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Obama on the Map – by Anne Ellis

My husband and I have just returned from our annual holiday in Atlanta and North Carolina in the United States and to say the whole place was electrified due to the recent election campaign would be an understatement. Unfortunately we had to return on the Monday just before the election and have been tied to CNN ever since. At the outset of the campaign I was very much in support of Hillary Clinton and was quite peeved at Barack Obama displacing her; not anymore!  Once I had started to watch him in action and after reading his two books I was hooked – he is amazing!!!

Obama PeopleMaps Map

My original impression of what I saw of him in the UK news broadcasts, which admittedly was not much was that he was (in Jungian terms) an Introverted Intuitive Feeling (INF) type and didn’t seem able to push his message as much as the others. When people watching I always try to position them using the PeopleMaps’ map and for me, someone who hailed from the South West segment of the map – which is the general direction of INF’s – was never going to be tough enough. He was up against Hillary to start with and if ever there was an Extroverted Intuitive Thinking type (ENT) it was her!

Being an ENT myself I probably appreciated her no nonsense tell it as it is, kick ass, sort of style. These extraverted sensing with thinking or extraverted intuitives with thinking types (EST/ENT)  come from a completely different area of the map, which makes them behave in a totally different manner to that of Barack Obama. They are positioned in the North East of the map with the ENT moving just a little bit further south than the EST, type yet both firmly positioned in the north.

Even though I have been teaching Type for endless years delivering the message that there are various ways to achieve objectives and that no one type has all the answers or the monopoly on getting results I still found myself being drawn to Hillary’s and my own style as the best way to get ahead. Was I ever wrong?

Obama’s Type

It was due to Obama’s ability to remain calm and inject as much time as was needed in slowly, slowly, getting his message across, together with his ability to stick to the same message, rarely deviating yet at the same time appearing to listen to his audience as much as speak to them, that he endured, where others faded, burned out, or merely sounded shrill.

The word ‘transformational’ was used about him constantly in broadcasts and I believe that this is why he is the right person at the right time to lead the great stew of people within the USA today. He is truly a transformational leader and since this is the type most likely to succeed when working within or leading teams he is exactly right. Of course it helps that he is also very clever, shrewd and has the ability to surround himself with the absolutely best people to do the job. Due to his type he will not compete with them but share the limelight and involve these people for their gifts, which will be different from those that he possesses. This is something that is quite difficult for ENT and EST types to do.

Creating the Team

Obama’s very first choice of Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel is as far away from Obama on the PeopleMap’s map as it is possible to be. He is placed right at the top of the map in the centre position, hanging off the coast line. He is an extreme EST which is Extraverted sensing with thinking. He will want to see the evidence for everything, listening will never be his strong suit as he knows exactly what it is he wants to tell people and tell them he will. Options and consequences and bottom line results are what motivate him. He will not hear arguments that go against his commands, and certainly none that are offered without hard factual evidence to back them up!

The PeopleMaps’ Map

Obama’s new Chief of Staff would have a flag at the centre of the outer rim coastal area at the very top of the map. Hillary, McCain and Sarah Palin would all be on the extreme right hand side in the Northern segment with Hillary possibly moving closer to Emanuel and the other two moving more towards the south, yet still firmly fixed in the northern segment of the map (as would be Bill Clinton and George Bush).

It should be possible if we manage to gain enough exposure to the other members of the team to identify where they would fit on the map. Joe Biden, for example will possibly be in the east southern side. He has the characteristics of an extraverted intuitive feeling type (ENF). He thrives in the limelight and just loves to talk, whereas Obama has probably had to learn to put up with the limelight and been forced to talk, when many a time he would be happier quietly listening or reading than being involved socially.

The Competitors for President

It is interesting that both John McCain and Sarah Palin are extraverted intuitive thinking ( ENT) types (McCain called them Mavericks and he was right!) and the very fact that they are so similar (Recruited in his own image?) they would most certainly clash on almost every issue and both would fight for the limelight.

Their government would be all about them and very little about the country as a whole, except where their input would be able to show them in a good light. This would have been true of Hillary also, except she moves towards the north, with more sensing in her make up. All three of them have a transactional style, which is pretty much the same as Bush’s type and the one thing the whole world agreed on – without necessarily recognising that they wanted no more transactional input – was that we absolutely must have change.

Not only is Barack Obama’s type right for the current climate, so also is this type (INF) beginning to be truly appreciated as having the appropriate gifts that make them the best people to ensure transformational leadership within teams. Since team working is more prevalent today than any hierarchy, we are seeing a great shift away from recruiting the ‘extroverted shout louder than others types’. Because today information is so available, and speedily delivered via the internet it is not only impossible for one person to have all the information but it is also much easier to see those who do not have it, something that was covered up for years within hierarchies.

Obama’s INF type is shown in position South West on the Peoplemaps’ map. Due to the fact that he is closer to the centre of the map than some INF types this enables him to reach and relate more easily with all the other types positioned around the map, because the journey is shorter. Trying to reach the Northern hemispheres of the map from an extreme southern coastal position would be too difficult.

I believe that we are about to witness a wholly different style of leadership from Obama and in the beginning he will appear not to be doing very much as his style is to consult and to listen before taking systematic action. He will relate with different types around the map and by doing this will be able to collate a diverse range of views which he will analyse and apply. He is transformational and God willing that is what he will bring about -  the transformation our world needs.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Anne Ellis November 10, 2008, 4:28 pm

    Hi
    I thought it might be useful if I were to add an instruction on how to understand and use the PeopleMaps map, which I now attach.

    GUIDE ON USING THE PEOPLEMAPS’ MAP

    The map can be used to find our way around self and others just as a geographical map is used for towns and countries. it can prove useful in identifying where the Obama team are positioned and show what they share in common and perhaps more importantly where they differ. At its simplest the map can be divided into four segments North West, North East, South West and South East. Within each of these segments there resides a whole variety of behaviours and this can be identified by exactly where in the segment a person’s flag is positioned.

    Those with a flag on the outer rim or coastal position will demonstrate the most extreme behaviours of their type. For example on the extreme edge of the East coast extraversion will be very easy to recognise and on the opposite side i.e. the West coast introversion will be more extreme the closer to the coast the flag position. In the Northern parts task or thinking will be more easily recognised when the flag is closer to the coast and in the Southern parts Feeling or behaviour involving people will be easy to recognise. It stands to reason then that those closest to the centre of the map are less extreme and often harder to identify. The reality is that the difference between East and West or the Jungian attitudes of Extraversion and Introversion while the easiest to identify in more extreme behaviour can be much more subtle for the majority of the population. According to Jung the majority of the population fall closer to the middle.

    This is why it is best to approach identifying people with caution and where psychometric profiling can prove to be a great help. Profiles are generated by the person completing a questionnaire about them and from their answers the system positions them on the map. This in itself is useful, however the narrative explaining a person’s behaviour, which is provided in the overview of their personality type is crucial. PeopleMaps profiles are made up of a map, an overview together with topics such as how the person deals with change for example, or how they might communicate or be team players etc., All the information is geared towards helping the person to understand themselves better and also for others working or living with them to identify their best points and perhaps the areas where some work still needs to be undertaken. The good news is that we all comprise gifts with a plus or a minus in different areas and it is important to recognise that we are and will always be a work in progress.

  • Vicki Zerbee November 10, 2008, 3:25 pm

    Personality typing is very interesting. My daughter just did a high school project on Neurolinquistic Programming which teaches how to relate to different personalities. I have also studied the techniques of associating a color with the personalities. I am glad that you enjoyed your trip to the U.S. and took the time to post this.

  • Julette Millien November 10, 2008, 3:06 pm

    Hello! Though I don’t subscribe to the various models of personality typing, this is a great post on the approach Pres-elect Obama will bring to the table.

    We were just talking this morning about how perfect his leadership – conciliatory, consensus building, team building – is for such a time as this. This is precisely what is needed in our fractured land.

    I’m praying for him to remain humble. And for us to Be the change, get into action and remain engaged.

    Thank You! (and @Drmani for tweeting link) :)
    Julette
    http://www.twitter.com/julettemillien