Web Paper Title: "Myers Briggs, XYZ Leadership, and Team Roles" by David M. Boje, Ph.D.  January 21, 2001- David Boje, Inside the Leadership Box
Born on: January 21, 2001


STEP 6 - Decision Bias Effects

Related to strategy, Haley and Stumpf (1989) and Haley (1997) have analyzed the four main Myers-Briggs styles of ST, NT, SF, and NF. They did not look at I-E or P-J.  The theory is that each of the four types has their own biases in (1) input of data to a decision, (2) output-evaluation of data, and (3) operational ways of jumping to conclusions. Figure 2 suggests that when presented with a stimulus problem, that the four types of personalities in managers will manifest different decision styles in terms of inputs, outputs, and operational conclusions.


Click on image for larger image size

Figure 6: MBTI personality types and Strategic Decision Styles (click on photo for larger image size) - Source, Haley & Stumpf, 1989: 482, & Haley, 1997: 193.

In the Haley and Stumpf (1989) study, the four personality types were used to measure the ways managers gather data, as well as generate and evaluate alternative courses of action. Each of the four personality types studied, was found to exhibit a statistically significant bias effect.  Three bias effects were examined (definitions adapted liberally from 1989: 481-483). I have listed the predictions from the theory that are associated with each personality type:

To test their propositions, Haley and Stumpf (1989) conducted a pilot simulation around a hypothetical, commercial bank with assets of $1.5 billion, and 12 senior management positions across three hierarchical levels and two product areas.  Participants were selected to paly various managerial roles and to then manage the bank.  43 managers participated in the simulation, and there were four runs of the simulation. Two were eliminated since they had mid-scores.  That left 41, or 17 STs, 12 NTs, and only 5 SFs, and 7 NFs. Policy recommendations were analyzed for their input, output, and operational bias effects.  38 of the 41 were found to have one or more biases in their policy recommendations.  There were too few SFs and NFs for significance tests. However, contrasts were made between STs and NTs.

This pilot study could easily be repeated with a larger sample to test for the SF and NF personality correlates with the types of biases.  The implication is that strategic decisions, the choice of data, the methods of evaluation, and how decisions get sold are all influenced by personality types. The more general implication is that if your strategy group has more of one types, such as STs then predictable biases will occur.  The obvious recommendation is to balance a strategy team with differing personality types to offset bias effects.


Next we expand the experiment begun by Haley and Stumpf (see Figure 2 - MBTI personality types and Strategic Decision Styles).  Haley & Stumpf (1989) have predictions for ST, SF, NT, and NF. I would like to theorize predictions to the team role typology that splits it somewhat differently, according to SJ, NT, SP, and SF.   In addition, I want to make some prediction about the 16 styles of leadership, that is the theme of this presentation. In Table 9, the 16 leader modalities are presented with examples of historical leaders listed in Archetypes A and B. A caveat is necessary since different commentators disagree about the placement of many of the deceased leaders. 

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) may tell us something about how our leaders in Washington D.C. are handling the war on terrorism.  Sensing leaders seek and identify practical 'details' of things, while Intuitive leaders focus more on the 'big picture' concepts, patterns and abstract ideas to make decisions. N's can conflict with S's in a team. For example, N's will focus on big picture and the long haul, while S's want details and to get something done now. 

Table 13: Leader Modality Fit to Input, Output & Operational Biases in Strategic Leadership Decision Roles

LEADER MODALITY Archetype A Archetype B Team Role 1. Input Bias 2. Output Bias 3. Operative Bias
 Decider/ Inspector


Chief Decider ESTJ

Colin Powell

Inspector ISTJ

President Bush; Mr Scott


SJ with T


1. Analytical Data

make a list

2. Conservative Recommendations

talk out the facts

3. Little Reanalysis

Once choice is made, will not change course, unless facts overwhelm them

Guardian/ Lone Ranger


Guardian  ESFJ

George Washington

 Lone Ranger ISFJ

Mother Teresa

SJ with F 1. Affective Data

list is about people

2. People- Oriented Recommendations

talk about people

3. Social Approval

Choice can be changed to meet shifts in social

Valiant/ Engineer/ Model Builder


Valiant  ENTJ

General McArthur

Engineer ENTP

Walt Disney


NT with E



1. Patterned Data


2. Long-term Recommendations

E's may assume I's have nothing to offer

3. Reinforcement of Recommendations

Will seek to reinforce others

POLITICIAN Mastermind/ Architect


Mastermind INTJ

JFK; Mr Spock

Architect  INTP

Al Gore

NT with I Like the big picture but tire of hearing E's talk and talk I's do not like being called upon to make their recommendation I's want time to process
 Promoter/ Sculptor


Promoter ESTP


  Sculptor ISTP
General Patton

SP with T

1. Analytic Data 2. Conservative Recommendations 3. Little Reanalysis
Rebel/ Early Adopter


Rebel   ESFP

Elvis; Mr McCoy

Early Adopter  ISFP

Jackie Kennedy/ Onasis

SP with F 1. Affective Data 2. People- Oriented Recommendations 3. Social Approval
Charisma/ Crusader


Charisma    ENFJ

Abe Lincoln; Captain Kirk

  Crusader ENFP

Eleanor Roosevelt


NF with E

1. Judgmental Data

Will want human contact

2. Innovative Recommendation

E's may assume the silent I's have nothing to offer

3. Tests of Hunches

Will test it out with others

 World Caregiver/ Change Agent


World Caregiver INFJ

Mahatma Gandhi

Change Agent  INFP

Princess Diana

NF with I 1. Judgmental Data

Get input from others, but tire of hearing E's talk and talk


Brainstorm alternatives

I's do not like being called upon to voice alternatives


avoid hasty conclusions.

I's want time to process the data

David Boje, Inside the Leadership Box

Some Team Predictions

Hypothesis 1: Mixed Type teams work best to solve complex problems

  • better decisions will be made when basic facts and realities have been addressed (S), when new possibilities have been discovered (N), when unforeseen inconsistencies and consequences have been exposed (T), and when important values have been protected (F). Adapted from MB types and various team roles

Hypothesis 2: The more similar types on a time, the quicker the decisions, yet the least effective for more complex problems with shifting contingencies.

A Post-11 Analysis of MBTI White House Strategic Decision making. Studying team roles allows us to look at how Sensing and Judging combine in the Bureaucrat and Superman/ woman and other Leader Modalities we are deriving from MBTI.  The 'J" type person likes to start a project early and make lists. The "P" type, by contrast, is a person who prefers to gather more input before making any lists, and so may appear initially unorganized, yet in the end find lots to organize.

Would a different MBTI leader, wind up in a different choice about the war on terrorism, than President Bush (ISTJ).  Combine that With S, and you have President Bush (the bureau tic Inspector) before September 11th.  As a "T" Bush convenes meetings to exchange logical thoughts, and as a "J" wants to get the meeting over with, and get into action. I am also wondering, are there are any P's on Presidents Bush's policy team beside Cheney?  Are there team members who would counsel for more peace, looking at more alternatives to war, and are there "N's" who would stress the importance of seeing the bigger picture?  Composing the White House team with representations of all 16 types of leaders is important, when you consider that WWIII is a possibility.

Bush's M-B type, ISTJ, is receptive, compliant, other-directed character whose life is a search for affection as a reward for being agreeable and cooperative rather than personally assertive (1, 3).  This type has natural talent in managing goods and services--from supervision to maintenance and supply--and they use all their skills to keep things running smoothly in their families, communities, schools, churches, hospitals, and businesses (2).

The Best and the Brightest:

  • President George W.  Bush ISTJ

  • Vice President Dick Cheney ENFP - Vigilant

  • Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld - unknown

  • Secretary of State Colin Powell ESTJ.

Colin Powell like Bush is a bureaucratic modality, a Chief Decider ESTJ (Kiersey, 2001). With Bush and Powell, both using ST styles, there is a need to balance their White House team with other styles, otherwise Hypothesis 1 and 2, above will come into play. H1 suggests that a if the team is too similar, action will happen, but not necessarily the most effective, and H2, over time there will be reluctance to change strategy when the situation shifts.  S's, for example, want to get on with the details, but can miss the big picture. T's can get mired in the materiality, but be insensitive to the human factors.

Vice President Dick Cheney, has what some commentators consider an "ENFP" and "Vigilant" MBTI personality style (1). The following six characteristic traits apply to Vigilant (Oldham & Morris, 1995):

1. Autonomy. Vigilant-style individuals possess a resilient independence. They keep their own counsel, they require no outside reassurance or advice, they make decisions easily, and they can take care of themselves.

2. Caution. They are careful in their dealings with others, preferring to size up a person before entering into a relationship.

3. Perceptiveness. They are good listeners, with an ear for subtlety, tone, and multiple levels
of communication.

4. Self-defense. Individuals with Vigilant style are feisty and do not hesitate to stand up for themselves, especially when they are under attack.

5. Alertness to criticism. They take criticism very seriously, without becoming intimidated.

6. Fidelity. They place a high premium on fidelity and loyalty. They work hard to earn it, and they never take it for granted.

By most accounts Dick Cheney is the strategist (brains) in the White House and the most powerful VP in U.S history (Aravosis, 2001).  The vigilant style can behave in a paranoid manner, can be inflexible, and maladaptive in times of change and turmoil. The paranoid personality distrusts and suspects others are harming and deceiving them. The bias in this case, is the paranoia can exist without sufficient evidence. In this type, there is a strong focus on being loyal and trustworthy (See Paranoid Personality Disorder).

Rationalist (Prince/ Politician) NTs, being seeing the big picture, can be abstract in communicating and considered utilitarian in implementing goals (compared to F's), yet can  become highly skilled in strategic analysis.

In sum, this section shows that there may well be bias effects in leadership teams that do not balance their personality and leader types along the X, Y, and Z dimensions.

Next we examine spirituality.

Proceed to Step 7 Spirituality and M-B predictions