and time for personal reflection. This investment of time will yield tremendous dividends as you gain new insights into how you lead and how to improve in this area. You can begin this process by engaging in goal setting and then monitoring your progress on your goal obtainment. For instance, would you like to improve your ability to collaborate with others or would you like to build your confidence in public speaking? No matter the goal, ongoing reflection will challenge you to see new growth areas and reach your full potential.

 

Conclusion

MBTI can serve as a valuable tool for becoming an effective leader. Now is the time to develop your core leadership skills. Isabel Meyers encourages individuals to begin this explorative journey by focusing on developing your own individualized type: “the richer development of their own type can be a rewarding adventure for the rest of their lives.” Embark on your adventure of becoming a more effective leader today in order to plant the seeds for your future career success.

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