Staffing and Personality Type
Brad arrived the week before last year’s gala, taking on the post of chief development officer for the community hospital. His experience leading campaigns for complex institutions was a key factor in his selection as the new foundation president. Board members liked the strategic way he talked about the job. He also interacted comfortably with everyone who interviewed him.
Raquel has served on every committee for the hospital auxiliary’s annual gala. Now she chairs next year’s event—a special honor since the coming gala is its 20th anniversary.
Raquel’s No. 1 leadership priority is supporting her volunteer colleagues. She participates in nearly all committee meetings as the gala chair, and keeps everyone on track by saying the right words at the right time—often by recalling important details of past events.
While the auxiliary operates independently of the foundation, the foundation staff provides support for the annual gala. At last year’s event, Brad had noted several potential improvements. Wanting to make the 20th anniversary event especially memorable, he decided to meet with Raquel as soon as possible.
Raquel was pleased when Brad called her. Their first meeting didn’t go as she expected, however. Brad focused on his strategies to increase the gala’s net revenue—after all, revenue is the purpose of the gala as he saw it. But Raquel had trouble following his big concepts. She also felt irritated when he said nothing to acknowledge the auxiliary’s years of commitment to the hospital. She heard him imply that the gala was mediocre. When Brad showed Raquel a diagram for streamlining the committee structure, he tested Raquel’s usual calmness—especially since his whole approach lacked common sense to her.
Brad left the conversation wondering how he was going to steer Raquel. He didn’t want to know who was leading which committees and how each committee chair had earned her position—something Raquel seemed to insist on talking about. Nor was Brad impressed with Raquel’s low-key responses to his great ideas. She made no suggestions about how to shape his concepts. She actually seemed to physically retreat into her chair the more Brad talked. “Some leader she is,” he snorted to himself.
So what’s happening?
Raquel and Brad likely want to achieve the same ultimate goal—supporting the hospital. Their contrasting styles, however, could lead to a real disaster. Here’s why.
Brad’s psychological type is INTJ—often referred to as the strategist. His primary source of energy is intuition (N) with introversion, which orients him inwardly to integrate ideas and see possibilities. Whatever he sees or hears or experiences can prompt mental images of how and why it could be better. (One T-shirt motto for INTJs is “This T-shirt Could Be Better.”) In a sense, Brad couldn’t help himself when he saw how the gala he attended shortly after starting his new job could be improved.
Brad’s INTJ style also shows that his preferred way of interacting with the outer world is to organize it and create a system that will keep it going. Get the job done. Along the way, he verbalizes with logical analysis what ideas best fit into the plan. He expects others to do the same—a kind of expressive jousting that sharpens suggestions. That’s Brad’s thinking preference (T) with extraversion at work.
With his analytic and system-oriented strengths, Brad’s style also presents certain dangers:
- His strong focus on ideas can come across as arrogant.
- His critiques of how something is done can be heard as a personal criticism.
- His agility in working with ideas can make him impatient with those who don’t “get it” right away.
Raquel’s psychological type is ISFP. Her T-shirt motto, “Love All Living Life,” contrasts with Brad’s task-oriented style. As a harmonizer (contrasting with Brad’s strategist label), her leadership priority is supporting her auxiliary colleagues.
Raquel’s primary source of energy is feeling (F) with introversion, characterized by mentally appraising ideas according to her innermost values. She listens carefully to hear what people need, and she appreciates how people are different.
Raquel’s style also uses sensing (S) with extra-version. She bases her actions on the immediate facts and details, and depends on examples to gather information that is meaningful to her. She trusts what is tried and true, and will likely resist change that doesn’t begin with pointing out what’s working well. Other auxiliary members see her as one who thoughtfully helps them solve problems.
With her calm and concise manner, Raquel needs to watch out for certain pitfalls:
- She may seem detached or uninvolved to others.
- Concentrating on what is immediately practical may shut out promising possibilities.
- Her laid-back, introspective style may cause others to discount her leadership.