Monday, July 16, 2012


In evaluating, my MBTI profile with the model of relationships pictured in evaluating personality type and conflict mode by Percival, Smitheram & Kelly (1992), as an ENFJ, collaboration would be my preferred style with more assertiveness and more cooperativeness. The gender demographic leaves me flat without much insight either way towards competing or compromising (competing = males and compromising = females). If I'm not on some sort of gender spectrum, then I must be on some sort of assertiveness continuum. In the West (and in academia), I think competition is still very much the major venue for conflict resolution in certain contexts and I'm sure I'm as capable as the next competitor.

The interesting thing about types is they inform how we see ourselves and allow us the use of a lens through which others might see us. I think how our behavior plays out with conflict resolution has as much to do with "how much skin we have in the game" as with our MBTI preferences. For instance, I'm more assertive in an academic environment where I am comfortable then on an athletic field where I have little expertise or confidence.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

For my team leadership course at Saint Louis University, we have been assigned the most remarkable text entitled Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy by Amy C. Edmondson of the Harvard Business School.

Among the myriad of research insights she presents, in my opinion, her discussion of cognitive frames is one of the most provocative questions for contemporary leaders that can be reflected upon. According to Edmonson (2012), "frames are interpretations that individuals rely on to sense and understand their environment" and she further adds that "most of the time, framing occurs automatically" (p. 112).

I think all of us have heard about self-awareness being the path to leadership development and the importance of self-regulation and self-control in our interactions with others. Nevertheless, the tacit acceptance of our frame of reference or worldview which we often assume is true, is certainly one of the most alienating cognitive processes that influence human behavior.

MBTI Preference and Personality Reflection

I believe I shared elsewhere that my MBTI type preference is ENFJ and regrettably, I haven't seen much fluctuation in my type preferences since I first took the MBTI in spiritual formation in 1983! Versatility is a tremendous advantage for leadership and as both Situational Leadership (Hersey) and Situational Leadership II (Blanchard) point out the leaders job is to diagnosis the appropriate leader behaviors for each interaction. My J dominance is a hurdle in team situations and to top it off my J is 19/1. Nevertheless, it is true that my natural F preference helps to counter the negative outcomes of my decision-making style in long-term relationships (providing the group members can sustain the initial trauma of it all).

In my current Team Leadership course's classroom team at Saint Louis University, I have the only J preference so I am trying to lay back a little but this naturally difficult for me. Our courses introductory handouts on MBTI address the fact that the preference dichotomies grew out of Carl Jung's work on personality types and I thought I wound share that because of my N preference on the information dichotomy, I am naturally drawn to Jung's work. Some nun friends and I were deeply interested in dream work and creative visioning awhile ago and Jung's work on archetypes was very interesting to us. Somehow his work on archetypes was applied to the Tarot cards whose major archana consists of some dominant cross-cultural archetypes.

In this work, my archetype is the hierophant and the characteristics of that archetype are very closely associated to the ENFJ type preference description. In some type descriptions for the ENFJ, they are referred to as teachers and the hierophant is essentially a religious teacher archetype. It gets a little right-brained but my namesake is Stephen who had the good fortune of being the Church's first martyr because of his religious teaching. I don't know enough about types to ascertain if Saint Stephen was an ENFJ but he certainly was a J and a strong one at that. I just take this as a warning about the importance of versatility in certain situations so as not to provoke everyone to stone me.