Presidential Character Revisited



This study attempts to bring a fresh perspective to the study of presidential personality. Critics of the personality approach doubt that personality really has much impact on presidential leadership, and they question whether the approach will contribute to the development of a presidential leadership theory. Critics also see problems with the conceptualization of personality variables in particular studies, such as James David Barber's much-praised, much-maligned The Presidential Character. The study proposes the use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to analyze the relationship between presidential personality and presidential leadership. Administered to about 1.7 million people annually by psychologists, career counselors, and business managers, the MBTI makes possible the classification of each president as one of 16 personality types, and it offers predictions about many characteristics of leadership style for each type. The study concludes with an extensive MBTI analysis of President Clinton's leadership style.