Understanding Yourself to Become a Better Leader – Prepared or Going with the Flow

Part 4 of 4

This is part of a series of posts about understanding yourself and your personality in order to become a better leader.  There are many tools that can be used for personality assessments.  The company I currently work for uses the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  There are many other personality assessment tools available, but I have found this tool to be pretty accurate for me.  The MBTI is broken up into 4 segments with results placing the participant in one of two categories based on the responses the questions in the survey.  My results showed that I am an ISTJ.  Getting my results has caused me to do a lot of reflection over the last year and a half on how I can use this information to become a better leader.  I thought I would share my reflection and understanding of the results.

This is part 4 of 4 – Judging vs. Perceiving

Judging (J) – tend to be organized and orderly and to make decisions quickly

Perceiving (P) – tend to be flexible and adaptable and to keep your options open as long as possible

My reflections have been centered around being a ‘J’.  Some of the thinking tendencies are:

  • Be prepared for the worst with many contingencies prepared
  • Enjoy looking ahead and planning for the future
  • Arrange you world so you don’t have to deal with last minute rushes
  • Like established methods and procedures
  • Are likely to deliver what was prepared in advance with little deviation
  • Work within a superstructure of efficiency

My personality of being a ‘J’ has come in handy when trying new standardized work because I like to create established methods and procedures.  The standardized work gives me a sense that I am working efficiently which helps to calm me.  It can be a roadblock sometimes with trying something new though.  This is a hurdle I had to get over quickly since I am in the role of creating change.  I can’t ask others to change and not be willing to do it myself.

Being prepared for the worst and have contingency plans is a great asset when creating change.  When trialing a new process flow or changeover procedure, you plan to be successful, but nothing ever seems to go as planned.  It is great to have contingency plans to help make the trial go smoother or show that even if things don’t work perfectly the new idea can still work.  Too many times if it doesn’t work perfectly right from the start people fall back to their old way of doing things.  Sometimes creating too many contingency plans can mean taking too much time to get something ready and not enough doing.

Judging has its advantages but can have disadvantages too.  It is hard work practicing to be out of your tendencies but it will pay dividends in your leadership.

Which category are you in?  J?  P?  How does your natural tendency tend to help you as a leader?  Hurt you as a leader?


No matter what category you fall into in all four segments, it is important to be able to balance between both.  Both have advantages and both have disadvantages.  As a good leader, you have to be able to know when to use what traits.  The first step in being able to do this is to understand yourself and what are your natural tendencies.  Once you understand them, then you can devise a plan to work on the other areas.  It is basic problem solving: understand the current state (what are your tendencies), design the future state (balance of all 8 categories in the four segments) and analyze the gap.

As lean change agents, we need to be the best leaders we can.

Posted on July 7, 2010, in Leadership and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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