How to lead projects utilizing psychological theories



To manage a project properly, you have to find a way to communicate with the project stakeholders. Managing and directing the stakeholders may affect the project positively or negatively. To be a successful project manager, you must be able to influence stakeholders and encourage them to make decisions that benefit the project.

Psychology is the science that deals with how people think and behave. In order to analyze people's decisions, we have to go through three main steps. First, we must identify the personality types of the main project stakeholders (the client, the project team, the consultant, the contractor, etc.). Next, we must analyze each person's actions and reactions. For this step, we use one of the most famous models for analyzing human thinking, the MENTI Model, which uses five main aspects for analyzing: mind, energy, nature, tactics, and identity. The third step is to develop a pre-plan for dealing with every personality type by categorizing them into four main groups. Then we can isolate the needs of each personality in accordance with his influence on the project.


Every project will have stakeholders who are impacted by or can impact the project in a positive or negative way. While some stakeholders may have limited ability to influence the project, others may have significant influence on the project and its expected outcomes. The ability of the project manager to correctly identify and manage these stakeholders in an appropriate manner can mean the difference between success and failure.

Stakeholder Management

As stated in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) – Fifth Edition, project stakeholder management includes the process required to identify the people, group, or organization that could impact the project, and to develop appropriate management strategies for effectively engaging stakeholders in project decisions and execution.

Developing strategies to engage stakeholders in the project to maximize the benefits and positively affect the project is considered a part of stakeholder management.

In order to develop the strategy, we need to go through three main steps:

  1. 1. Identify personality type
  2. 2. Analyze personality action
  3. 3. Develop a pre-plan for dealing with every type

The model we use for analyzing personality types is called the MENTI Model. MENTI stands for mind, energy, nature, tactics, and identity. Each of these five aspects is broken up into two types.



This aspect shows how we interact with other people:

  • - Introverted individuals prefer solitary activities, think before speaking, and get exhausted by social interaction. This can be described by (I).
  • - Extroverted individuals prefer group activities, think while speaking, and get energized by social interaction. This can be described by (E).


The second aspect determines how we see the world and process information:

  • - Intuitive individuals are imaginative, rely on their intuition, are absorbed in ideas, and focus on what might happen. This can be described by (N).
  • - Observant individuals are down-to-earth, rely on their senses, are absorbed in practical matters, and focus on what has happened. This can be described by (S).


This aspect determines how we make decisions and cope with emotions:

  • - Thinking individuals are tough, follow their minds, and focus on objectivity and rationality. This can be described by (T).
  • - Feeling individuals are sensitive, follow their hearts, and focus on harmony and cooperation. This can be described by (F).


This aspect reflects our approach to work, planning, and decision-making:

  • - Judging individuals are decisive, prefer clear rules and guidelines, see deadlines as sacred, and seek closure. This can be described by (J).
  • - Prospecting individuals are very good at improvising, prefer keeping their options open, are relaxed about their work, and seek freedom. This can be described by (P).


Finally, the identity aspect underpins all others, showing how confident we are in our abilities and decisions:

  • - Assertive individuals are emotionally stable, calm, relaxed, and refuse to worry too much.
  • - Turbulent individuals are self-conscious, care about their image, and are success-driven perfectionists.

When combined, these personality aspects define the personality type. Each of these aspects should be seen as a two-sided continuum, with the “neutral” option placed in the middle.


After defining each type, we need to know how they can fit together.

Our system has two layers: The first (inner) one defines the roles, and the second (outer) one defines the strategies.

Types of personalities

Exhibit 1: Types of personalities

First Group (INTJ - ENTJ - INTP - ENTP): Analysts or Rationalists


This type of project manager, sometimes called the mastermind, is one of the rarest and most strategically capable personality types. INTJs form just 2% of the population, and therefore it is often a challenge for them to find like-minded individuals who are able to keep up with their relentless intellectualism and chess-like maneuvering. They are not leaders; they prefer to stay in the background away from the interface. However, INTJs are analytical people and are able to read others. The mastermind is skilled in strategic planning and capable of adapting to circumstances. He also has the ability to turn theories into reality. These projects managers are imaginative yet decisive, ambitious yet private, and amazingly curious.

These project managers are born with a natural thirst for knowledge that shows itself early in life and are often given the title of “bookworm” as children. While their peers may intend this as an insult, INTJs more than likely identify with it and are even proud of it, greatly enjoying their broad and deep body of knowledge. INTJs enjoy sharing what they know as well. They are confident in their mastery of their chosen subjects, but owing to their intuitive (N) and judging (J) traits, they prefer to design and execute a brilliant plan within their field rather than share opinions on “uninteresting” distractions like gossip.


The INTP project manager personality type is fairly rare, making up only three percent of the population, which is definitely a good thing for them, as there's nothing they'd be more unhappy about than being “common.” Usually known as the philosopher, the architect, or the dreamy professor, the INTP is rational, independent, and conservative, and loves to focus on ideas, theories, and how things work. INTPs have been responsible for many scientific discoveries throughout history. INTP project managers pride themselves on their inventiveness, creativity, unique perspective, and vigorous intellect.

INTP project managers are usualy known for their brilliant theories and unrelenting logic; in fact, they are considered the most logically precise of all the personality types. They are highly skilled in debate and controversy, and though they possess the ability to focus on the work of one, they also respect the intelligence of others. They love patterns, and spotting discrepancies between statements could almost be described as a hobby, making it a bad idea to lie to this type of stakeholder. Ironically, owing to their prospecting (P) trait, an INTP's word should be taken with a grain of salt. It's not that they are dishonest; INTPs tend to share thoughts that are not fully developed, using others as a sounding board for ideas and theories in a debate against themselves rather than as actual conversation partners.

This may make them appear unreliable, but in reality no one is more enthusiastic and capable of spotting a problem, drilling through the endless factors and details that encompass the issue, and developing a unique and viable solution than INTPs. Just don't expect punctual progress reports. People who share the INTP personality type aren't interested in practical, day-to-day activities and maintenance, but when they find an environment where their creative genius and potential can be expressed, there is no limit to the time and energy INTPs will expend in developing an insightful and unbiased solution.


Much like their diplomat (NF) counterparts, ENTJ project managers are natural-born leaders; their nickname is commader-in-chief. ENTJs and ENFJs share the gifts of charisma, confidence, and project authority, traits that draw crowds together behind a common goal. But unlike their feeling (F) counterparts, ENTJs are characterized by an often ruthless level of rationality, using their drive, determination, and sharp mind to achieve whatever end they've set for themselves. Their organization and management skills make them well-equipped to work in the field of coordination and guidance. Perhaps it is best that they make up only three percent of the population, lest they overwhelm the more timid and sensitive personality types that make up much of the rest of the world, but we have ENTJs to thank for many of the businesses and institutions we take for granted every day.

The Chief of Staff has a high capacity to absorb systems and structures and thus is able to find quick solutions to any problem facing the system. If there's anything ENTJ project managers love, it's a good challenge, big or small, and they firmly believe that given enough time and resources, they can achieve any goal. This quality makes ENTJs brilliant entrepreneurs, and their ability to think strategically and hold a long-term focus while executing each step of their plans with determination and precision makes ENTJ personalities powerful business leaders. This determination is often a self-fulfilling prophecy, as they push their goals through with sheer willpower where others might give up and move on, and their extroverted (E) nature means they are likely to push everyone else right along with them, achieving spectacular results in the process.


The ENTP personality type, also called the inventor, is the ultimate devil's advocate. He is logical, thriving on the process of shredding arguments and beliefs and letting the ribbons drift in the wind for all to see. The inventor constantly seeks opportunities to develop things, and possesses the ability to understand and absorb the hardest concepts. Unlike their more determined judging (J) counterparts, ENTPs don't do this because they are trying to achieve some deeper purpose or strategic goal, but for the simple reason that it's fun. No one loves the process of mental sparring more than ENTPs, as it gives them a chance to exercise their effortlessly quick wit, broad accumulated knowledge base, and capacity for connecting disparate ideas to prove their points.

An odd juxtaposition arises with ENTP stakeholders, as they are uncompromisingly honest but will argue tirelessly for something they don't actually believe in, stepping into another's shoes to argue a truth from another perspective. ENTPs are open, intuitive, rational, and liberal. ENTPs will gleefully argue against someone they actually agree with, helping them to develop not only a better sense of their debate partner's reasoning (and therefore their own) but also a better understanding of the opposing idea. This tactic shouldn't be confused with the sort of mutual understanding diplomats (NF) seek. Like all analyst (NT) personality types, ENTPs are on a constant quest for knowledge, and what better way to gain it than to attack and defend an idea, from every angle, on both sides? ENTPs have an excellent ability to understand the theory and its application in practice to solve problems.

Second Group (ENFP - ENFJ - INFP - INFJ): Diplomats or Idealists


Known as the hero, the ENFP project manager is a true free spirit. He is often the life of the party—inspiring, social, and very brilliant. The hero fires his ideas into the world as a way to attract attention to what he believes is important, usually topics that have to do with morality or current events. But unlike explorers, ENFPs are less interested in the sheer excitement and pleasure of the moment than they are in enjoying the social and emotional connections they make with others. Charming, independent, energetic, and compassionate, ENFPs comprise 7% of the population.

More than just sociable people-pleasers, though, ENFPs, like all their diplomat (NF) cousins, are shaped by their intuitive (N) quality, allowing them to read between the lines with curiosity and energy. They tend to see life as a big, complex puzzle where everything is connected. But unlike analysts, who tend to see that puzzle as a series of systemic machinations, ENFPs see it through a prism of emotion, compassion, and mysticism, and are always looking for a deeper meaning. This personality type is fiercely independent, and much more than stability and security, they crave creativity and freedom.

Many other types of project managers are likely to find these qualities irresistible, and if the ENFP has found a cause that sparks his imagination, he will bring an energy that often thrusts him into the spotlight, held up by his peers as a leader and a guru—but this isn't always where the independence-loving ENFP wants to be. The situation will worsen if he finds himself beset by administrative tasks and routine maintenance in his new position. The hero can be described as a person who is creative, spontaneous, charismatic, and emotional. ENFPs' self-esteem is dependent on their ability to come up with original solutions, and they need to know that they have the freedom to be innovative, as they can quickly lose patience or become dejected if they get trapped in a boring role.


The ENFJ project manager is called the teacher. ENFJs are natural-born leaders, passionate, charismatic, sensitive, and with impeccable social skills. Forming around 2% of the population, they are often our politicians, our coaches, and our teachers, reaching out and inspiring others to achieve and to do good in the world. With a natural confidence that begets influence, a teacher is liked by everyone. ENFJs take a great deal of pride and joy in guiding others to work together to improve themselves and their community.

People are drawn to strong personalities, and ENFJs radiate authenticity, concern, and altruism, unafraid to stand up and speak when they feel something needs to be said. They find it natural and easy to communicate with others, especially in person, and their intuitive (N) trait helps ENFJs to reach every mind, be it through facts and logic or raw emotion. ENFJs easily see people's motivations and can find the link between seemingly disconnected events. They are able to bring these ideas together and communicate them as a common goal with an eloquence that is nothing short of mesmerizing.

The interest ENFJs have in others is genuine, almost to a fault: When they believe in someone, they can become too involved in the other person's problems, and place too much trust in that person. Luckily, this trust tends to be a self-fulfilling prophesy, as ENFJs' altruism and authenticity inspire those they care about to become better themselves. But if they aren't careful, they can overextend their optimism, sometimes pushing others further than they're ready or willing to go.


The INFP project manager is also called the processor. INFPs are true idealists, always looking for a hint of good in even the worst of people and events, searching for ways to make things better. While they may be perceived as calm, reserved, or even shy, INFPs have an inner flame and passion that can truly shine. Comprising just 4.5% of the population, INFPs are at risk for feeling misunderstood, but when they find like-minded people to spend their time with, they'll truly feel at home.

INFPs are creative and idealistic, always looking for a path of meaning to follow through life. Being a part of the diplomat (NF) personality group, INFPs are guided by their principles and always looking for peace and comfort for all. They are also sympathetic and merciful, and are motivated by dreams of helping all people rather than by logic (analysts), excitement (explorers), or tradition (sentinels). When deciding how to move forward, they will look to honor, beauty, morality, and virtue; they are led by the purity of their intent. INFPs are proud of this quality, and rightly so, but not everyone understands the drive behind these feelings, and it can lead to isolation.

If INFPs are not careful they can lose themselves in their quest for good and neglect the day-to-day upkeep that life demands. INFPs often drift into deep thought, enjoying contemplating the hypothetical and the philosophical more than any other personality type. If these tendencies are left unchecked, the INFP may start to lose touch, ending up in “hermit mode,” and it can take a great deal of energy from his friends or partner to bring him back to the real world. He can be described as too lenient, selfish, capable of adaptation, patient, and sincere.


The INFJ project manager personality type is known as the adviser. This type is very rare, making up less than 1% of the population, but they nonetheless leave their mark on the world. As diplomats (NF), they have an inborn sense of idealism and morality, but what sets them apart is the accompanying judging (J) trait. INFJs are sensitive and unique, but they are not idle dreamers. Instead, they are capable of taking concrete steps to realize their goals and make a lasting, positive impact. They tend to see helping others as their purpose in life, but while INFJs can be found engaging in rescue efforts and doing charity work, their real passion is to get to the heart of the issue so that people need not be rescued at all.

INFJs indeed share a very unique combination of traits: Though soft-spoken, they have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in. They are decisive and strong-willed but will rarely use that energy for personal gain. INFJs will act with creativity, imagination, conviction, and sensitivity not to create advantage but to create balance. Egalitarianism and karma are very attractive ideas to INFJs, and they tend to believe that nothing would help the world so much as using love and compassion to soften the hearts of tyrants. This type of stakeholder is considered a good listener and analyst.

INFJs find it easy to make connections with others, and have a talent for warm, sensitive language, speaking in human terms, rather than with pure logic and fact. It makes sense that their friends and colleagues will come to think of them as quiet, extroverted types, but they would all do well to remember that INFJs need time alone to decompress and recharge, and to not become too alarmed when they suddenly withdraw. INFJs take great care of others' feelings, and they expect the favor to be returned; sometimes that means giving them the space they need for a few days.

Third Group (ISTJ - ISFJ - ESTJ - ESFJ): Sentinels or Guardians


The ISTJ project manager personality type is thought to be the most abundant, making up around 13% of the population. Their defining characteristics of integrity, practical logic, and tireless dedication to duty make ISTJs a vital core to many families, as well as organizations that uphold traditions, rules, and standards, such as law offices, regulatory bodies, and even the military. ISTJs enjoy taking responsibility for their actions, and take pride in the work they do. When working towards a goal, ISTJs will hold back none of their time and energy, completing each relevant task with accuracy and patience.

Owing to their observant (S) trait, ISTJs are unlikely to make many assumptions; instead, they analyze their surroundings, check their facts, and arrive at practical courses of action. ISTJ stakeholders are no-nonsense, and when they've made a decision, they will relay the facts necessary to achieve their goal, expecting others to grasp the situation immediately and to take action. ISTJs have little tolerance for indecision and will even more quickly lose patience if their chosen course is challenged with competing theories, especially if they seem impractical or ignore details. If a challenge becomes a time-consuming debate, ISTJs will become noticeably angry as deadlines approach.


ISFJ project managers are a unique group, in that many of their qualities often defy the definition of their individual personality traits. Though they possess the feeling (F) trait, ISFJs have excellent analytical abilities; though they are introverted (I), they have well-developed people skills and robust social relationships; and even though they are a judging (J) type, as are all sentinels (SJ), ISFJs are often receptive to change and new ideas. As with so many things, ISFJs are more than the sum of their parts, and it is the way they use these strengths that defines who they are.

ISFJ stakeholders are true altruists, meeting kindness with kindness-in-excess and engaging work and people they believe in with enthusiasm and generosity. There's hardly a better type to make up such a large proportion of the population, nearly 13%. Combining the best of tradition and a desire to do good things, ISFJs can often be found in lines of work with a sense of history behind them, such as medicine, academics, and charitable social work. However, they are unlikely to seek out managerial positions in these fields, and are still more unlikely to brag about their accomplishments. ISFJs prefer to be rewarded by seeing first-hand the positive impact of their efforts, and will remain enthusiastic simply knowing that the people they care for genuinely appreciate what they do.


ESTJ project managers are the representatives of tradition and order, utilizing their innate understanding of what is right, wrong, and socially acceptable to bring families and communities together under a single ideal. Embracing the values of honesty, dedication, and dignity, ESTJs are valued for their clear advice and guidance, and they are more than happy to lead the way on a difficult path. Taking pride in their ability to bring people together, ESTJs often take on the roles of family and community organizers, working hard to bring everyone together in celebration of a cherished local event, or in defense of the traditional values that they believe hold their families and communities together. Luckily, they form a fairly large portion (11%) of the population.

Demand for such leadership is always high in a democratic society, and it's no wonder that many of America's presidents have been ESTJ types. Strong believers in the rule of law and authority that is earned, not consigned, ESTJ stakeholders strive to lead by example, demonstrating dedication and a purposeful sense of honesty, as well as an utter rejection of laziness, cheating, and cutting corners, especially when it comes to work. If anyone is going to declare hard, manual work to be an excellent way to build character, it is going to be ESTJs.

Owing to their observant (S) trait, ESTJ stakeholders are aware of their surroundings and live in a world of clear, verifiable facts. The surety of their knowledge means that even against heavy resistance, they will stick to their principles and push an unclouded vision of what is and is not acceptable. Their opinions aren't just empty talk either, as ESTJs are more than willing to dive into the most challenging projects, improving action plans and sorting details along the way, making even the most complicated tasks seem easy and approachable.


ESFJ project managers are, for lack of a better word, popular—which makes sense, given that it is also a very common personality type, making up 12% of the total population. In high school, ESFJs are the cheerleaders and the quarterbacks, setting the tone, taking the spotlight, and leading their teams forward to victory and fame. Later in life, ESFJs continue to enjoy supporting their friends and loved ones, organizing social gatherings, and doing their best to make sure everyone is happy.

Supportive and outgoing, ESFJs can always be spotted at a party—they're the ones finding time to chat and laugh with everyone! But their devotion goes further than just breezing through for the sake of social maintenance. ESFJs truly enjoy hearing about their friends' relationships and activities, remembering little details and always standing ready to talk things out with warmth and sensitivity. If something isn't going right, or there's tension in the room, ESFJs will be the ones to pick up on it and try to restore harmony and stability to the group.

At their hearts, ESFJs are social creatures, and thrive on staying up to date with what their friends are doing, rather talking about abstract theories or debating correlation versus causation. ESFJs are more concerned with fashion and their appearance, their social status, and the standings of other people. Practical matters and gossip are their bread and butter, but they do their best to use their powers for good.

Fourth Group (ISTP - ISFP - ESTP - ESFP): Explorers or Artists


ISTP project managers love to explore with their hands and their eyes, touching and examining the world around them with cool rationalism and spirited curiosity. ISTP stakeholders are natural makers, moving from project to project, building the useful and the superfluous for the fun of it, and learning from their environment as they go. Often mechanics and engineers, ISTPs find no greater joy than in getting their hands dirty pulling things apart and putting them back together just a little bit better than they were before.

ISTP stakeholders explore ideas through creating, troubleshooting, trial and error, and first-hand experience. They enjoy having other people take an interest in their projects and sometimes don't even mind them getting into their space, so long as those people don't interfere with the ISTPs' principles and freedom, and so long as they get to enjoy taking an interest in those people's work themselves.

ISTP stakeholders enjoy lending a hand and sharing their experience directly, especially with the people they care about, and it's a shame they're so uncommon, making up only about 5% of the population. ISTP women are especially rare, and the typical gender roles that society tends to expect can be a poor fit—they'll often be seen as tomboys from a young age.


ISFP project managers are true artists. This doesn't necessarily apply in the typical sense, in which they are out painting happy little trees, though often enough they are perfectly capable of this. Rather, they use aesthetics, design, and even their choices and actions to push the limits of social convention. ISFP stakeholders enjoy upsetting traditional expectations with experiments in beauty and behavior—chances are, they've repeatedly said the phrase, “Don't box me in!”

ISFP stakeholders live in a colorful, sensual world, inspired by connections with people and ideas. But rather than take things as they are, ISFP stakeholders take joy in reinterpreting these connections, reinventing and experimenting with both themselves and with new perspectives—no other type explores and experiments with these ideas more. This process leads to an air of spontaneity, making ISFPs often seem unpredictable, even to their close friends and loved ones.


ESTP project managers always have an impact on their immediate surroundings—the best way to spot them at a crowded party is to look for the whirling eddy of people flitting about them as they move from group to group. Laughing and entertaining with an expressive and often blunt and earthy humor, ESTP stakeholders love to have a good time and be the center of attention. If an audience member is asked to come on stage at a show, it'll be ESTPs volunteering—or at least volunteering a shy friend.

ESTP stakeholders keep their conversation full and energetic, with a good dose of intelligence to round things out. Conversations about theory and abstract concepts, broader global issues and their implications, and long-term planning are unlikely to keep ESTP stakeholders interested for long. Rather, they'd like to talk about what is—or better yet, just go out and do it. ESTP stakeholders leap before they look, fixing their mistakes as they go, rather than sitting around, preparing detailed contingencies and escape clauses.


If anyone is to be found spontaneously breaking into song and dance, it is the ESFP project manager personality type. ESFP stakeholders get caught up in the excitement of the moment and want everyone else to feel that way, too. No other personality type is as generous with their time and energy as ESFPs when it comes to encouraging others, and no other personality type does it with such irresistible style.

Born entertainers, ESFPs love the spotlight, but this isn't limited to the stage. Though many ESFPs are indeed famous actors, they love putting on a show for their friends, too, chatting with a unique and earthy wit, soaking up attention and making every outing feel a bit like a party. Social through and through, ESFPs enjoy the simplest things, and there's no greater joy for them than just having fun with a good group of friends.

It's not all talk either, as ESFPs have the strongest aesthetic sense of any personality type. From grooming and outfits to a well-appointed home, ESFPs have an eye for fashion, knowing what's attractive the moment they see it, and they aren't afraid to change their surroundings to reflect their personal style. ESFPs are naturally curious, exploring new designs and styles with ease.


The role layer determines our goals, interests, and preferred activities. There are four roles:

Analyst Project Manager (Intuitive and Thinking [ _NT_ ] Types, Both Assertive and Turbulent Variants)

These personality types embrace rationality and impartiality, excelling in intellectual debates and scientific or technological fields. They are fiercely independent, open-minded, strong-willed, and imaginative, approaching many things from a utilitarian perspective and being far more interested in what works than what satisfies everybody. These traits make analysts excellent strategic thinkers, but also cause difficulties when it comes to social or romantic pursuits.

Analyst Stakeholders (INTJs, INTPs, ENTJs, and ENTPs):

Intuitive and thinking types: They are fiercely independent, open-minded, and imaginative, shining in intellectual debates and scientific or technological fields.


Diplomat Project Manager (Intuitive and Feeling [ _NF_ ] Types, Both Assertive and Turbulent Variants)

Diplomats focus on empathy and cooperation, shining in diplomacy and counseling. People belonging to this type group are cooperative and imaginative, often playing the role of harmonizers in their workplaces or social circles. These traits make diplomats warm, empathic, and influential individuals, but also cause issues when there is a need to rely exclusively on cold rationality or make difficult decisions.

Diplomat Stakeholders (INFJs, INFPs, ENFJs, andENFPs):

Intuitive and feeling types: They are cooperative, empathic, and imaginative, focusing on empathy, morality, and cooperation.


Sentinel Project Manager (Observant and Judging [ _S_J ] Types, Both Assertive and Turbulent Variants)

Sentinels are cooperative and highly practical, embracing and creating order, security, and stability wherever they go. People belonging to one of these types tend to be hard-working, meticulous, and traditional, and excel in logistical or administrative fields, especially those that rely on clear hierarchies and rules. These personality types stick to their plans and do not shy away from difficult tasks; however, they can also be very inflexible and reluctant to accept different points of view.

Sentinel Stakeholders (ISTJs, ISFJs, ESTJs, and ESFJs):

Observant and judging types: They are highly practical, meticulous, and traditional, embracing and creating order, security, and stability wherever they go.


Explorer Project Manager (Observant and Prospecting [ _S_P ] Types, Both Assertive and Turbulent Variants)

These types are the most spontaneous of all, and they also share the ability to connect with their surroundings in a way that is beyond the reach of other types. Explorers are utilitarian and practical, shining in situations that require quick reaction and ability to think on your feet. They are masters of tools and techniques, using them in many different ways, ranging from mastering physical tools to convincing other people. Unsurprisingly, these personality types are irreplaceable in crises, crafts, and sales; however, their traits can also push them towards undertaking risky endeavors or focusing solely on sensual pleasures.

Explorer Stakeholders (ISTPs, ISFPs, ESTPs, and ESFPs):

Observant and prospecting types: They are spontaneous, practical, and inventive, able to quickly think on their feet and make the best use of their surroundings.



The strategy layer shows the four main ways that diffrent types of project managers do things and achieve goals. There are four strategies:

Confident Individualism (Introverted and Assertive [ I___ (A) ] Types)

Confident individualists prefer doing things alone, choosing to rely on their own skills and instincts as opposed to seeking contact with other people. They know what they are good at and have high self-confidence. These personality types firmly believe that personal responsibility and trust in yourself are very important values. Confident individualists do not pay much attention to other people's opinions and prefer to rely on themselves.

People Mastery (Extraverted and Assertive [ E___ (A) ] Types)

People masters seek social contact and tend to have very good communication skills, feeling at ease in social events or in situations where they need to rely on or direct other people. These types are confident in their abilities and do not hesitate to express their opinions. Playing an active role in society and knowing what makes other people tick mean a lot to people masters; however, they are not too concerned about what other people think about them.

Constant Improvement (Introverted and Turbulent [ I___ (T) ] Types)

Constant improvers are quiet, individualistic people. They tend to be perfectionistic and success-driven, often spending a lot of time and effort making sure that the result of their work is the best it can be. As their name suggests, constant improvers are high-achieving individuals dedicated to their craft; however, they also tend to worry too much about their performance.

Social Engagement (Extraverted and Turbulent [ E___ (T) ] Types)

The last strategy is adopted by sociable, energetic, and success-driven types. Social engagers tend to be restless, perfectionistic individuals, prone to experiencing both very positive and very negative emotions. Their curiosity and willingness to work hard also mean that they are usually high-achieving yet quite sensitive people. Types favoring this strategy also tend to place a lot of importance on other people's opinions; they value their social status and are eager to succeed in everything they do.

This table shows all possible types along with their roles and strategies:

Personality classification

Exhibit 2: Personality classification


The best way to deal with any stakeholder is to identify his personality type and then develop a specific strategy for engaging with him. Personalities are broken up into four main groups, including 16 different types.

The four main groups (including the 16 different types) are:

Analyst Stakeholders (INTJs, INTPs, ENTJs, and ENTPs):

Intuitive and thinking types: They are fiercely independent, open-minded, and imaginative, shining in intellectual debates and scientific or technological fields.

Diplomat Stakeholders (INFJs, INFPs, ENFJs, and ENFPs):

Intuitive and feeling types: They are cooperative, empathic, and imaginative, focusing on empathy, morality, and cooperation.

Sentinel Stakeholders (ISTJs, ISFJs, ESTJs, and ESFJs):

Observant and judging types: They are highly practical, meticulous, and traditional, embracing and creating order, security, and stability wherever they go.

Explorer Stakeholders (ISTPs, ISFPs, ESTPs, and ESFPs):

Observant and prospecting types: They are spontaneous, practical, and inventive, able to quickly think on their feet and make the best use of their surroundings.

The four main strategies are:

Confident individualism (introverted and assertive [ I___ (A) ] types)

People mastery (extraverted and assertive [ E___ (A) ] types)

Constant improvement (introverted and turbulent [ I___ (T) ] types)

Social engagement (extraverted and turbulent [ E___ (T) ] types)


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© 2014, Mahmoud Abdu
Originally published as a part of the 2014 PMI Global Congress Proceedings – Phoenix, Arizona, USA



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