They say a week is a long time in politics yet I don’t believe it would have felt that way to Barack. He always looks cool, calm and collected, however I am reminded of the swan who also looks like this whilst paddling like mad under the surface. The highlight of the week had to be the visit to the White House, he even made people feel more warm towards George W. Bush. Although Bush has had a terrible press, I do think he redeemed himself somewhat in extending this courtesy to Barack and Michelle Obama. The Bushes appeared charming and hospitable, keen to be seen to be doing the right thing and the Obamas, OH BOY!!!

The Dress

Let’s start with Michelle’s dress; an unusual starting place for someone like me, who hates the fact that clever women’s looks are always commented upon by the media, while no mention is ever made of men’s appearance. However in this case it is justified – WOW! is the only comment I can make. Not only is she clever, smart, beautiful and with a figure many a model would die for, she is also confident, likeable and secure in her skin, and boy does it show.

This dress sums up her personality very well. She knows how she looks and accepts this as something given, not something she’s created, however she uses all her gifts and makes the most of her outgoing character in wearing bright red. This colour suits her both in appearance and in character. She’s a “do it now” type, practical, action oriented and keen to get on with things and the dress lets us know this. When not wearing red she is often to be found wearing black, yet another colour declaring that she is a serious minded woman who is determined to go about her business in a no nonsense fashion. it was particularly telling that the dress she wore, on the night the result was declared, mixed her two favourite colours. The black background marked the seriousness of the occasion and the bold red splashes confirmed “yes we can” and not only that but we’ve done it!

As a couple they are just perfectly matched. Their height overshadowed president Bush and his wife yet they are both tall. More than their height, it was their shining personalities, their natural smiles and general feeling of joy about life that caught my attention. Joy is to love and be loved and the glow that shone from them, made this true for this couple. The dress also marked a departure from playing it safe. No one could ever fault Laura Bush for her decorum. She has a classic conservative take on fashion and would no more be seen wearing such a bold red dress than she would a feather boa! Playing it safe and breaking no rules is the way she goes about her business and this suits her personality very well. Michelle is obviously a very different character and if nothing else the dress flags up that changes in lots of ways are about to descend on the presidency. This adds to the general air of excitement about her husband’s election. It’s interesting that the most charismatic man in world wide politics since Bill Clinton (Prior to his scandals), can be instantly referred to and recognised as ‘her husband’.

Jung and individuation

It’s said that Jung’s psychology is more relevant to those in their middle years, forty plus. His aim in helping people to understand their personality type is to enable them to become fully individuated personalities. What he means by this is that through life we should be working towards using all our gifts. For example if our attitude is for introversion we should be working on using our extraversion more often, and if we have a preference for objective thinking we should be trying to bring our subjective feeling preference in to the light. Not many will achieve this: however, according to Jung, this should be one of our major purposes on our journey through life.

A compromise often reached, albeit subconsciously, is between couples who end up marrying their opposite type and thus between them create a wholly integrated personality. It’s often said that opposites attract and this is true but only in temperament. For a relationship to work effectively, goals and values have to be in ‘sync’ and I believe that this is what’s happened between the President and First Lady Elect.

President and First Lady Elect

I claimed last week that Obama’s personality was on the South West of the PeopleMaps’ Map (a Jungian Introverted intuitive feeling (INF) type) and this raised some queries as others thought him North West a Jungian (INT). I think this was due to the fact that he is obviously very analytical and intelligent, yet I still plump for INF. I believe it is his ‘feeling’ preference that enabled him to attract and inspire so many loyal supporters, not something an INT would find easy to do. Of course he uses all his gifts and although subjective feeling is his first preference he is trained and educated to use his objective thinking preference, certainly as a lawyer and also as an academic. His often humble take on things, ability to remain unruffled, avoidance of the personal insult and sticking to a steady low key mantra through thick and thin, rarely rising to the bait, also bodes well for subjective feeling preference. The mantra itself helps corroborate the Feeling over Thinking preference “Yes we can” never “Yes I can”: the we is inclusive, something that comes naturally to him because he has a strong feeling preference.

The First Lady elect is his opposite type as I believe that she appears on the North east of the PeopleMaps Map (an Extraverted Sensing Thinking (EST) type) which is the reason they balance out so nicely. She is the ‘Rock of the family’ according to Barrack. She is also an active force who will encourage as well as support and drive him on to take action when his first instinct may be to contemplate issues for longer periods. His placid temperament also brings value to her as he is able to calm her and stop her taking precipitate action that she may later regret. He will help her to get in touch with her ‘feeling’ side more often and encourage her to laugh and not take the world too seriously. He is much more tolerant than she and some of this is bound to rub off too. Together they are a powerful team. They have both had to make great sacrifices, which she would have done after giving some considered thought to the consequences on her family. Family is important to her and she places high value on their needs. Thrusting them into the public eye and all the risks that this implies makes this a very high price to pay. She has made this sacrifice because she has decided that change is needed and that he is the very person who will bring that change about. Although he has gone to great pains to show that he is about to be president for all Americans, she knows what it means to Black Americans and is prepared to make the sacrifice alert to the past sacrifices made by black Americans, that have enabled them to be in the position they are today.

Although she is not in an elected position she will be very much part of his team as he depends on her to help him clarify his thinking in a safe secure environment. This is a partnership but she will not push herself forward as this would not sit well with his personality type. Encouraging him and giving the benefit of her thoughts will be part of the deal however he is the one who will be making the decisions and while a sounding board is handy, the buck will always need to stop with him. Fortunately he will gather around him one of the strongest teams possible and in this regard he has already made a start.

The Evolving Team

Obama Team PeopleMap

Joe Biden

Prior to the election the choice of Vice President had been made with the placement of Joe Biden. Although he was not particularly well known outside America he seems to be very well known and in the main regarded highly within the USA. He sits on the South East of the Map (Extraverted Intuitive Feeling (ENF) type). He can provide the gregarious aspects that Obama lacks, sometimes he is seen to be too gregarious as generally he is generally speaking! No doubt he will manage to curb his overt enthusiasm when the need arises, yet it is this very enthusiasm that Barack and the American people will benefit from. He can inspire, innovate and enthuse which will be a great advantage to the team in the difficult days ahead.

Rham Emanuel

The first appointment by the new President elect was that of his Chief of Staff Rham Emanuel who is someone with a highly driven Thinking preference – due North on the PeopleMaps Map. He is a great choice for Obama as he will be responsible for the running of the show and this needs a ‘tough nut’, which from comments in the press, he seems to be. His type is Introverted Intuitive Thinking (INT) however he is at the very centre of the map and can use his extraversion equally competently as his Introversion, this together with his high Thinking/Task focus enables him to stride like a Collosus over the wide territory of the map where no nonsense is tolerated.

His type enables him to get things done. He does this because he has the ability to move into his action mode and apply his Extraversion preference. His is a formidable intellect and he is also a perfectionist. He has the strong personality that enables him to pull all of the team back to the drawing board if a decision has been taken, that on further reflection, he deems not robust enough to go forward. He rarely cares about being popular or liked, nor what people think about him. Getting the job done and doing it to the best of his, and every member of the team’s ability, is what he is about.


This is only the beginning and already it is starting to look like an exciting team. I believe that the next appointments to be made may throw up a group of Introverted Sensing Thinking (IST) types : those who reside in the North West (NW) of the map will bring the careful analysis needed to help solve the very, very many challenges that the new President and the World at large currently faces. It will be the purpose of this team that will decide the make up of the personalities involved. It has already been decided that the first purpose is the economy and for this a great deal of analytical endeavor is required, however this will need to be tempered with a whole variety of other personalities too, especially if the purpose has to be sold to the many stake holders who will be involved.

(This post was written by Anne Ellis, PeopleMaps Director of Psychology)

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