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Stabilizer, Catalyst, Troubleshooter, or Visionary - Which are You?

by Robert R. Kurtz
January/February 1991
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A director's own leadership style and how this style interacts with subordinates is an area often neglected in management. Psychology has failed to find a leadership style or personality that is effective in all situations. Therefore, it appears that different styles are called for in different situations. Directors are often acutely aware of the situations and personnel that need managing but much less aware of their own personal style or leadership preferences. The purpose of this article is to present a way of conceptualizing leadership style and to describe its impact on the administrative tasks or functions. While each leader is unique, certain leadership or personality styles have been characterized throughout history.

Carl Jung (1923) was the first to conceptualize various psychological personality types in a way that is related to leadership style. Myers-Briggs (1962, 1980) offers a way of measuring the different Jungian personality preferences that are useful for managers. The usefulness of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) in describing leadership style is explained in Keirsey and Bates' (1984) book, Please Understand Me.

The major thesis of this book is that leaders have distinct preferences in the way that they perceive situations and reach conclusions ...

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