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  1. #1
    Senior Member edcoaching's Avatar
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    Default Hile Rutledge's views on McCain/Obama

    Hile is now CEO of Otto Kroeger Associates, OKA (Otto Kroeger Associates) Myers-Briggs (MBTI) Qualification Training, Teambuilding, and Leadership Training. Here's the note he sent out today. I probably don't agree with every single letter of his type guesses, but I like his analysis of how type differences become "weaknesses..."

    Wow, What a Race: Final Reflections on Type and Election 2008
    By Hile Rutledge, INFP and Chief Executive Officer, OKA




    Here in the final week of the race for President, let's step away from policy debates and character insults, and look at this historic contest one last time before we actually vote, through a type lens.

    It is striking how so many of the criticisms being leveled at each candidate are rooted in strengths they have. In other words, so many of the liabilities (or what are offered as such) are simply type preferences being disrespected or misunderstood. As someone who has made his career using type and other tools to build self-awareness and improving the effectiveness of communication, teams and organizations, I want to take every opportunity I can to reframe positively my perceptions of others - assuming good intentions when I can - and to see even troubling, problematic behavior as a strength that has merely been misapplied, misunderstood or taken to an extreme.

    To this end, let's see what kind of lessons might be offered up by John McCain and Barack Obama.

    John McCain, Warrior fighter pilot turned quick-draw political maverick: ESTP

    Throughout his career-and especially in this campaign-John McCain has been quick to respond, to react, and to change. When the financial crisis hit in September, McCain was quick on the draw with comments and plans in response to the situation as it changed from day to day-even hour to hour. While this reactiveness and flexibility-hallmarks of ESTP-are frequently praised, this behavior also has earned McCain the reputation of being erratic and someone more prone to engaging in tactics, not strategy.


    McCain seems (and has always seemed to me to be) an open, talkative, expressive man energized by the groups he is with. He thrives in a town hall event setting, engaging directly with voters. It was McCain who invited/challenged Obama to a long series of town hall meetings throughout the fall as a way of interacting with the issues and each other. This likely preference for Extraversion (and ESTP more broadly), however, also brings with it a tendency to speak unfiltered thoughts and feelings that reflection might have withheld. Admitting to a reporter in this election cycle that he did not know a lot about the economy, saying on the morning of what would prove to be an economic calamity that the fundamentals of the US economy were strong, and in the debates, referring to Obama as "That one" - these were all statements that flowed from the moment relatively unfiltered, yet my guess is that, if he had his preference, McCain would likely retract these "off the cuff" thoughts. It feels like we lament that our leaders don't often enough give us their unvarnished, "unspun" thoughts, but then when they do-there is a price to pay. This is the Extravert's dilemma.


    McCain also has a reputation, well highlighted in this contest, of being a bit of a rebel, a maverick who will speak truth to power and go his own way even in opposition to his own leadership and political party. It is this maverick, "go against the grain" approach (again, very much in keeping with ESTP), that has brought McCain much of his distinction and power, but it is this same set of qualities that lead some people to not trust his motives and loyalties. If you are part of the establishment against which he is pushing, it's easy to see why someone might see the maverick as an inconsistent flag-bearer.


    Barack Obama, The community organizer turned visionary agent of change: INFP


    Barack Obama has earned a reputation over the last 18 months as being rather contained and reserved-a calm hand on the rudder. His internal campaign motto is "No drama Obama". These qualities reflect a reserve and containment that have served him well-especially during this recent economic meltdown. This same calm, unflappable manner, however, has also earned Obama criticism for being passionless and aloof. In a memoir, Obama shares an emotional recounting of a personal moment of crisis and awakening when he fell to his knees and wept. This is an emotional display that we in the outside world don't get to see and from someone so generally calm and reserved can only imagine. One commentator quipped that Obama acts as though he understands emotions far more than he feels them-this is a statement leveled against many Introverts.


    From his first job as a community builder and organizer to his presidential campaign, Obama has been driven by values around empowering people, fostering harmony, and finding common ground. He came onto the national stage in 2004 with a speech denouncing our tendency of seeing blue states and red states; instead urging us to be the United States. He reminded us of our gun-owning, church-going friends in the blue states and the gay and lesbian friends and family we have in the red states to emphasize our common bonds-the bridges that connect us rather than emphasize the issues that tear us apart. This tendency to harmonize and idealize, typical of INFPs, while inspirational to some, creates skepticism in others and a concern that an embrace of harmony reflects an unwillingness or inability to get tough and combative politically.


    Barack Obama has shown a special skill for writing, for crafting artful and at times inspirational speeches (and books). While a polished and effective speaker, it is the quality of his pre-written messages (IN specifically and INFP more generally) with which he is so often associated. A criticism consistently leveled against Obama is that he depends too much on pre-written addresses (tele-prompters are used even in short rallies and campaign stops) and not enough on more unscripted addresses and events. The desire to have messaging known, controlled, and even rehearsed is a common introverted behavior, but one that leads many to question the connection and even authenticity of the speaker.


    Reframing the Debate through Type

    So, is John McCain quick to react or is he erratic? Is he a maverick or just contrary? Is Barack Obama calm and cool-headed, or is he distant and aloof? Is he an idealist or a visionary? Type suggests that the answer to all these questions is "yes."

    Type shows us clearly that every benefit comes with a liability, but the flip-side of this reality is that nearly every weakness or troublesome behavior is also rooted in a strength that has been misapplied, overdone, or misunderstood. This means that type is a great vehicle to help us both correct our ineffective behavior and to help us reframe the perceptions and judgments we have and make of others. This presidential race is going to be over in a week, but the work to help clients, leaders, and teams understand how to use type to improve their performance and to reframe positively those around them goes on. In the midst of what has been a contentious and at times bitter race, it has helped me to reflect on this silver lining.


    Good luck to both John McCain and Barack Obama, and don't forget to vote!
    edcoaching

  2. #2
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    It's funny that Hile Rutledge is an INFP, and he types Obama as an INFP. I myself would probably put him as ENTP. Either way I think he's got a good "chameleon like" ability that is typical of Ne.
    My wife and I made a game to teach kids about nutrition. Please try our game and vote for us to win. (Voting period: July 14 - August 14)
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  3. #3
    Senior Member edcoaching's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    It's funny that Hile Rutledge is an INFP, and he types Obama as an INFP. I myself would probably put him as ENTP. Either way I think he's got a good "chameleon like" ability that is typical of Ne.
    I noted that too! From reading Dreams from My Father long before he was a candidate, I was thinking NF but had no idea on the other two letters. The idealism was so strong...Several people have tried to convince me he's INFJ and given that usually one of our biggest weaknesses is not being politically savvy enough to avoid being backstabbed, I just didn't think so.
    edcoaching

  4. #4
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    Not to start a fight, but I've noticed incredible bias among some NFs when typing people, "experts" or otherwise

  5. #5
    Senior Member edcoaching's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flak View Post
    Not to start a fight, but I've noticed incredible bias among some NFs when typing people, "experts" or otherwise
    Typing from afar is really, really hard to do. The type community poll on Obama pegs him as an N but is just about split evenly on the other three letters.

    One of my reasons for thinking F was the idealism with which he went into community organizing. The way he describes his start in Dreams from My Father makes him sound like a lost puppy on the streets of Chicago, not like a more strategic ENTP. Of course both NTs and NFs could get stunned by the overwhelming difficulty of hwat he was attempting to do...
    edcoaching

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    Quote Originally Posted by edcoaching View Post
    Typing from afar is really, really hard to do. The type community poll on Obama pegs him as an N but is just about split evenly on the other three letters.
    INFJs say that all the time, but INTPs much less so. We all have our strengths, don't we?

    I think the Obester is ENFJ, and the MaCster is INTP. Palin ESFP, and Biden MAYBE is ENTP.

  7. #7
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edcoaching View Post
    I noted that too! From reading Dreams from My Father long before he was a candidate, I was thinking NF but had no idea on the other two letters. The idealism was so strong...Several people have tried to convince me he's INFJ and given that usually one of our biggest weaknesses is not being politically savvy enough to avoid being backstabbed, I just didn't think so.
    From the descriptions I've read about his mother she sounds like an INFP. That is my personal guess about where he gets that side of him from. There are other parts of him (like law professor) that fit better with the NT profile. Of course it's all a guess. He is certainly a complex individual, and that makes him hard to type.
    My wife and I made a game to teach kids about nutrition. Please try our game and vote for us to win. (Voting period: July 14 - August 14)
    http://www.revoltingvegetables.com

  8. #8
    Welcome to Sunnyside Mondo's Avatar
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    Anyone think that Obama might be an INTJ?
    Ni gives someone a vision and makes someone an idealist.
    I don't think there's a single F in this election.

    McCain and Palin are both ESTPs (one a relatively honest war hero and the other a narcissistic fool) and I think Biden is an ESTJ (don't be fooled by his 'liberal leanings', ESTJs are some of the most ridiculously outspoken types of them all).
    MBTI Type: iNTj
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  9. #9
    Senior Member edcoaching's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flak View Post
    INFJs say that all the time, but INTPs much less so. We all have our strengths, don't we?

    I think the Obester is ENFJ, and the MaCster is INTP. Palin ESFP, and Biden MAYBE is ENTP.
    We actually agree on Obama if someone makes me declare. TP I'll agree on for McCain. Palin...haven't wasted much thought
    edcoaching

  10. #10
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mondo View Post
    Anyone think that Obama might be an INTJ?
    Ni gives someone a vision and makes someone an idealist.
    I don't think there's a single F in this election.
    I have seen glimmers of INTJ-ness in Obama in the debates. He really has a very precise vision that reminds me a lot of my INTJ friend. But he's so charismatic, and that doesn't seem very INTJ at all. I mean, I dig INTJs (mmmm robot aloofness), but they don't tend to be people people.
    INFJ

    "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

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