Close Menu

    Apr 22, 2020    |   Psychometrics Canada

Intentions and Impacts: The strengths and blindspots of MBTI Leadership Styles

Written by Justin Deonarine, I/O Psychologist


I’m sure we’ve all worked with a leader who is completely unaware of how their behaviour impacts their team. This can be the leader who assigns last minute work at the end of the day, or one that that takes personal credit for team accomplishments, all while their team rolls their eyes at how oblivious the leader is.

There is a disconnect between what these leaders are intending, and what is actually coming across in their actions. True self-awareness is when you are able to use the correct behaviours to achieve your intended goal. Achieving this involves two factors:

  • Intention – Choosing behaviours that you believe will achieve the goal that you wish to.
  • Impact – The results (intended or unintended) of the chosen behaviours.

A leader has to be aware of both of their goal and the potential ramifications of their actions before they can consider themselves “self-aware”.

As coaches and consultants, we need to help leaders understand the unintended impacts of their actions, so that they can be aware of them (and adapt their leadership style accordingly). The easiest way to accomplish this is to use a 360-degree feedback assessment, such as the Psychometrics 360. Gathering first hand accounts of the impacts from those around them is a highly effective way to help them become aware of when their intentions and the impacts of their behaviour fail to align.

360s also pair well with the MBTI. When doing so, I find it easiest to start with their Leadership Style (pairing their T/F and J/P dichotomies) to understand what their common intentions are. Using this information, it becomes easier to prepare development strategies that appeal to their Leadership Style, as well as strategies that can help them adapt their style to accommodate their team.

Below are common intentions for each of the Leadership Styles, as well as some potential unintended impacts of their actions.

Leadership Style Intentions Unintended Impacts
  • To organize and structure work, resources, and people to achieve goals.
  • To make decisions quickly and take quick action to implement them.
  • To take clear positions and ensure that others know where you stand.
  • May decide too quickly and move to action before others are ready.
  • May not see the impacts of decisions on others.
  • To seek out, analyze, and organize vast amounts of information.
  • To use a hands-off leadership approach and empower others to act.
  • To be flexible and tolerant of a diversity of workstyles and ideas.
  • May not give others enough direction.
  • May put off decisions for too long.
  • To strive for consensus and harmony.
  • Is motivated by a vision that is based on values and the group’s mission.
  • To solicit information and ideas from others, and include them in decision-making.
  • May focus on relationships to the detriment of task completion.
  • May put off tough decisions and avoid confronting difficult people.
  • To coach, encourage, involve and energize others.
  • To seek out and gather lots of information.
  • To stay flexible and respond quickly to changing environments.
  • May change direction so quickly that they appear inconsistent.
  • May resist structure and not appreciate others’ need for systems and processes.