Fending off a scandal that could threaten his career, the question hanging over New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is not “what do traffic jams in Fort Lee, NJ have to do with the 2016 Presidential race?”, but rather, “what does this political crisis tell voters about Christie’s ability to effectively lead NJ, and perhaps someday, the U.S.?”
Being in the business of assessing leadership effectiveness, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at Christie’s behavior in response to the current political crisis, and with the help of Dr. Robert Patraw, one of WJM’s resident personality experts, review the talents and challenges that a leader with Christie’s (hypothetical) personality might exhibit.
Dr. Patraw has made the following observations of Christie through the lens of The Five Temperament Model, as adapted by Dr. Patraw based on his 27 years of coaching corporate leaders.
A reasonable starting point for hypothesizing the Temperament of anyone demonstrating a personal ambition for power and prestige in the public eye would be Choleric in Inclusion (surface level interpersonal interactions).
There are reasons that each of the other four Temperaments might seek a similar office or position, but they will demonstrate a very different way of conducting themselves - ranging from a desire to please people and be liked to a reluctance to appear publicly.
So what elements suggest that Governor Christie may be Choleric in Inclusion?
Here are the general strengths and weakness of a Choleric in Inclusion.
Christie as Leader
If we assume that Christie’s leadership style reflects this same Choleric Temperament, we might expect to observe the following leadership strengths and weaknesses.
Choleric leader in their strengths:
Choleric leader in their weaknesses:
Cholerics will fall into their weaknesses primarily when they have not been able to achieve to their own satisfaction in areas that matter to them. These weaknesses are built into the Choleric, but with increased self-awareness, and perhaps the support of a coach, the Choleric leader can learn to recognize them and develop strategies to reduce their frequency.
For all leaders, Governors or otherwise, the learning that comes from an assessment process can be invaluable towards leveraging innate strengths and mitigating weaknesses. Awareness of our Temperament provides us with control over our behavior and can greatly impact our response to events and how we are perceived by others.
Some caveats are in order. This general diagnosis of Governor Christie’s personality is based purely on Christie’s interactions with the press. It is important to keep in mind that an individual’s public persona may not line up with the private person (especially for a politician!)
Furthermore, in the above, Dr. Patraw only considers the “Inclusion” area of the Five Temperament model which explores the component of our personality that is most “readable” by others. Comments regarding his leadership style are based on inferring that his “Control” Temperament is the same as his “Inclusion”. It is important to recognize that most people bring additional talents and abilities to their leadership outside of their Inclusion Temperament. To truly assess leadership style and effectiveness, it is necessary to be present when the individual is functioning as a leader (i.e. leading his/her team or working through a decision making process with others.) Those behaviors are seldom revealed in a media event so any judgment about Governor Christie’s leadership must ultimately be left to those closest to him.
For more details on the Five Temperament Model, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
WJM Faculty Member Dr. Robert Patraw has 27 years experience assisting organizations and individuals to enhance their success by applying his skills and background to significant leadership and organizational challenges. He is renowned in the areas of executive coaching, assessment, leading change, mission/vision statements, business strategy development and evaluation, team building, communications effectiveness, and organizational design.