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Monday
Jun132016

What role does personality play in being an effective leader?

Many organizations, churches and groups have potential staff and volunteers take a personality inventory to help in the decision-making process and insure a good fit.

Here are a few of the more popular assessment instruments:

  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator
  • DISC Profile
  • Enneagram
  • Keirsey Temperament Sorter

When I coach leaders, we have them take a DISC assessment as it helps them understand themselves and their team better. But I am quick to say that the DISC is a human instrument and does not take into consideration if you are a Christian, how long you’ve been a Christian, or how mature you are as a Christian.

By the way, the length of time you’ve been a Christian doesn’t insure a certain measure of maturity. Maturity is a matter of how you respond and apply what you know, not just a matter of how much you know. Information can make you haughty, but the application of information (with the help of the Holy Spirit) will make you holy.

A personality inventory will simply (based on your answers to a series of questions) tell you what people who are wired like to you tend to do in certain situations with certain kinds of people. But you have a choice. You can act like your personality type usually acts, or with the help of the Holy Spirit, you can act biblically and differently. The grace of Jesus Christ can more than make up for what you don’t have, or overcome what you do have by way of personality.

Simply put, your personality is the distinct and patterned way you express attitudes, emotions, mental functions, and behaviors. These patterns and ways can be changed through the power of the Holy Spirit. The proclivity may still be there to act certain ways, but you have the ability as a Christian to choose not to.

I Have Learned Three Things About Personality And Leadership:

1.  I have discovered through my personal experience that leadership is a god-thing and not a personality thing.  In the Bible, leaders are dressed in all kinds of personality types. Paul was very different than John.  Moses was very different than Jeremiah. Some were very outgoing, others more reserved. Others were very task oriented, others very people oriented.

2.  I have also discovered that you can use your personality as an excuse for ineffective and unbiblical behavior, I do such and such (or don’t do such and such) because I am a TJ or a high D, or I don’t like detail work because I am a low C. I am reminded of an old Peanuts cartoon where Luci says, “Can I help it if I have crabby genes?” Yes, Luci you can help it!  We can blame the sin of commission or the sin of omission on our God-given personality type rather than take responsibility for our attitudes and actions.

3.  Lastly I have learned that one personality type is not better or worse than another.  God wires us and gifts us for his use, and he doesn’t make any mistakes. If he had wanted you to be somebody else, he would have made you somebody else. Every personality type has its upsides and its downsides.

I remember many years ago I asked a leader what he thought my strengths and weakness were. He responded, “Your greatest strength is your greatest weakness.” I didn’t understand the impact of that statement then, but some 47 years later I do.

Any strength pushed to an extreme becomes a weakness. I am very organized and focused, and that is a good thing, but if I push it too far, I can organize myself and focus my task orientation to well that I run roughshod over people which obviously hurts my leadership fruitfulness and effectiveness. Just for the record I am a D/C on the DISC. It is my greatest strength and my greatest weakness.

 

 

 

 

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