Different Kinds of Leaders

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both leaders.  They lead differently.  Whether you like them or not, whether you agree or disagree with them, it’s undeniable that both have tremendous influence.  People follow them.  What counts from our perspective is not whether they are good, bad, lovely, or ugly as leaders.  What we are interested in is the kind of effect that their leadership has.  In this post, we’d like to introduce you to the Keirsey 160.

The Keirsey 160 is a research study that we’ve been conducting for approximately 30 years.  We took a set of more than five thousand leaders—(from different industries, eras, life stages, races, genders, political affiliations, and religious backgrounds)—and studied them through the framework of temperament. We narrowed down the list to 160 different leaders representing the 16 personality types. We carefully selected 10 high-performance leaders for each personality type (5 male leaders and 5 female leaders), and we did a deep level analysis on each of them.  We call them the Keirsey 160.

In conducting our research, we analyzed these high-performance leaders by: (i) reading everything we could about them (biographies, autobiographies, essays, articles, and websites); (ii) watching everything pertaining to them (documentaries, interviews, lectures, news-media, and presentations); and (iii) talking to them directly and obtaining first-hand information (informal and formal interviews with these leaders and with affiliated persons, archived information from internal sources, and visitations to the institutions/memorials built for/by these leaders).

Our research in temperament and personality type spans more than seven decades, and for each of these 160 leaders, they have been the subject of analysis for a period of 10 to 30 years. Our findings have turned into the creation of methodologies for leadership development which have been utilized by thousands of leaders worldwide.  In the Fall, we’ll be releasing the Keirsey Leadership Report to the general public.  (We’ll provide you with more on that through the Keirsey Magazine and via our new website when it is launched in the Fall of 2016).  For today, let’s take a look at the 10 Rational Masterminds (INTJ), and the 10 Artisan Promoters (ESTP) of the Keirsey 160.


Donald Trump shares the same temperament and personality type as the following leaders:


The Artisan Promoters (ESTP)

“If you’re going to be thinking, you may as well think big.”

– Donald Trump (born 1946)


“If at first you don’t succeed, you’re obviously not me.”

– Madonna Louise Ciccone (born 1955)


“People respond well to people who are sure of what they want.”

– Anna Wintour (born 1949)



“I like entrepreneurial people; I like people who take big risks.”

– Billie Jean King (born 1943)


“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

– Muhammad Ali (1942 – 2016)


“If Playboy ever loses its editorial balls, then it will deserve to be knocked over by a younger, more vigorous magazine in the coming generation.  But that won’t happen as long as I’m alive, I can promise you that.”

– Hugh Hefner (born 1926)


“You name it, we’re out there with the latest and the best cutting edge.”

– Helen Gurley Brown (born 1922)


“You must want!  You have the right to ask!  You must desire.”

– Eva Peron (1919 – 1952)


“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”

– George S. Patton (1885 – 1945)


“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

– Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)


Hillary Clinton shares the same temperament and personality type as the following leaders:


The Rational Masterminds (INTJ)

“Fail to plan, plan to fail.”

– Hillary Clinton (born 1947)


“I would like to be judged on the validity of my arguments, not as a victim.”

– Ayaan Hirsi Ali (born 1969)


“I believe that if you show people the problems and you show them the solutions they will be moved to act.”

– Bill Gates (born 1955)



“In the broad sweep of history, it is ideas that matter.  Indeed, the world is ruled by little else…  Emperors and armies come and go; but unless they leave new ideas in their wake, they are of passing historic consequence.”

– Alan Greenspan (born 1926)


“There is nothing to prevent you from pushing your propaganda, to push your programme out to the students or with the public at large…  and if you can carry the ground, if you are right, you win.  That’s democracy.”

– Lee Kwan Yew (1923 – 2015)


“Executives owe it to the organization and to their fellow workers not to tolerate nonperforming individuals in important jobs.”

– Peter Drucker (1909 – 2005)


“Man cannot survive except through his mind.  He comes on earth unarmed.  His brain is his only weapon…  everything we are and we have comes from a single attribute of man—the function of his reasoning mind.”

-Ayn Rand (1905 – 1982)


“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

– Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 – 1969)



Copyright:  IAEA Imagebank

“Science makes people reach selflessly for truth and objectivity; it teaches people to accept reality, with wonder and admiration, not to mention the deep awe and joy that the natural order of things brings to the true scientist.”

– Lise Meitner (1878 – 1969)


“Independence is happiness.”

– Susan B. Anthony (1820 – 1906)


In our observations, we would argue that temperament and personality type trumps gender, religion, culture, politics, and generation.  Meaning that if you are the same temperament and personality type as someone who may be different on the above areas, you will be far more similar to them at your core than if you were a different type but shared commonalities in the above areas.

Having said that, we would not say that all Artisan Promoters ESTP are identical, and not all Rational Masterminds INTJ are identical.  When we speak of temperament and personality type, we mean the core nature of a person (i.e. what drives a person, how they communicate, how they approach problems and issues, the way they engage others, the way they think, the way they process information, their greatest strengths and weaknesses, and their overall perspective.)  Depending on all that’s developed in one’s life on top of the core, there may be some significant differences.

So, what kind of leader will Hillary and Donald be?  How are they different?  It’s obvious that if you look at the 10 Artisan Promoters ESTP, you find a leader who is audacious, takes charge, is risk-taking, tough, badass, unconventional, opportunistic, and dominant.  In the case of the 10 Rational Masterminds INTJ, you have a leader who is thoughtful, measured, analytical, competitive, intellectual, sophisticated, independent, and objective.  Which leadership is more effective?  What does our country need?  It’s our vote that will determine the kind of leader we have as the President of the United States.

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  1. Thank you for the comparisons and explanations. The choice is one who is willing to take risks–sometimes bold ones–or someone who is calculating and determined. And who do you trust?


    1. Excellent point. Who/which can be “trusted” to act in the best interest of the country, not themselves?


  2. How are you defining leadership? You seem to be using it in a more general way, such as “anyone who influences a large group of people.” I point this out, because with the more traditional, standard definition, calling Madonna and Muhammad Ali “leaders” would be a little off the mark, because, well… who exactly have they led?


    1. Leadership is a complex subject matter, and in the Keirsey Leadership Report, we address these complexities. But, as a simple operating definition, we do like what John Maxwell once said, “Leadership is influence, nothing more and nothing less.” We measure someone’s influence by whether there are followers and whether there is impact. Madonna is a leader because she has had enormous influence over the entertainment industry. She was a pioneer for many female performing artists, she made a significant impact on the way an entire generation views sex, religion, and politics. Even on a more direct level, she has lead an enterprise of event managers, producers, dancers, singers, marketers, artists, and media professionals. Muhammad Ali made an impact on a generation of athletes, and with minorities in so many industries. He was a model of what blood, sweat, and tears could do. He has had a very significant following, inspiring so many people, and leaders to tackle what others may seem as impossible.

      This is an excerpt from the Keirsey Leadership Report, which explains how we see leadership, especially in contrast to the more traditional views on the subject:

      “If you look at what most leadership experts say, you will find that most leadership books focus on the “essential qualities” that all leaders must have. And many authors will go so far as to even prescribe the same steps that all must take to develop these essential qualities. The research methodology undertaken by many of these authors was to interview/study many leaders, and then come up with an exhaustive list of the admirable qualities that they all have in common, and call those characteristics “leadership essentials.”

      While we do believe that this methodology reveals useful information, we believe that in many cases, the findings can be misleading when it comes to application for leadership selection or development. It perpetuates a concept we like to call the “Superman Myth.” Are there leaders who exhibit the “essential qualities” largely written about in leadership literature? Of course there are. But, we posit that this can be a very narrow view of leaders and leadership. We believe that most of what has been written about regarding leadership describes a very specific type of leader.

      In contrast, our belief is that there are other types of leaders who exhibit different qualities, many of which would not make the “essential qualities” list. The conclusion that many arrive at from reading leadership literature is that you can be a leader too, if you have these qualities or can develop them. And unfortunately, too many individuals walk away after reading these kinds of ideas, feeling as though they are not that way, or never can be. And truth be told, in most cases the conclusions that readers walk away with are probably correct.

      We posit that there are fundamentally different kinds of leaders. There are fundamentally different ways of leadership. This makes the “Superman” advice from leadership experts not particularly helpful. There are many kinds of behavior that are useful in leadership; however, the individual’s context matters, and not all principles of leadership are appropriate for each kind of leader. If you want to understand leadership development, then you must study leaders. Study their life journey to figure out what they did to develop, grow and mature. What activities did they engage in? What challenges did they overcome? What drove them? What factors lead to their effectiveness? What kind of impact did they make?

      We believe that if you really want to understand leadership, that you ought to read less books on “leadership,” and more books on “leaders.” Instead of trying to understand leadership theories, concepts, models, laws, ideas, or essentials, seek to understand the life journeys that leaders have taken.

      If you want to understand leadership, then you must study leaders by watching them very closely. The Keirsey Leadership Report is largely about our observations of what each leader does/did, and what it took for them to become leaders. Our choice of the leaders we selected to study had very little to do with whether the leader was considered to be moral, or likeable, or socially/politically correct. We chose these leaders regardless of their context in which they operated as leaders. Our main criterion was that whatever the context may have been, they displayed the ability to deliver results.”


      1. Antoinette Alaimo August 24, 2016 at 6:39 pm

        What about the pendulum swinging? Is Trump and extreme for his personality type?

      2. We’ve often said that Trump is a “poster child” of the Artisan Promoter ESTP. Although, it would not be inaccurate to say that Trump is somewhat of an extreme for his personality type. In general, Artisan Promoters are as we described in this blog post. However, his behaviors are probably more accentuated because the context calls for it (the context being political campaigns), and the media seems to certainly take out to a whole new level also.

      3. Love this and anxious to read more. The Superman theory of leadership has always bothered me, and instead, I have tried to maintain my focus on the qualities of the individual and how their own personality type was a good fit for the situation, circumstances and people they’ve led. The current emphasis on the empathetic, emotionally intelligent, ‘facilitator’ type of leader is another example of a particular style of leadership – a very useful style that fits a certain kind of culture, but certainly not the best in all contexts. We should accept different leadership styles for different purposes, learn how to develop those natural talents in people, and benefit from them when they are the most applicable.

  3. Anonymous ther August 3, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    This is interesting. I know we are all focused on the Presidential Election, as it seems the most unusual and lively in years, however, I would also be interested in comparisons of other leaders in the various arenas of business, the arts and literature, science, the media, religion, education.,healthcare and medicine, etc.That is all the various areas that affect our lives. I think,it would be helpful and instructive for anyone, but, particularly those of any age who are trying to,find their way in life.


  4. Amen to that ! It is also very good to see that just because you have the same Temperament Type as someone else does not mean that you and they are carbon copies, although very similar in many ways. For me it’s all about the styles, people with the same temperament (1 of the 16) will have very similar styles of doing things.

    ps Temperament has a huge affect on relationships and parenting styles as well.


  5. This is great! I can’t wait to read the others and see the new website!


  6. Georgiana Ivan August 5, 2016 at 5:58 am

    It’s not just a matter of personality, one is someone prepared for this kind of job while the other is borderline narcissistic and completely irresponsible. Bill Clinton was also an Artisan Promoter, and yet he was not telling blatant lies and proffering insults..How can a person like that be a leader of any kind?


    1. Bill Clinton was an Artisan like Trump, (but actually an Artisan Performer ESFP). Many would argue that for much of his presidency he blatantly lied, spun the truth, covered up, and in some cases turned around something to make it seem like it was another party at fault. Though he is seen with highly favorable ratings by many, he’s still infamous for his sexual scandals, (especially for lying about the most famous scandal of our generation, with Monica Lewinsky.) At the time, he and Hillary accused Republicans, calling this scandal and all of his other scandals as, “right ring, Republican conspiracies,” aimed to attack him. Many would argue that his narcissism was at the root of his womanizing. He has been stung by the media when he’s made insults, especially when he made several insulting statements, when Obama ran for the presidency in 2008. Clinton made remarks about Obama’s record, stating, “Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.” He was also stung by the media as being racially insensitive, when he made remarks specifically comparing Obama’s campaign to Jesse Jackson’s campaigns in 1984 and 1988. He also accused and insulted the media throughout the campaign complaining that they favored Obama, and that he and his wife were being treated unfairly. Since that time, it appears that he’s been pushed further to the sidelines for the 2016 campaign, to be a great husband to Hillary, providing support by standing side-by-side at rallies.


      1. Thank you for pointing out some historical facts that some people are still unable to see due to their political ideology, which seems to overwhelm the majority of supposedly reasonable people these days. While I tend to lean to the right politically, I certainly am able to read all of the negatives about The Donald and acknowledge them as they are factual; it seems those who lean to the left are typically unable to do this as indicated by the above comment. This lends itself to the notion that, in general, those to the right tend to rely on facts and logic, those to the left tend to rely on emotions. I look forward to more information about “types” from you folks!

  7. This is beautiful! The ESTP is needed to deal with ISIS and radicalism.


    1. Nothing about temperament indicates the “correct” response to a situation. The ESTP will have one process for assessing and reacting to a challenge; the INTJ will take a different approach. There will inevitably be actions that works out favorably and unfavorably with either route, but wars are rarely won or lost on the actions of a single individual.


  8. Thank you Keirsey, this is so interesting. Can’t wait until the full report in the Fall!


  9. I still think that you have mistyped Hillary as a Rational. Her rages against staffers, secret service officers, and others that she believes have betrayed her are legendary. Aren’t Rationals when having problematic interactions with others supposed to become distant and detached? It is true that Eisenhower and MacArthur both had a temper and would chew inefficient subordinates. However, from what I’ve read they would generally get over it quickly.


    1. RE: Her rages against staffers, secret service officers, and others that she believes have betrayed her are legendary.

      Hillary Clinton’s rages have been made “legendary” by her critics, which are many. In the media, prior to the 2016 DNC Convention, the question was posed by many, “Who is Hillary Clinton?” And if you watched the DNC Convention, there was no indication (not even a hint) of a person with rage. In fact, she was portrayed as a leader who is compassionate, loving, hard-working, loyal, strategic, and delivers results. In the RNC Convention which occurred the week prior, she was portrayed as a dishonest, corrupt, greedy, and selfish person who deserved to be locked up. So, who is Hillary Clinton? We have listened to all of the characterizations, and take what we hear with a grain of salt. What we can state for sure is that she is very utilitarian, she is abstract, she is intellectual, has willpower, she is very autonomous, and she is a long-term strategist. She is also fiercely private (according to almost all of her biographers).

      RE: I still think that you have mistyped Hillary as a Rational… Aren’t Rationals when having problematic interactions with others supposed to become distant and detached?

      This may be true of Rational Architects (INTP) or Rational Inventors (ENTP), who we refer to as the Accommodating Rationals and the Collaborating Rationals. However, in the case of Rational Fieldmarshals (ENTJ) or Rational Masterminds (INTJ), we refer to them as the Preempting Rationals and the Contending Rationals. Although all Rationals can be cool, calm, and collected, the Preempting and Contending ones can be very aggressive. Rational Masterminds don’t necessarily get distant and detached. They confront. They try to eliminate problems. So as long as there is a problematic interaction, it would be natural for a Rational Mastermind to do whatever they can to make the issue no longer relevant. If distancing and detaching does the trick, then they have made the issue impotent, and this may sometimes be the path they take. Other ways of making the issue not relevant for the Rational Mastermind is to confront with anger, intensity, humiliation, or removal, so that the other party loses any power to be a factor.

      RE: It is true that Eisenhower and MacArthur both had a temper and would chew inefficient subordinates. However, from what I’ve read they would generally get over it quickly.

      Not all Rationals are the same. Moreover, we would caution against taking one situation that occurred for someone who is a certain type and generalizing it as a rule for all people of that same type.


  10. Does Keirsey have a preference? A picture is worth a thousand words.
    In the banner page, the photo of Trump is top left, close up, well lit, smiling and full of life. Looking for Hillary in the same space for her type, I find Rudy Giuliani, also close up and smiling. Where is Hillary? Had to really look. Second row on the right. Dim lighting, from further away, solemn and staring off camera. Who would you connect with?
    Noticed the same thing many years ago in the Bush/Clinton race in a Time magazine article. There were two small photos. One was an extreme closeup of Bill with two friends laughing and full of life, and right below a long distance shot of Bush, alone, walking away from the camera, surrounded by a vast expanse of empty lawn. In words, they both received about the same amount of reasoned coverage, but in my mind those pictures told a different story.
    Just an observation.


    1. Hi Chris, thanks for your comment.

      RE: Does Keirsey have a preference?

      Keirsey does not have a preference. We are not endorsing any particular candidate. Perhaps your comment is more revealing of how attentive you are than it is of anything else :)… The banner of photos is ordered by temperament and personality type. The columns are in alphabetical order (A, G, I, R) for the temperament names (Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, Rational). And the rows are a systematic arrangement in the Keirsey model. All those in the top row naturally take on “Preempting” roles (they “must lead”) in a social arena (irrespective of whether they are Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, or Rational); those in the second row naturally take on a “Contending” role (they “must win”) in a social arena (irrespective of whether they are Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, or Rational); those in the third row naturally take on a “Collaborating” role (they “must involve”) in a social arena (irrespective of whether they are Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, or Rational); those in the 4th row naturally take on an “Accommodating” role (they “must respond”) in a social arena (irrespective of whether they are Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, or Rational).

      So, in the top left, you have Donald Trump and Anna Wintour who are both Artisan Promoters (ESTP). Artisan Promoters are your “Preempting” (they “must lead”) kind of Artisans. Hillary Clinton is next to Bill Gates in the fourth set of columns, on the second row because we assess her to be a Rational Mastermind (INTJ). Rational Masterminds are your “Contending” (they “must win”) kind of Rationals. Rudy Giuliani is not on this picture. The person you have mistaken for Rudy Giuliani is Jack Welch, a Rational Fieldmarshal (ENTJ), the legendary Chairman and CEO of General Electric from 1981 – 2001. He is next to Margaret Thatcher also a Rational Fieldmarshal, and both are “Preempting” Rationals (they “must lead”). The pictures we chose are simply the best we could find for each of the leaders. I hope this clarifies things for you. We have leaders representing all of the various political perspectives represented here in this photo.

      RE: Noticed the same thing many years ago in the Bush/Clinton race in a Time magazine article.

      We have no affiliation to Time magazine, so we won’t comment on this observation you made.


      1. Thanks for the explanation. Adds a new perspective to each type. Apologies to Jack Welch.

  11. To expand on Larry’s point above…. Aren’t we only talking about one side of personality here–temperament? Are we even talking about character? And, even though temperament and character “hang together,” don’t we find serious differences between people of the same temperament type? For example, Ayn Rand, a libertarian laissez faire capitalist, and Hillary Clinton, an authoritarian collectivist, are both INTJ-Rational-Masterminds, but with very different worldviews. Yet, in their behaviors, we see the similar patterns of their predispositions in spite of their very different belief systems. If I understand your purpose here, your study isn’t about which temperament types make better leaders or even what our preference might be, so much as understanding how patterns of temperament help us understand patterns of leadership or the disposition of leadership style.


    1. Yes, you are correct when you state, “If I understand your purpose here, your study isn’t about which temperament types make better leaders or even what our preference might be, so much as understanding how patterns of temperament help us understand patterns of leadership or the disposition of leadership style.” What a great comparison between Hillary Clinton and Ayn Rand. We especially like the way the way you articulated it when you stated, “… we see the similar patterns of their predispositions in spite of their very different belief systems.” Thanks again! Thanks for your post!


  12. Wolfgang Struntz August 5, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    Thanks for this very enlightening and fascinating blog. As an INFP I’ve been very disappointed at how easily the media spin-“masters” seem to manipulate the public to not viewing candidates objectively but rather through their lenses of their own “type”. Curious if there is a generic “type” for media wordsmiths and commentators and how they might influence even the candidates themselves? Wolfgang


  13. I appreciate the Keirsey observations, the challenges and comments from readers and the Keirsey replies. I am trying to learn more about the temperaments and theses exchanges help me.


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