From manager to exec: How Extraverts can use the MBTI assessment for leadership development
Vanessa, MBTIonline Contributing Writer
4 min. read
There’s a lot of talk about choosing the right career or landing a job. And if The Great Resignation has taught us anything, it’s that it’s important to do work that fulfills you.
But what if you’ve already found a job you love? Or what if you’re trying to figure out how to expand your professional horizons while you stay on your existing career path?
If you’re a first-level manager, you’ve probably wondered the same thing. Chances are, you’ve worked hard to get to your position—and you’ll continue to climb the ladder. As you pursue those opportunities, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) assessment can help increase your opportunities for success.
From specialist to generalist: the MBTI® leadership map
Did you know there’s hidden information inside your MBTI results? Specifically, there are eight patterns of mental activity that describe how we use our mind.
While we can use all eight patterns, everyone subconsciously has their two favorites. These are called our first (or favorite) and second processes. We also have the third and fourth processes. What’s really interesting is that these mental patterns progress with us as we mature—and this can be especially apparent in the workplace. Think of a young manager in the 20 to 40 age range. Maybe that’s you. You’ve probably spent the first part of your career developing job-specific skills and expanding your industry knowledge. Let’s call these “the specialist years.” Chances are, your first and second processes are well-developed by now.
Over time, leaders like you will move into something called “the generalist years.” This era is less about refining expertise and more about your ability to influence and work well with a wide variety of people. This is the time to explore your less-used third and fourth processes. If you want a fighting chance to get that promotion or eventually become an executive, you’ll need them to help set you apart.
Fair warning: it might feel really awkward at first. Kind of like writing with your non-favorite hand. But you’ll eventually get the hang of it.
Phases of leadership development for extraverted personality types
Below are four phases of leadership development for the eight extraverted personality types, divided by process (the phases for introverted personality types are in a separate blog).
Remember, the first two processes are likely what you’re experiencing right now (if you’re a first-level manager). Pay special attention to the other two processes (third and fourth). You’ll need to practice those as your career progresses.
Note that the third process isn’t given an extraverted or introverted orientation.
ESTP leadership development
Favorite process: extraverted Sensing—You get a lot of satisfaction from making deals. To move forward, make sure the thrill doesn’t cloud your judgement or pull you away from your personal goals.
Second process: introverted Thinking—You’ve learned to be less impulsive when making decisions. To move forward, get comfortable asking others about any concerns they have about different choices.
Third process: Feeling—This is where you can exercise your empathy. Try to anticipate how others will react to certain situations you’re in, or how they’d handle your challenges.
Fourth process: introverted Intuition—This is where you can learn to trust your gut. You’ll find that your intuition may be able to guide you to some pretty solid answers.
ESFP leadership development
Favorite process: extraverted Sensing—Attention to detail is your strong suit. To move forward, use those details to keep your team’s needs in mind—not just yours.
Second process: introverted Feeling—You like to jump from one action item to the next. To move forward, try to slow down and observe your own feelings and any clues about how others might feel.
Third process: Thinking—This is where you can develop your analytical side. Try setting goals with a three- to five-year deadline. Remember to evaluate your progress periodically.
Fourth process: introverted Intuition—This is where you read between the lines of others’ feedback. For example, if they say you’re “too easygoing” in times of crisis, ask yourself what that really means.
ENFP leadership development
Favorite process: extraverted Intuition—Imagining new possibilities is easy for you. To move forward, train your mind to focus on fewer ideas at a time so you can discern which are worth pursuing.
Second process: introverted Feeling—You know what matters to you. To move forward, ask people on your team questions about their motivations and goals, and try not to confuse yours with theirs.
Third process: Thinking—This is where you can create action plans that turn your ideas into reality. Learn to set key milestones, deadlines, and metrics for success.
Fourth process: introverted Sensing—This is where you can learn to appreciate stillness. Reflect on your career up until this point. What can your experience teach you about what to do next?
ENTP leadership development
Favorite process: extraverted Intuition—You can see several different solutions to any problem. To move forward, avoid changing priorities so often that you seem unpredictable to others.
Second process: introverted Thinking—You love to share your ideas with others. To move forward, give your team time and space to share their ideas too.
Third process: Feeling—This is where you learn to “walk the talk.” It might feel uncomfortable, but try to assess how your behavior matches up to your priorities.
Fourth process: introverted Sensing—This is where you get laser-focused on the big picture. Find activities that clear your mind (i.e., walks, meditation) so you don’t sweat the small stuff.
ESTJ leadership development
Favorite process: extraverted Thinking—You favor efficiency. To move forward, evaluate whether the efficient actions you take are the most effective.
Second process: introverted Sensing—You set strategic direction using history and past experiences. To move forward, consider other factors like industry trends and customer needs.
Third process: Intuition—This is where you learn to step on the brakes before you jump into action. Ask yourself (and your team) more questions about the consequences of and alternatives to your plan.
Fourth process: introverted Feeling—This is where you can strengthen your relationship with your team. Let them get to know you better, so they can understand what matters to you.
ESFJ leadership development
Favorite process: extraverted Feeling—You expect harmony between your organization and its employees. To move forward, neutralize your expectations without losing compassion for your team.
Second process: introverted Sensing—You’re always thinking about the next course of action. To move forward, take time to consider your past experience. Use those details to map an action plan.
Third process: Intuition—This is where you prepare for unexpected changes. Try to look at industry trends and patterns with a strategic eye and update your goals accordingly.
Fourth process: introverted Thinking—This is where you learn to make midcourse adjustments. In the middle of a project or task, ask yourself if there’s anything you can do to improve progress.
ENFJ leadership development
Favorite process: extraverted Feeling—You like to help others solve their problems. To move forward, clarify some boundaries and try not to make their issues yours.
Second process: introverted Intuition—You’re pretty good at trusting your instincts when it comes to other people. To move forward, practice using that insight to guide your own situation and choices.
Third process: Sensing—This is where you test whether your intuition lines up with objective data. This filters out incorrect assumptions, and ultimately strengthens your position as a strategist.
Fourth process: introverted Thinking—This is where you can assess the pros and cons of any situation. Use your ability to categorize issues to get crystal clear on next steps.
ENTJ leadership development
Favorite process: extraverted Thinking—You always seem to know the quickest path to success. To move forward, try to appreciate others’ views. Sometimes there can be more than one right answer.
Second process: introverted Intuition—You get excited when you see complex systems working together seamlessly. To move forward, communicate this excitement so others can get behind your vision.
Third process: Sensing—This is where you get to celebrate success with your team. Instead of moving to the next goal, take time to honor everyone’s contribution. Bonus: this helps increase loyalty.
Fourth process: introverted Feeling—This is where you can express your appreciation for the people on your team and in your life. Try to balance the thrill of your work with the need for sincere gratitude.
Get the keys to the kingdom with the MBTI® assessment
As long as we’re intentional with our time and actions, we all have the capability to be successful leaders.
To make your work even more fulfilling, consider this next era of your career “The Great Reframing.” If you want even more personalized tips for career exploration and development, MBTIonline Careers can take you to the next level.