Personality preferences in decision-making with leaders (Part 1)-A blog by Business Butler

Personality preferences in decision-making (Part 1)

A Guest Blog by Manjula Bray, Business Psychologist and Leadership Expert.

In my last blog, I wrote about the relevance of measuring personality in a recruitment context…I’m shifting the focus to leaders in this piece. Looking inward at making good decisions – pretty significant to those at the ships’ helm.

I will cover this topic in 2 parts – and you may like to listen to me in conversation on the topic of resilience in leadership with two fellow leadership experts in the Business Butler community from our launch conference (Click here)

To do this, I’m going to first introduce you to a tool I use called the Jung Type Indicator (abbreviated to the JTI), which is more commonly referred to as the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) to simplify how behaviour can be measured. This tool is not a robust psychometric instrument, but can be a useful assessment for increasing both self-awareness and awareness of others, highlighting potential strengths/blind spots amongst other areas of improving work performance.

When it comes to making decisions, however much we think we are clear, balanced, logical thinkers, the reality is that our heart often bypasses the head and we only realise after the deed is done! And when we are in new territory, the criticality of a decision can’t always be appreciated…

So how could taking a questionnaire help you? Well they say the proof is in the eating – so try answering the following questions to establish what your preference is when it comes to making decisions. Go with the letter that you choose the majority of statements (there are five questions in each scale) as being ‘more like me’ when it comes to problem solving:

1) S-N scale questions

S NI look for the factsORI look for the possibilitiesI look for the detailsORI look for the patterns / trendsI focus on what works nowORI focus on how to make it differentI prefer what I learntOR I prefer learning newI tend to go step-by-stepOR I tend to join in anywhere


2) T-F scale questions

T F I generally follow my headOR I generally follow my heart I ask ‘is this the right decision?’OR I ask ‘how will it affect people?’ I can give and take criticism quite easilyOR I tend to avoid giving or receiving I tend to tell it how I see itOR I tend to be careful about saying   things that upset people I tend to focus on the task first, thenthe people

OR I tend to focus on the people first, then the task

So, if you agreed with more statements to S questions (Sensing) versus N (iNtuitive), then your preference is leaning toward the left on that continuum. Do the same for the T-F scale and you’re left with two letters.

Mine are N and T… do I hear you asking yourself ‘so what’?

Well, that means that my tendency is likely to make decisions from a partial perspective i.e. I’m less likely to take into account those items or statements on the opposite side of the box that I agreed with…which means that my decisions will be less considered in those areas. Perhaps I need to, for example, consider what works now (versus changing it)?

Ditto for the second scale, I have been told I am quite direct in my communication style – interestingly, more so by people who don’t share my thinking preference. People on the opposite end of the scale will literally, see things very differently. Whereas a fellow ‘Thinker’ will simply ‘get where I’m coming from’.

In making any decisions, we need to be mindful of not sticking to our own ‘bubble’ when it comes to what we pay attention to (the S-N scale distinguishes between being detail vs big picture oriented) and the T-F scale is all about how we decide on things (T is about head-focus whilst F is heart-based decision making).

Do you make decisions without full consideration of whether you’ve taken all perspectives into account? Reflect on when you got it right – as much as when you were well off the mark…perhaps finding out about the preferences of your team members could help inform you where you have gaps (that’s true diversity in action)? And when it comes to the whole team making collective group decisions, is there a balance of preferences to ensure an holistic approach?

Robust decisions are more important than ever when we are in uncharted territory, so finding out preferences can mean being forewarned and therefore, forearmed. Whatever your preference, S or N, T or F, your natural strengths need to be optimised– whilst remain alert to the gaps (that others could help fill) when it comes to making a ‘good’ decision…

More on how those impact our decision-making and performance in the workplace next time – but if you want to complete the full questionnaire for free in the meantime, then use this link: