Don’t Get Caught Leading with Your Glass Jaw—Your Own Personality Type Helps you Fight to Win

By Jack Speer | March 8, 2016

This could happen to you if you don’t consistently lead with your best personality type strengths and avoid the inherent weaknesses embedded in each of the 16 types. 

A great boxer lost because he forgot to be himself.  Marvin Hagler went undefeated for twelve years in the 1980’s, but in 1987 he lost his title to Ray Leonard because he made a tactical error when he abandoned his own southpaw stance and attempted to outbox Leonard as an orthodox boxer.

What makes MBTI incredibly effective is that it helps you to succeed through being yourself.  It teaches you to identify where you are strong, and where you’re weakest.  You can get tripped by leading with where you are weakest in your four-letter type.  Make no mistake, you’ll need all aspects of your personality type, but MBTI will teach you the most effective attributes you can use to lead.


As an ISTJ, you have the powerful ability to collect information, organize and to present information so that it becomes a competitive edge for organizations.

Do: As an ISTJ, make your mark in the organization in accounting and finance, human resources, law, supply chain, inventory—anywhere data collection and presentation is critical. 

Don’t: As an ISTJ, don’t become the gatekeeper who assigns the resources as if they were coming out of your own back pocket.  Give your input, but make the decision with other types.  Your conservative inclination will lead you to say “no,” and will make you ineffective and unpopular in the organization.


As an ISFJ, you have the unique ability to care about others and to care for them.

Do: As an ISFJ, find a community or profession where you can lead with your passion—helping others.  You can be especially effective in healthcare, teaching, operations, and ministry.

Don’t: Place yourself in roles that require constant conflict and endless politics.  You’re likely to take things personally and end up in co-dependent relationships. 


As an INFJ, you have the ability to see the plight of those who need to be defended, and you are uniquely gifted in advocacy and in counseling.

Do: As an INFJ, find the cause or causes that you feel most passionate about and use your considerable abilities to organize and advocate.

Don’t:  As an INFJ, don’t take on too many causes to the point you burn out or can’t deliver.  If you are overly tired you will sound shrill in your messaging and will begin to lose credibility.


As an INTJ, you have the kind of elegant mind that sees complex patterns that give you theoretical abilities in math, science, technology and philosophy. 

Do: As an INTJ, use your considerable intellect for research and teaching in the areas of math, science, technology, and music.

Don’t: As an INTJ, don’t neglect the practical aspects of achieving goals and milestones because of your verbal and intellectual ability to impress.  If you don’t show solid progress in the areas of your responsibilities, you can be known as a person lost in your own ivory tower. 


As an ISTP, you are superbly creative with your hands on physical situations and can solve crises and issues as they come up.

Do: As an ISTP, use your physical abilities with tools and machinery to lead in security, manufacturing, IT, turn-arounds, building and construction, systems maintenance, law enforcement, emergency service and similar situations to build, maintain, and secure.

Don’t: As an ISTP, don’t assume a role where long-range planning or multi-functional management is required. 


As an INTP you have a keen intellectual ability that leads to careful analysis and observation.

Do: As an INTP, find a role where you can use your strong ability to analyze and mitigate risk through analysis and to use your intellectual curiosity for research and teaching.

Don’t: As an INTP, don’t get involved in situations with massive bureaucracies that are laden with assumptions that you are not allowed to challenge.  Avoid situations with extreme hierarchy and “chain of commnand,” as you will resist it. 


As an ESTP, you have a natural wit and charm, coupled with the ability to connect with people and turn around practical crises.  People think they know you, but you are a very private person.   

Do: As an ESTP, find one of a wide variety of roles where you can use “in the moment” people and technical skills.  These might include sales, marketing, manufacturing, operations, emergency care, and law enforcement   You might well be deployed as a James Bond type in espionage, but there are not a great number of these jobs available. 

Don’t: As an ESTP, don’t seek out, find or take on roles that involve theories, abstractions, and long-range planning.  You won’t be happy in those roles and they may not play to your strengths. 


As an ESFP, you have the ability to step out onto the stage of life and captivate the audience, to bring fun to any situation, and to be effective working under pressure in the moment. 

Do: As an ESFP, find a role within the organization where you can communicate the best of the organization.   Sales, event planning and management, and PR are often good fits.

Don’t: As an ESFP, don’t assume a role in which theory and forward planning is central to the role. 


As an ENFP, you have the ability to captivate and bring the organization to you, and to lead them through change to a better place.

Do: As an ENFP, use your leadership ability to find a critical message that you can communicate to the organization.  Use your strong organizational gifts to bring about change and forward progress.

Don’t: As an ENFP, don’t overuse your charm to inspire to the extent of neglecting data, measurement, and results.  Avoid situations that are heavy on hierarchy and slow moving or resistant to change.


As an ENTP, you excel at technology, communication, and entrepreneurship.  Every role from a TV anchor person to president of a start-up are roles you may do quite well, and you are likely to attempt to assume many of these roles simultaneously.

Do: As an ENTP, use your ability is to generate ideas and take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.

Don’t: As an ENTP, don’t engage in verbal combat when it’s not necessary, and in generating ideas, attempt to be more consistent and not “all over the board.”    Stay the course when the course needs to be stayed.  Make a decision and stick to it, when that is required.


As an ESTJ, you have the talent to drive outcomes as no other type can do.

Do: As an ESTJ, make sure that the goals and outcomes you seek are at the core of what needs to happen to move the organization forward.

Don’t: undermine the overall success of the organization by only focusing on your outcomes without seeing how they relate to organizational success.  Be willing to look at the bigger and more strategic picture.


As an ESFJ, you have a powerful ability to pull teams together and to be the glue that makes teams pull together.

Do: As an ESFJ, use your considerable skills and passion for people and organizational detail to assure your team’s success.

Don’t: As an ESFJ, don’t obsess on individual details to the point of achieving the team’s outcome.  Be willing to engage in more in depth discussions about “why.”


as an ENFJ, you have a strong ability to enable teams to work together through facilitating and negotiating how people work and relate to each other in groups.

Do: as an ENFJ, choose your team wisely, one that will be key to accomplishing the goals of the and organization.

Don’t: as an ENFJ, don’t avoid conflicts in groups that will allow them to move forward and don’t avoid making hard decisions.  Avoid your tendency to “get lost in the weeds” to the exclusion of your bigger picture thinking.


As an ENTJ, you have the singular ability to chart the successful direction and strategy of the organization and to key it on track, rapidly moving toward achieving the goal.

Do: As an ENTJ, choose the projects that will make the most difference to yourself and those around you.

Don’t: As an ENTJ, don’t fail to maintain consistency in the image you present to others and respect those who have different approaches and value things that are less important to you.