Personality plays a large part in influencing many aspects of life, and leadership style is no exception. It is important, however, to note how gendered expectations impact development and personality preferences, which then influence one’s leadership style. In recent years, the word “bossy” has almost become a damning term for girls and women. By labeling them “bossy,” many women end up suppressing their natural inclination towards positive leadership traits in favor of conforming to stereotypes and expectations that don’t necessarily work with who they really are as people. 

Leadership styles tend to correlate to a person’s Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality type. The majority in leadership positions show a preference for Thinking and Judging (as opposed to Feeling and Perceiving), according to research done by CPP, Inc. Characteristics of Thinking types include being analytical, logical, and reasonable; Judging types are regarded as organized, systematic, and decisive. 

When the personality types are left to develop within their natural preferences, leadership characteristics have the potential to develop in the best possible way. People who grow up expected to conform to specific behaviors may never get to grow into their “best self,” and with regards to leadership style, they may even develop behaviors that will work against them.

Women with the MBTI preference for Thinking tend to be viewed as “aggressive,” as Patrick Kerwin observed in True Type Tales. This comes from a cultural bias for women with the preference towards Feeling. In many instances, when people act out of line with the expectations, often set by their family and environment, they are met with disapproval. In some cases, their personality preferences manifest in an underdeveloped manner because they’ve never had the opportunity to fully explore and develop them. 

Honing one’s leadership style requires self-awareness, and a good place to start is with psychometric assessments like the MBTI personality test. These assessments can provide a qualitative analysis of your personality traits that influence your leadership style and ability. They may reveal insights on how you think, act, socialize, etc, that can form your starting framework on identifying your personality type. Once this foundation has been established, developing a style that reflects your personality type will help you to act with confidence and vision. Furthermore, from this framework, you can build on other pillars of effective leadership, such as communication and work relationships. 

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