The Psychodynamic Approach

Posted by on 06/20/11  ~  Posted in: In real life, Leadership

Psychodynamic Approach

This reaction paper discusses the psychodynamic approach to leadership styles and how it applies to my effectiveness as a leader. In this discussion of the psychodynamic approach, I will juxtapose my personal leadership style based on my personality type with the situation to give an accurate picture of how personality style dictates my behavior. Personality refers to the consistent pattern of thinking, feeling, and the way of acting (McCrae & Costa (1990). Since we will deal with personalities, it can be assumed that no two situations will elicit identical responses from the leader because they are situational and emotionally different. My leadership style will be assessed using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and how my temperament type is expressed in the workplace.

Peeling My Onion

An underlying assumption in the psychodynamic approach is that the personality characteristics of individuals, being deeply ingrained, are very difficult to change in any significant way (Northouse, 2010). The normal path to the study of leaders and their effectiveness as it relates to traits, style, and personalities is to study the people who are in positions of leadership and how and what they did right. The psycho dynamic approach starts with an analysis of the human personality and then relates the personality types to the leadership levels and types (Northouse, 2010). My personality type was assessed using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the result showed me as an ENTP. A detailed description of my type and its application to the work environment follows. For further explanation of the elements of the MBTI refer to the Myers & Briggs Foundation.

Uncovering What Makes Me Tick

McCrae & Costa (2000) stated that "personality traits, like temperaments, are endogenous dispositions that follow intrinsic paths of development essentially independent of environmental influences." The eight elements of the MBTI catalog my world into four distinct areas: 1) how I interact with the world (Extraversion or Introversion (I or N)). 2) How I process information (Sensing or iNtuition (S or N)). 3) How I make decisions (Thinking or Feeling (T or F)). 4) The need for structure and closure (Judging or Perceiving (J or P)). Since my MBTI indicated that I am an ENTP it means that I am an Extravert Intuitive Thinker Perceiver. Put bluntly, I am very creative, stimulating, alert and outspoken. I am resourceful in solving problems and can conceptualize possibilities easily.? I love to perform deep strategic thinking and am skilled at reading others. My biggest problem is being bored by routine performance and so I am not well suited for mundane desk jobs which require particularly high attention to detail.? I also do not like to close projects and will tend to procrastinate. I also find myself taking on new challenges before completing old one.

My type and the job

In my position as Finance Manager for a government research agency, I am normally tasked to perform the same tasks on a daily basis and I find the routine extremely boring. I do have a very task driven director and subordinates. This allows me to focus on the creative solutions and strategic vision while others focus on the details. As an extrovert, I am able to engage others in dialogue and craft solutions to problems that would otherwise be elusive. One thing that I am sure of is that my understanding of my personality type has helped me to approach my job and to assign tasks in ways that ensure achievement of the objectives.? I delegate mundane tasks and focus on the difficult and unique requirements because I know I get bored easily and will task-hop. The psychodynamic approach enables me to understand myself and others and to put situations in perspective before embarking on a solution.


Understanding my personality type and the traits which guide my interaction with the world is the first step in finding the keys to my success. I know I am likeable, approachable, creative, and dedicated.? Those are not enough to achieve success in the modern business world where things must get done.? I am able to leverage others where deadlines must be met and to lend my talents where discussion and creative solutions are needed.? I think I have found a balance in the workplace and am able to contribute significantly to mission accomplishment. In this paper I gave an account of my personality type and how my work environment is affected based on my knowledge of the psychodynamic approach.? I showed how knowing one?s type can be beneficial in the workplace and our interaction with others.


McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1990). Personality in adulthood. New York: Guilford.
Northouse, P. G., (2010). Leadership: Theory and practice (5th> ed.). Los Angelis: SAGE