By Laurie Sanford
Much ink has been spilled in this year’s political cycle and specifically about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She’s been called dishonest. She’s been accused of being in the system too long, with too many corporate supporters who will come calling for their paybacks. She’s a victim of media bias or relentless Republican smears. She’s a victim of sexism. She's been called, simply, unlikeable.
Many of these things may be true. But I want to offer another perspective, as a psychologist, on her personality type. We all have them -- strengths and weaknesses and personality types. Hillary comes off as standoffish -- not a fun drinking companion. But why? And what comes along with it?
She has an “intense” personality style (as opposed to a temperate like President Barack Obama). Hillary is cognitive rather than emotional, but that cognition is intense. She sees the world from a big-picture perspective. While this is a strength when balancing yet another Benghazi hearing with the latest priority at the State Department, it also means natural weaknesses in physicality and in reading others.
People with Hillary’s personality type are also extremely hardworking and exceptionally determined. They truly believe that they are the most competent person for the job and are impervious to the doubts of others. Competence is their priority. They can make large contributions to society, and can be intuitive if their perception of others is not too distorted by their unconscious fears.
So when Hillary says, “I’m not a natural politician like my husband,” she is right. That doesn’t mean she would not be a good president. It means she doesn’t exude the charisma and warmth that Bill does. She is spot on.
So, should we ignore whether we like her or not, or want to have lunch with her and vote for her anyway? Absolutely! She is beyond competent. She is unbelievably determined.
Who would even want to be president after all she's been through? She put up with all of this criticism and came back from a huge defeat in 2008 to try again. Why wouldn’t she just stop with being Secretary of State and a senator? She has a successful family and career and enough money. Why not just stop and be content with what you have already accomplished?
It’s not ego. It’s not even wanting to be the first woman president. It is the unrelenting determination of her type of personality style.
And, she is right. She will work incredibly hard and accomplish a great deal. She will have appropriate caution to match that determination. These are the natural qualities of a person with her intense personality.
Next up I'll discuss how personality styles can affect leadership at your company and what you can do about it.
Image credit: Flickr/Veni
Dr. Laurie Sanford is a psychologist practicing in California and Hawai’i and online everywhere. She specializes in treating other psychotherapists and in couples’ work. She is the originator of the Sanford-Tillich approach to personality styles, with Dr. Rene Tillich.
Her website is www.doctorlauriesanford.com