Yesterday, I showed that replies to questions in the first section of the surveys showed that congregations roughly preferred a minister of Myers Briggs type ENFP.
Various descriptions are available in books and on the Web of the personality types. Here are some of ENFP: at Personality Page, Type Logic, Similar Minds and good old Wikipedia, just to get you going.
Before exploring more what might or might not be appealing about this personality type in Christian ministry, there were further tests in the survey about preferred personality types. In the next few days, I shall introduce you to the results from other sections, but tonight I just want to mention one of them.
There was a question I posed to ministers which did not have an equivalent in the survey of congregational members. I asked:
From the four descriptions below, please choose the one which most closely describes your style of leadership:
I see myself as a visionary, an architect of systems or a builder. My orientation is towards a strategy that ensures the future of the church.
I am a traditionalist, a stabliser or a consolidator. My oreintation is towards a church whose activities and ministries meet certain standards.
I function as a trouble-shooter, negotiator or fire-fighter. I wan the activities and ministries of the church to reflect current needs.
I like to work as a catalyst, a spokesperson or an energiser. I want to motivate the church into greater holiness and witness.
So what was this about? The second and third of the four elements in the Myers Briggs Type Indicator can be taken together to explore a person’s likely leadership or management styles. The four statements above represent, in order from top to bottom, NT, SJ, SP and NF. Remembering that I am an INTP, I would expect to fall into the first of the four, and I do, because that statement emphasises the importance of vision and the future. If ENFP is to be verified as the ministers’ main preference, then we would expect the fourth of the statements to poll the most votes.
So did it? Yes. NT polled 26.2%, SJ and SP both gained 7.1%, but NF took 59.5%. The intuitives (N) who see the big picture more than the details who are also feelers (F), who stress harmony among people more than logic and evidence, represent the most common leadership style among those ministers who took the survey.
Again, on its own it is just a tentative result, because a proper questionnaire would ask many more questions to refine this. However, that is two results now looking the same in the survey.
Here is a description of ENFPs at work that Jerry Gilpin took from the book ‘Introduction to Type and Teams’ by Hirsh, Hirsh and Hirsh (CPP, 2003) in his notes for the course I took at Trinity College, Bristol in February:
Lively, charismatic and encouraging, ENFPs work well when they can innovate and be creative, persuade others to take action, and stimulate positive change. They generate enthusiasm for startup activities, are tireless in pursuit of newfound interests, and anticipate the needs of people and organisations.
So, ministers – do any of you recognise yourselves as being somewhat like this? And church members, is this what you are looking for?
More generally, here is a description of an ENFP’s general characteristics (also from Jerry’s notes):
Warmly enthusiastic, and imaginative. See life as full of possibilities. Make connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceed based on the patterns they see. Want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency.
Is this what you would put in a person specification if you were looking for a new minister? (To which I’d cheekily like to add the typical examination questions, if so why? If not, what would you include?)
Finally from Jerry’s notes, some things he included about the temperament in leading for an NF manager:
Focus Growth needs of an organisation
Abilities Communicates organisational norms; make decisions by participation; had personal and insightful style
Questions asked How does that affect workers’ morale? What is most important to people? What impact does this have on values?
Beliefs People potential is the organisation’s strength; organisation should develop people’s talent
Values Autonomy; harmony; believes in co-operation
Irritated at work by … impersonal treatment; criticism; lack of positive feedback
Irritates others by … Emotional and moralistic standards; creating dependencies; getting over-extended
Potential pitfalls Sweeps problems under the rug; plays favourites
Appreciates in self High energy; ability to value others
Does that sound like you or your minister? Does it seem like a description of a valuable minister who (thankfully) is not the Archangel Gabriel?
I’d love you to tell me how far these descriptions do or do not describe your ministry or your minister.