The Five Relationship Management Attributes Necessary for Successful Leadership

© Copyright 2006 Pamela Hollister
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Leadership is the ability to inspire and motivate others. Each one of us is required to exhibit leadership capabilities every day, in our professional and personal lives—a mother inspiring her children to do their best in school; an HR Manager attempting to lift the morale of the company; a politician asking for our vote; a president of a corporation asking management to increase productivity. It doesn’t matter what the size of the organization is, understanding your personal leadership strengths can assist in accomplishing your goals.

In a study of Leadership, Emotional Intelligence and Personality Type conducted in 2004 by Richmond, Rollin and Brown, the findings were:

  • The five most important leadership attributes were identified as Vision, Strategic Thinking, Relationship Building, Execution and People Development.
  • Emotional Intelligence attributes are essential to successful leadership, especially the “relationship management” attributes—Vision, Relationship Building and People Development.
  • Of the remaining attributes, all the Emotional Intelligence competencies are more important than all the general leadership attributes, such as External/market Orientation, Financial Acumen, and Planning.

The Center for Creative Leadership in studying why managers derail on their way to becoming executives found four themes that emerged:

  1. Problems with interpersonal relationships
  2. Failure to meet business objectives
  3. Failure to build and lead a team
  4. Inability to change or adapt during a transition

In short, difficulties with “relationship management” attributes (vision, relationship building and people development) were identified as prime contributors to the failure of otherwise promising executive careers.

Personality Type and Leadership

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® identifies common differences among normal people. “The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent” based on differences in the way individuals prefer to perceive information and reach conclusions (Myers, et al, 1998).

Research shows that personality type explains some of the variation in leadership behavior and perceived effectiveness. A brief summary includes:

  • Leaders come from all 16 personality types, however, nearly every study of leaders by type finds TJs over-represented relative to other types.
  • Research shows that leaders of different types focus on different aspects of their roles and also choose to handle the same activities differently.

Leadership studies usually indicate that most corporate leaders exhibit TJ preferences. For example, 58% of participants in Center for Creative Leadership programs prefer TJ (MBTI Manual, p. 327). TJ leaders “are considered tough minded, executive, analytical…leaders who communicate their confidence in the…primacy of focusing on logical outcomes. TJs may be seen by others as…too quick to judge and act, and tactless in their style of communication…” (MBTI Manual, pps. 52-53).

Implications of these studies for Leaders

Leaders can use the findings from the above studies to gain the following insights into what their executives, and peers may be expecting from them:

  • Assess and increase your effectiveness in building relationships, developing people, and thinking strategically.
  • To excel at the highly-ranked “relationship management” attributes, develop your Emotional Intelligence capabilities such as Self-Awareness, Empathy, and Adaptability.
  • Consider your effectiveness in providing vision and inspiration, executing work to plan, taking initiative, and fostering teamwork.
  • When seeking to influence others, be aware of differences in what each of you values in leaders.

Leadership Styles of the 16 Personality Types


Motivates Others By:

ISTJProviding precise, accurate and timely information
ISFJPresenting factual information personally to influence people to understand the job that needs to be done
INTJDescribing end result desired, by connecting actions, intentions and desired outcomes
INFJBuilding enduring relationships through cooperation and acting on values that promote well-being
ISTPUsing tangible goals to get things moving
INTPTalking about theory and discussing outcomes
ISFPEncouraging others to take action in an easy-going manner
INFPCreating alternative solutions
ESTPQuickly acting to solve problems for others
ESFPRelating to people at a personal level to get them involved
ENTPUsing their problem-solving skills
ENFPEngaging with others to share ideas, & brainstorming
ESTJUsing specific facts and a systematic method
ENTJSystematic & logical action; ideas and global issues
ESFJPractical, hands-on action, moving toward completion of a project
ENFJEnergizing with their “assertive” and personable nature

Knowing yourself well and understanding how others function is fundamental to building strong relationships and effective leadership. Leadership is about behavior and the psychology of leadership as theorized by psychological type allows individuals to recognize their demonstrated behaviors as expressions of their type and to apply type theory as a way to enhance leader development.

Clearly, based on the stated desired leadership qualities, it’s easy to understand the importance a thorough knowledge of personality type can provide. Type is about “relationship management” and “people development.” To understand and apply type theory is to be able to motivate and lead others—including ourselves.

Pamela Hollister
Author, The PEOPLE Process
November 10, 2006
Resource Material: Introduction to Type & Communication, CPP Inc. & The PEOPLE Process

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a trademark or registered trademark of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Trust in the United States and other countries.