Junior Park Scholars define their leadership styles

By Bethany George

The junior Park Scholars anxiously waited for Michele Lenhart, the director of student leadership and involvement, to tell them their results of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a tool used to describe individuals’ personality and interaction preferences. The assessment helps to understand relations with oneself and others, at school or in the workplace. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete, and breaks down a personality into 16 different category descriptions. Each description is a different combination of eight letters that make an abbreviation of a personality preference type.

Instead of giving the scholars their test results immediately, Lenhart broke down each set of preferences and asked them to formulate a guess of which category their official results would indicate.

“As a psychology minor, I have taken the test several times before but I enjoyed taking it again to see if my letters changed,” said Zachary Briggs, an integrated marketing communications major. “I never assigned myself letters before like we did with Michele, and I liked understanding how the traits were developed out of our self-perceptions.”

The first set of preferences were extraversion and introversion. Extraverts feel most energized having lively discussions with groups of people, whereas introverts are energized by having more intimate discussions with periods of reflection. As someone who loves being in a large group of my friends, I’m clearly an extrovert.

The second set of preferences were sensing and intuition. The two terms are used to describe how an individual likes prefers to absorb information. Sensing types like to focus on the facts, and intuitive types interpret and add meanings to situations. To help us define which preference we were, Lenhart asked us to write a short passage about the picture. Those who relate more to the sensing preference wrote a detailed description of what was in the picture, whereas those who prefer intuition wrote about instances in their personal lives that the picture reminded them of.

Thinking and feeling was the next set Lenhart defined. This category explains how someone makes decisions. Someone who is more of a thinking type will have a systematic and logical approach to decision making, in comparison to a feeling type who thinks about the people and emotions involved.

The last two terms were judging and perceiving. These terms apply structure preferences. If an individual were a judging type, he or she would be very organized and task focused. If an individual were a perceiving type, he or she would be flexible and easy going.

The most helpful part of the workshop was Lenhart’s advice about how to be aware of your personal preferences and the preferences of others. Being knowledgeable about each category is important when interacting with others to avoid misunderstandings and achieve the most efficient collaboration.

Also, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a reminder that each person has the capabilities to be a leader, but just with a different leadership style.

“It was really reassuring when I read the description about my specific personality type because it gave language to my leadership style,” said Crystal Kayiza, a documentary studies major.


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