The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between Myers-Briggs personality type preferences of female hospital leaders and their perceived transformational leadership practices.
The 91 females in the study were enrolled in a hospital sponsored leadership development program at a small independent Midwestern hospital, in such position as Directors, Administrators, Supervisors, and Nurse Educators. Prior to participating in the leadership development program, the participants completed the Leadership Practices Inventory and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The LPI Observer was completed by 630 people. Low, moderate and high categories for each leadership practice were created based upon self scores normed against the Kouzes Posner database. In addition, the leaders were categorized as being either an under-rater, an accurate-rater, or an over-rater based upon mean score differences and standard deviations between their scores and those from their managers and observers. In the present study there is a balance of cognitive styles, with 21.7% exhibited the ST cognitive function, 17.4% the NT decision making preferences, 31.5 % preferred the SF cognitive function, and 27.2% utilized the NF decision making style.
On the Extraversion (E) and Introversion (I) dichotomy, leaders who preferred Extraversion (E) were significantly more likely to rate themselves as transformational on Model, Challenge, and Overall transformational leadership than individuals who preferred Introversion (I). From the manager's perspectives, the female leaders who preferred Extraversion (E) were significantly more likely to be perceived as transformational on Encourage; while no differences were found between the two groups from the viewpoint of observers.
On the Sensing (S) and Intuition (N) dichotomy, the female leaders who preferred to take in information Intuitively, viewing themselves as more transformational than did those who preferred Sensing (S) on Inspire, Challenge, Enable, and Overall transformational behaviors. No differences were found between Sensing (S) and Intuition (N) in either the perceptions of the managers or observers.
On the Thinking (T) and Feeling (F) dichotomy, the female leaders who preferred making decisions through their Feeling (F) preference, rather than their Thinking (T) preference, were significantly more likely to view themselves as transformational on Model and Encouraging. However, neither the managers nor observers indicated any significant differences on transformational leadership behaviors on the Thinking (T) and Feeling (F) dichotomy.
On the Judging (J) and Perceiving (P) dichotomy the female leaders who preferred to utilize the Perceiving (P) preference viewed themselves as significantly more transformational on their Overall leadership behaviors as those who preferred the Judging (J) preference. Managers also evaluated the leaders who preferred Perceiving (P) as being significantly making more use of Challenge than those who preferred Judging (J).
What was not significantly different for leaders? On the E vs I dimension were Inspire, Enable and Encourage; on the S vs. N dimension was Model and Encourage; on the T vs. F dimension was Inspire, Challenge, and Enable; and, on the J vs. P dimension was Model, Inspire, Challenge, Enable, and Encourage. From the perspective of Managers, no differences were reported between E and I for Inspire, Challenge, Enable and Encourage: for S and N, and T and F there were no differences on any of the five practices; and on J and P there were no differences on Model, Inspire, Enable, and Encourage. From the perspective of Observers, no differences were reported on any of the five leadership practices between any of the four MBTI dimensions.
The leaders were divided into the low, moderate, and high performing categories based upon their mean scores for the five transformational leadership practices (as adopted from Kouzes and Posner). From the leader perspective, those who preferred Extraversion (E) to Introversion (I), rated themselves in the high category on both Model and Challenge. Those who preferred to use Intuition (N) rather than Sensing (S) were significantly more likely to rate themselves in the high category on Inspire and Challenge. Those who preferred Feeling (F) rather than Thinking (T) were significantly more likely to rate themselves in the high category on Model, Enable, and Encourage. On the final dichotomy, the leaders who preferred Perceiving (P) rather than Judging (J) were significantly more likely to rate themselves in the high category on Model and Encourage.
From the manager's perspective between the leaders who preferred Extraversion (E) rather than Introversion (I) were higher on Encourage, but not different on the other four leadership practices. From the manager's perspective the leaders who preferred Intuition (N) had significantly higher scores on Model than the Sensors (S), but not different on the other four leadership practices. From the manager’s perspective there were no significant differences in the five leadership practices between T vs F and J vs P. Similarly, from the perspective of Observers, no significant differences were found for any of the four MBTI dichotomies.
A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine whether the transformational leadership practices of the female hospital leaders differed by Myers-Briggs function pars or cognitive styles (ST, SF, NT, and NF). From the leader's perspective there were significant differences in the leadership behaviors of modeling, inspiring, challenging, encouraging, and overall transformational behaviors which were largely accounted for by individuals with an NF or Intuition/Feeling cognitive function rating themselves higher. No significant differences were found from the perspective of managers or observers.
The LPI scores of leaders were significantly lower than the corresponding scores from managers and observers. However, none of these were systematically related to any of the personality type preferences of the leaders. When self-perception accuracy was analyzed (calculating the extent of agreement between self ratings and those from managers and observers, the majority of leader (58%) were accurate raters on their overall transformational leadership profile. However, 36% were under-raters, while less than 7% of the leaders over-rated themselves on their overall transformational leadership behaviors. Forty-nine percent under-rated their ability to Inspire a Shared Vision and 40% under-rated their ability to Challenge the Process; yet over 73% were accurate raters in their ability to Enable Others to Act. There were no significant differences between the personality type preferences and their self-perception accuracy indicating that personality preference is not likely to generate a certain level of accuracy with respect to the reporting of leadership behaviors.
The author concludes: “This study indicates is that MBTI personality preferences do not rule out effectiveness as a transformational leader, but the strengths and developmental needs of the leaders may differ in ways that relate to personality” (p. 107).