Many companies turn to popular personality tests to help classify which employees would make good leaders and which perform best in other roles. Standard tests include the Strengthsfinder and the Meyers Briggs Personality Assessment (MBTI). It is the latter one that I’ve chosen to focus on for the sake of this mini-series.

MBTI posits that each person can be sorted into one of 16 different personality types, with individuals scoring on a sliding scale within their respective types. Each type has a few distinctive characteristics that can make or break them as leaders. For easy reading, I’ve broken them down into two groups; the sensors (‘S’ types) will be covered in this post, and the intuitives (‘N’ types) will be featured in a future article.  

If you don’t know your Meyers Briggs personality type, you can take the assessment here.

ISTJ: This type is extremely detail-oriented. They like to make sure instructions are well thought out and contain absolute clarity. Complications can arise, however, if they tend to focus too intently on the small items and neglect the overall goal or outcome.

ESTJ: ESTJ’s are chief decision-makers in leadership. They enjoy taking charge in challenging situations and mostly base direction on fact. Their fast and direct approach can occasionally cause others to feel ignored or overlooked.

ISFJ: Perhaps one of the more thoughtful leaders, ISFJ’s will often place the needs of their team above their own. They think through each situation thoroughly but may have trouble choosing which goals to focus on as they consider every possible adverse effect.

ESFJ: This type cares deeply for their team much like the ISFJ. Their extraversion, however, allows them to more adequately display their positive leadership qualities. While they work hard, they may struggle when choosing between company goals and team impact.

ISTP: ISTP’s are very tactical in their leadership approach. They enjoy hearing everyone out and prefer not to micromanage. Unfortunately, this type likes to work alone and may find it difficult to form strong attachments to their company or team.

ESTP: If you were to picture a stereotypical “ideal leader,” odds are you are thinking of an ESTP. They aren’t afraid to make the tough decisions, are fantastic speakers, and excel at streamlining. Because of their zeal, however, they can often be tripped up by small details or technicalities.

ISFP: It might be tough to find an ISFP in a leadership position unless they are working towards a cause they truly stand behind. If that’s the case, then they are flexible and empathetic, often considering how each step might impact their cause. Strong sensitivities make it hard for ISFP’s to deal with emotionally-charged individuals or situations.

ESFP: ESFP’s lead with excitement and vigor. They frequently work alongside the team, encouraging them rather than overseeing them. This type can be extraordinarily free-spirited and tend to perform better with short-term goals fueled by passion instead of long-term efforts with no emotional ties.