Thursday, 27 November 2008

What Type (MBTI) is Barrack Obama

I have been fascinated by debates on American websites to answer this question. I have not heard enough from him to be sure myself, but the thoughts of the respondents may provide some useful tips and insights for your own type-watching and predicting.

If you don't know much about MBTI and Type, read the brief explanations on my website.

What's Obama's Type?
A selection of responses:
Ø I'll start off by saying that I think he's a big NT. I've really appreciated his 'big picture' orientation and the logical approach he seems to bring to his decision-making.

Ø Recent email newsletters I have received from venture to guess he's an INFP. Their guess for John McCain was ESTP. Before seeing this newsletter my own guess for Obama was ENFP and my guess for McCain was ISTJ. For whatever its worth since we don't have much unguarded information: Obama has a clear preference for N.
As one who is an attorney, has consulted with the profession for some 25 years, and studied the (very clear) legal profession data, the odds are very strong that he prefers T. One really has to start with that assumption until proven wrong. [Editor of the Law Review at Harvard would tend to confirm NT, though could not rule out NF.] He shows very few signs of preferring E, though not enough data to be really sure...too much focus, unlike Clinton who obviously strongly prefers E). Have not read his books which almost surely would settle the issues---so have to be reserved about my thoughts without that fairly comprehensive source of information. [My wife who has been a practicing trial attorney for more than 30 years and an INTP (very close to the middle on T/F) says he is most likely INTP and perhaps close on J.] ENFP almost surely not. An INTP with good training in community organizing, political advocacy and trial work often appear on the surface to be INFP, but he appears too cool and analytical for an F preference, even compensating for the effect of a preference for I (which often confuses the surface appearance). Again, his books would probably settle the T/F question quite easily. Finally, we have seen people confuse an NT who is a strong advocate for particular values with an NF because of the way some of the MBTI literature misinterprets the nature and role of empathy, sympathy, etc. and subjective valuing (especially negative valuing).

Ø I don't think we can guess (unless his books reveal) his I/E preference. He has to extravert often, and excels at it, but he may prefer taking it all in. N seems fairly clear, T seems almost as clear. So NT Temp is likely. Guess is J although the other comments make P possible.
I would agree with all those that said his type included the NT. I think he's ENTP or INTP. He clearly prefers Introverted Thinking which would lead to the P at the end of the type code. He's very intentional and deliberate about what he says and at times you can see him thinking. I think the campaign would have been very difficult to maintain if he wasn't extroverted. He has a natural charisma and engagement with others. I think he's close in the I/E preference however.

Ø I think that Barack Obama is an ENFP. He gets his energy from people. He uses his intuition and focuses on future possibilities. He cares about how other people feel and listens to both sides when making a decision. The NF makes him an idealist/inspirer. Finally, he admitted that his desk is very disorganized. John McCain and George W. Bush are probably ESTP’s.

Ø I too would go for definite N, with probable T and a Perceiving preference also. With the strong N that would push me toward E giving his Dominant function as Extraverted Intuition. My own type is ENFP but with tough-minded and methodical clusters from T and J and I often get confused for an ENTP (by MBTI professionals). He doesn't need to be NF to be an idealist. He clearly has strong values from his upbringing and I think people misinterpret this as NF. So...ENTP

Ø I know of an INFP who entered Law because of wanting to work in ethics and human rights... far from typical of the profession, but he felt it was worth the 'pain' for what he wanted to achieve. Obama comes across as strongly idealistic to me, with a well developed T as well. Americans often seem Extravert to the British as they are taught from childhood to express themselves, but Obama comes across to me as very self-contained and self-controlled as one would expect from an I. Something drives every politician... Obama “seems” more driven by his ideals or a vision for humanity than by a desire for power or need to be right, and also seems very natural at working with other people in a consensus manner. So I'm opting for INFP (or maybe INFJ) with a well-developed use of T as the 3rd or 4th function.

Hmmm - I am leaning towards agreeing with the last prediction, INFP. What do you think?

Steve (ENFP)

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