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Leadership and the Sensing–Thinking (ST) Process Pair

Leadership and the Sensing–Thinking (ST) Process Pair

People with ST preferences (ISTJs, ISTPs, ESTPs, ESTJs) typically take a “let’s get it done” approach to leadership. They want to tackle the task at hand and prefer to jump right in to get things right the first time. In fact, they are likely to be annoyed by discussion of matters that don’t directly relate to the task. They prefer to move on from anything they consider superfluous and get to what “needs” to get done.

If ST informs your leadership style, you may want to consider how this approach is affecting members of your team. Some of them may appreciate your steady focus on the bottom line, but others may find your approach too task focused and therefore unappreciative of the people getting the task done. Remember, people are always a key factor of any successful undertaking.

If ST informs your leader’s leadership style, try to remember that mimicking this approach can be really helpful when you’re having trouble focusing on the factual details of the problem to be addressed. And try not to take it personally or assume that your ST boss doesn’t like you just because she doesn’t seem interested in anything beyond the task at hand.

Let’s take a quick look at the four MBTI personality types that have these two middle letters and find out how prominent they are as a percentage of leadership as well as a quick overview of their strengths and weaknesses:

ISTJ Preference Leaders

We find many leaders of this type not just in the U.S. but all over the world. People who prefer ISTJ make up over 15% of leaders. Their preferences may help them remember data and details from past experiences and then use them to make logical and efficient decisions. During initial stress, however, they may seem a bit rigid and not open to new ideas.

ISTP Preference Leaders

While not one of the most common leadership types, people who prefer ISTP are not the rarest either—they make up 5% of leaders around the world. Their preferences may help them during decision making better analyze both the pros and cons, and focus on the practicality of new ideas. During initial stress, however, they may start to look overly critical and stubborn.

ESTJ Preference Leaders

We find many leaders of this type not just in the U.S. but all over the world. People who prefer ESTJ make up almost 17% of leaders, the highest percentage for any of the 16 types. Keep in mind that this does not mean they necessarily make the best leaders. Leadership is often perceived as “telling people what to do,” but we know that is not its true definition. Their preferences may help them organize decision making in efficient and logical ways (common among those who prefer TJ), which can sometimes look like they are telling others what to do—and sometimes they are, especially during initial stress, when they may come across as bossy.

ESTP Preference Leaders

Also not one of the more common leadership types, people who prefer ESTP make up almost 6% of leaders around the world. As leaders, their preferences may help them focus on the practicality and reality of new ideas and point out inaccuracies and inconsistencies during decision making. During initial stress, however, they may tend to obsess over details that previously didn’t matter and then resist thinking outside the box.

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