Leadership Insights: Sensors vs. Intuitives

Alas, we come to the final post in our series on Jungian Personality Type for the Sensor vs. Intuitive type preferences. Now that we’ve thoroughly explored what your preference means for the way you process information, let’s take a look at a few descriptors that will help you round out your understanding of S vs. N tendencies. After that, we’ll dive into some crucial leadership insights that you, as a Sensor or Intuitive, can take away from this series for immediate, powerful application in your everyday life. 

Word Association

Start by reviewing the word pairs listed below. Read each pair, consider the contrasts, and decide which word in each pair best applies to you. The goal here is to determine which word describes your most natural tendency; not whether you do one or the other, but which one you tend to default to most naturally.


Details / Patterns

Present / Future

Practical / Imaginative

Facts / Innovation

Sequential / Random

Directions / Hunches

Repetition / Variety

Enjoyment / Anticipation

Perspiration / Inspiration

Conserve / Change

Literal / Figurative


Keep in mind that if you are an Intuitive who does micro-detail all day for your job, your first reaction may be to choose the word that fits that daily role, and vice-versa for the Sensor. So, be sure to question yourself honestly, and perhaps you might find your natural inclination lies in the opposite direction, with the nurture of your work environment conditioning you to go against that nature.

 Interestingly, S vs. N is the only preference set with a naturally occurring split within the population wherein 70% of people are Sensors, and only 30% are Intuitives. There is no skew towards gender one way or another, but as you can imagine, Intuitives are significantly overrepresented in leadership positions, particularly in America. That reality comes from a natural deference to those who exhibit the strongest inclination and talent for vision casting when looking to fill top leadership positions. 

Applied Word Association

It’s important to note, however, that just because Intuitives lean toward future visioning, it doesn’t mean they always make the best leaders. Ultimately, our ability to lead comes down to us – how well we understand ourselves and others, how we lead ourselves, and the choices we make in our personal development journey about how we will respond to the mix of nature, nurture, and choice with regard to the person we want to be. One thing is for certain: though the Intuitive preference may sometimes be able to envision the future more clearly, they can rarely deliver it without the help of Sensors doing the execution, or otherwise learning how to take on the Sensor’s skill to bring the vision to fruition.

Now that you’ve finished reviewing the word pairs, take some time to think about what those descriptors say about you. Does seeing them written out help you to own some of your tendencies? Are you conflicted over some of the pairs? If so, you may be finding a point of dissonance within your work or everyday life; one in which your nature is being overwritten by the pressures, expectations, and demands of your nurture environment.

Whatever the case may be, I hope you’ll find this next section full of helpful insights that will guide you in bringing balance to your everyday leadership challenges, both aiding in your ability to understand yourself, as well as those with a different preference than your own.

Leadership Insights: Sensors

Whether you are a Sensor or an Intuitive, the following list of seven leadership insights will highlight some valuable areas of growth that Sensors will do well do keep in mind. If you are a Sensor, read through these insights and choose two that you can immediately begin working on as learning opportunities for growth in your own life.  

Leadership Insights for Sensors

  1. Don’t be intimidated by the eloquence of the charismatic communicator; ask your questions about details and practicalities!
  2. Don’t assume what hasn’t been done before is reckless and bound to fail.
  3. Embrace change; be fully present in shaping it rather than becoming a victim of it.
  4. Don’t cage the Intuitive types; they need the freedom to dream, so encourage them to do so.
  5. Failure is an essential part of future innovation if viewed constructively.
  6. Let Intuitive types tell you when they have an idea they want you to critique!
  7. Learn to value the contribution you bring, you represent the majority!

 For example, Sensors, if you know you tend to struggle with insight #4 above, you may need to begin consciously telling yourself to allow Intuitives to speak for longer than you like, especially Extrovert Intuitives. As a Sensor, if you are always holding the ever-ideating Intuitive to given specifics and detailed execution plans before you’ll consider listening to their ideas for the future, all you will end up doing is handicapping the Intuitive’s greatest passion and asset to the team. 

Sometimes the Intuitives need a little bit of freedom to dream, create, and ideate without the immediate pressure or “chains” of proving their point right away. So encourage them to put their best foot forward by giving them room to strategize and explore all the possibilities they see for the future, then you can work with them to apply your rigorous criteria to filter out the good ideas.

If you’re an Intuitive, I hope you didn’t skip over this section thinking it doesn’t apply to you. This is a great opportunity to review the list of Sensor insights in an effort to better understand the majority (70%) of people who process and understand the world differently than you do. Intuitives – you would do well to choose two Sensor insights of your own. Then you can can begin to look for those tendencies in the lives of your Sensor co-workers or friends in order to better understand, relate to, and collaborate with them.  

Leadership Insights: Intuitives

As in the previous section, whether you are a Sensor or an Intuitive, the following list of seven leadership insights will pinpoint valuable areas of growth that Intuitives will do well do keep in mind. If you are an Intuitive, review the insights below and choose two that you can immediately begin applying as learning opportunities for growth in your own life. 

Leadership Insights for Intuitives 

  1. Build a bridge (of details and proof) for Sensors so they can connect the present reality to the future vision.
  2. Take the time to make sure Sensors have all the data and information they need. Let them ask the difficult questions and communicate your gratitude for their wisdom and expertise.
  3. Details are really important, ultimately they will save you time and money!
  4. Learn to smell the roses! Your future orientation will often mean you miss the beauty of today.
  5. Learn to be physically, emotionally and intellectually present with your friends and family.
  6. You will always be innovating but beware change for change’s sake.
  7. Beware the Intuitive superiority complex! 

One of the most common complaints Intuitive leaders have about the Sensors on their team, especially the Guardian voices, is that they view the Sensors as always being negative about change or future ideas. The charismatic Intuitive tends to view those who slow down the rush to a grand vision of the future as “party-poopers,” or people who just “don’t get it.” But it would be a serious mistake to characterize such members of the team so negatively when, in fact, it’s the Sensor’s attention to detail, as well as their commitment to asking the hard questions, that helps the team avoid costly mistakes and poorly planned execution strategies. 

In light of such a common misconception of Sensors among Intuitives, all you Intuitives out there would do well to spend some time on insight #’s 2 and 3. Make sure you are recognizing and valuing the concerns and contributions that 70% of your people share.

Now, Sensors, just as we cautioned Intuitives not to skip over the section about your leadership insights, be sure to not skip over this section on Intuitives. Take this opportunity to gain greater clarity on the struggles that your Intuitive counterparts may have in relation to you. If you can better understand where Intuitives have trouble connecting with your own way of looking at the world, then you can be proactive in your relationships – whether at work or in everyday life – making them healthier, stronger, and more understanding than ever before.

Wrapping Up

It’s hard to believe, but we are now finished with the Sensors vs. Intuitives mini-series, and halfway through our overall series on Jungian Personality Type and GiANT Best Fit! We hope this mini-series on “S vs. N” has been informative, engaging, and most all, helpful in guiding you to a better understanding of yourself and others with regard to how you process information and see the world. 

If you take nothing else away from this series, always remember: even though Sensors may tend to prefer details and process, while Intuitives galavant around with their visions of future and change, we all have an ability to engage both hands. And it’s precisely our ability to understand, value, and speak to the contributions of each type, that will determine the health of our team. 

Join us next time as we dive into the beginning of a brand new mini-series on the Thinking vs. Feeling type preferences!

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how your personality affects your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

Source: GiANT

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