The Myers-Briggs type indicator and transformational leadership

ArticleinJournal of Management Development 28(10):916-932 · October 2009with263 Reads
Impact Factor: 0.32 · DOI: 10.1108/02621710911000677


    Purpose – This paper aims to study the possible relationship between elements of personality as measured by the Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI) and transformational leadership (TL) as measured by the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ). Design/methodology/approach – The study was done at the North American manufacturing facility of an international technology company. Utilizing the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire to measure transformational leadership, over 2,000 followers provided assessments of transformational leadership for 148 managers who had done self-assessments and had completed Form K of the MBTI. Findings – No relationship was found between follower assessments of transformational leadership and leader personality as measured by the MBTI. Leaders did, however, perceive themselves to be significantly more transformational than did those who reported to them. Leader preference for extraversion over introversion and intuition over perception were both significantly associated with self-reports of transformational leadership. Research limitations/implications – Studies utilizing large samples across a variety of organizational settings are needed to confirm the results of this study. Practical implications – This study calls into question the existence of a relationship between the MBTI and transformational leadership. The study does not provide any support for the possible utility of the MBTI for the prediction or explanation of transformational leadership behaviors. Assuming that followers' perceptions of TL are the more valid, the findings suggest that previous results linking MBTI and TL may be measurement artifacts. Originality/value – Utilizing a large sample, the MLQ and continuous measures of MBTI preferences the results of this study contradict previous reports of a relationship between personality as measured by the MBTI and transformational leadership.