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The INFJ leadership style is characterized as individualistic with creative, idealistic, and insightful perspectives.  INFJs are masterful at facilitating an understanding of an organization's vision and gaining interpersonal commitments toward fulfillment of that vision.  Their zeal for any given leadership situation is related to the core values embedded in their personal mission.  Confident that their vision and mission is important, INFJs will invest whatever energy is necessary to encourage, support, and organize efforts related to the vision.  Often more concerned about the congruence of mission and values than with identifying concrete and realistic objectives, their strength, which is in building relationships of commitment toward a vision, may become a weakness if they are perceived as unrealistic about the challenges that must be met to actualize a plan.

Quick Guide to the 16 Personality Types in Organizations,
Roger Pearman

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There have been no Idealist Presidents.  Why this should be so is open to many explanations, of which the most likely concerns the matter of power.  The political arena is above all a place of power, and Idealists find the pursuit of power inimical to what they see as their mission in life:  personal fulfillment and the fulfillment of persons.  When they see power they do not covet it, when they have the opportunity they do not seek it, when it is offered them they will not accept it.  Even so, there are famous Idealists whose presence and whose work (in the case of the Idealist it is often hard to separate the two) were quite effective and at times almost messianic.

Presidential Temperament, by Ray Choiniere & David Keirsey

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As Compassionate Visionary Leaders, INFJs prefer to

  • Advocate for developing human potential

  • Focus on interpersonal relationships

  • Integrate all perspectives

  • Motivate and validate others

  • Work hard to create harmonious and functional work groups

  • Avoid using power and authority

  • Lead by example

  • Accommodate and cooperate rather than command

What's Your Type of Career?: Unlock the Secrets of Your Personality to Find Your Perfect Career Path by Donna Dunning

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The business world has shifted toward viewing effective leadership in the twenty-first century as highly interpersonal, relational, collaborative -- in other words, people-oriented.  Interestingly, it was a woman, Mary Parker Follett, who, in 1924, came up with the ideas that are gaining currency today.  In a Wellesley College Center for Research on Women study titled "Inside Women's Power," Follett is credited with putting forward "the virtues of collaboration, coordination, sharing power and information, all of which are part of the current people-oriented, participatory approach to leadership."

Leaders are able to show flexibility, to change with circumstances while continuing to move toward their larger vision.  They do it by looking for opportunity and avoiding distraction.  Eleanor Roosevelt counseled patience and courage, offering the perfect approach for adjusting personal vision as one's status or situation changes.  "We do not have to become heroes overnight," she wrote, "Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appears, discovering that we have the strength to stare it down."  Eleanor's powerful sense of responsibility propelled her to go a step further.  "You must do the thing you think you cannot do," Eleanor wrote with conviction born from a lifetime of experience.

Eleanor built personal connections, learning how to get others to help, support, and work with her.  She did it by showing genuine enthusiasm and asking to work with people she particularly liked and respected.  She "showed up," shuttling from work sessions to meetings to late night gatherings so that she had many opportunities to meet new people and let them get to know her.  She joined organizations and actively expanded her circle of contacts until she had a powerful network to assist her in her political battles.

How was Eleanor Roosevelt a great leader?  She exemplified the qualities of leadership that scholars have identified as crucial.  First of all, she responded to people's fundamental wants and needs -- especially those who are disadvantaged.  Second, because she was innovative and creative in her ideas about how we can improve not only our own lives but also those around us.  Third, because she knew that to fight for grand but controversial principles meant that inevitably one comes into conflict with others, and she never shrank from a grand fight for principle.  But above all -- she was an outstanding leader because of her ethical standards and her values:  She believed in ethical conduct both in public and private life and she believed in the great principles that have guided America from the start (summed up in the glowing words of the Declaration of Independence, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" and its commitment to equality).

"You do your best to make others see your point of view," she wrote, "but if you cannot win them over, you still must go on your way because each human being has an obligation to do what seems right according to his own conscience."

All of the practice, thought, and planning that go into your communications as a leader will be worthless if you don't communicate from your heart.  Your greatest communications asset is authenticity, because it will allow other people to feel the emotional energy you bring to your message and be moved to act in turn.

Eleanor took pride in acting on her beliefs, regardless of the consequences.  "Do what you feel in your heart to be right," she counseled others.  "You'll be criticized anyway.  You'll be damned if you do and damned if you don't."

-Excerpted from Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way,
by Robin Gerber

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The other Temperament, the Idealist, has provided one of the great surprises in this study of character: we find that there has never been an Idealist President in all the two hundred year history of The United States of America. We will comment later on this curious void in American politics, and we will look extensively at one Idealist, Eleanor Roosevelt, who came close to wielding presidential power.

-David Keirsey

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Leadership.  We were surprised, shocked really, to discover the type of leadership required for turning a good company into a great one.  Compared to high-profile leaders with big personalities who make headlines and become celebrities, the good-to-great leaders seem to have come from Mars.  Self-effacing, quiet, reserved, even shy -- these leaders are a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will. 

-Excerpt from Good to Great, by Jim Collins

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