Personality Type

I had to take a Myer-Briggs personality type test when I volunteered years ago for the Big Brother-Big Sister program. My category came back as ESTJ (Extrovert, Sensing, Thinking, Judgmental) but it was closely balanced on the Sensing/Intuition and on the Thinking/Feeling score so it could as well have been a ENFJ (Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeling, Judgmental). In other words, I'm the guy who'll talk to anybody and everybody ("E") and prefers to have matters settled (the "J"). In terms of decisions, I balance current conditions and intuition (S/N) and make detached decisions but am tempted towards building consensus (T/F).

Canonical ESTJs ("supervisors"), according to Keirsey, are George Washington and Sandra Day O'Connor; canonical ENFJs ("teachers") are Oprah Winfrey and Ralph Nader. Consider me, then, a cross between George Washington and Ralph Nader!

The reason I was reminded of all this was an article suggesting that Hillary Clinton is an ESTJ as well. Barack Obama, who I've been shilling for? He's an ENFP (ENFPs are idealists who can build consensus and motivate others to do their best -- they're rare, only 2% of the population. Kiersey calls them "champions"). And John McCain is ESTP (ESTPs are practical and focused only on what is currently possible. Kiersey calls them "promoters"). So, why is it that my choices in the coming election (if the INS will get us our citizenship papers in time for me to vote in November!) are Obama, then McCain, then Clinton? Based on similarity of outlook, Clinton's the closest, then McCain, then Obama ... maybe because I realize how rare an idealist, unifying president would be!

P.S. There's a short online version of the Myer-Briggs that seemed to give (for me at least) results that were reasonably close to my full test results. I no longer volunteer for the Big Brother/Big Sister program. The reason is a long story, one that I'll reserve for another time.


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  2. Fr Briggs (no relation to the test developers, AFAIK)February 20, 2008 at 10:40 PM

    Hey, no wonder I like Obama - I'm an ENFP also, according to my M-B results from several years ago (and confirmed using the link you provided). I am borderline in both the E/I and P/J categories, but the NF aspect is strongly expressed. Alas, it's hard to make a living as an idealist, although I did try for three years...

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  4. If you're referring to the slate article, I have to say I'm very frustrated that it has gotten so much publicity. Emily Yoffe did an awful job trying to identify the types of the candidates. You can see that clearly in that Clinton has actually taken the MBTI herself and came out verified as an INTJ. When I first got certified to distribute MBTI's I learned about the mistake of trying to type people based on the description of the types rather than on how they come out on the dichotomies.

    Why would it make sense that Clinton is an extrovert when her biggest problem is coming across as authentic to her audience? Everyone doubts her and thinks she is holding things back, but for some reason she's an extrovert?

    Try these on for size:
    Clinton: INTJ
    Obama: ENFP (I do agree on that one)
    McCain: ISTP

    One of the reasons Obama is so likable is that he is the only extrovert still in the running.

  5. INFJ here and I really like Obama's leadership style. I think he has the potential (but not a guaranteed potential!) of being the single greatest president of the 21st century, even though we're only 9 years into it. Call me crazy.

  6. For some reason, I've run across this old post. Looks like me-n-Hillary are MFEO. I also came out to be an INTJ. :)