Leading Academics: Rosalind Davies on Prof. Jennifer Tann’s session

I knew the second session of Leading Academics (see here for the first session) was going to be good when the speaker was introduced as having “laughter” on her list of interests on LinkedIn. And I was not disappointed. Professor Jennifer Tann was a very engaging speaker and was there to talk us through how to recognise (and make the most of) personality traits in both ourselves and other people.


Before the class, I completed a Myers-Briggs test on “Type Dynamics”, which told me that I fitted the “ESTJ” profile. This means that:

  • I am more Extroverted than Introverted (E vs I)
  • I pay more attention to things I have directly Sensed than by iNtuition (S vs N)
  • I make decisions based on Thinking rather than Feeling (T vs F)
  • I make Judgements based on action plans, rather than Perception: letting things happen. (J vs P)
Some people had only vague preferences for one of the two options, but for the last 3 points I was pretty much off the scale! I wasn’t very surprised by the results, but I was looking forward to learning what this really meant.
In groups of similar temperaments (all the SJs were together) we discussed leadership practices: which would come most naturally for us, and which we would struggle to be good at. It was interesting considering how much more comfortable we all felt “leading by example” when compared to “encouraging from the heart”.
So, as an extrovert, I show everyone my strongest personality trait: my judgement. However, introverts display their 2nd strongest, making them more difficult to get to know. It was intriguing to hear how illness or stress can change this: exposing your more hidden personality traits. I guess this is why people say “you’re not yourself” when you’re feeling unwell.
After another session on the Leading Academics course, again I went away wanting to spend more time on self-assessment. I have been sent away with the “Strengthsfinder” book which also profiles you based on a series of strengths. We were advised to learn what we are good at, and what we enjoy doing, but not to use it as an excuse! Carrying out tasks which are not covered by your strengths may be exhausting, but they are often necessary. Discovering what kind of environment you need to be in to compete them is also key: as they are against your normal habits, they may need to be done in a similarly contrasting environment.
Thanks to Jennifer for such an interesting session, and again to the careers network for running the course. It was great to be a part of it, even if only for a small while!

by Rosalind Davies, originally posted on her blog

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About careersbham

Student Engagement Officer for Careers Network University of Birmingham

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