What is Your Leadership Thinking Style?

Giving Humorous Speeches at a Leadership ConferenceBelow is a list of the nine leadership thinking styles, based on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences identified by Howard Gardner in 1983. Do any of these remind you of friends or family? How can you adjust your communication style to suit thinking styles other than your own? Leadership and change initiatives are affected by how you think.

Leadership Qualities Thinking Style

1) Logical-mathematical thinkers:
  • Leaders that like to understand patterns and relationships between objects or actions.
  • Try to understand the world in terms of causes and effects.
  • Are good at thinking critically, and solving problems creatively.

Logical-mathematical thinkers include Isaac Newton, Archimedes, and Albert Einstein. Careers which suit logical-mathematical thinkers include Physicist, Chemist, Biologist, Lawyer, Computer Programmer, Engineer, and Inventor.

2) Linguistic thinkers:

  • Tend to think in words, and like to use language to express complex ideas.
  • Are sensitive to the sounds and rhythms of words as well as their meanings.

Linguistic thinkers include great speakers like William Shakespeare, Sylvia Plath, and Anne Frank. Careers which suit linguistic thinkers include Journalist, Librarian, Salesperson, Proof-reader, Translator, Poet, Lyricist, and Motivational Speaker.

3) Interpersonal thinkers:

  • Like to think about other people, and try to understand them.
  • Recognize differences between individuals and appreciate that different people have different perspectives.
  • Make an effort to cultivate effective relationships with family, friends and colleagues.

Interpersonal thinkers include inspirational leaders like Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa, and William Shakespeare (who have also given some great inspirational speeches). Careers which suit interpersonal thinkers include Politician, Psychologist, Nurse, Counselor, and Teacher.

4) Intrapersonal thinkers:

  • Spend a lot of time thinking about and trying to understand themselves.
  • Reflect on their thoughts and moods, and work to improve them.
  • You understand how your behavior affects your relationships with others.

Intrapersonal thinkers include Sigmund Freud, Gandhi, Grahame Greene, and my mother-in-law. Careers which suit intrapersonal thinkers include Psychologist, Teacher, Pilot, Child Care worker, Explorer, and Drama Therapist.

5) Naturalist thinkers:

  • Like to understand the natural world, and the living beings that inhabit it.
  • Have an aptitude for communicating with animals.
  • You try to understand patterns of life and natural forces.

Naturalist thinkers include Charles Darwin, Jane Goodall, Johnny Morris, David Attenborough, and my Pekingese dogs. Careers which suit naturalist thinkers include Biologist, Meteorologist, Forester, Farmer, Astronomer, and Alternative Therapist.

6) Existential thinkers:

  • Like to spend time thinking about philosophical issues such as "What is the meaning of life?".
  • Try to see beyond the 'here and now' and understand deeper meanings.
  • Consider moral and ethical implications of problems as well as practical solutions.

Existential thinkers include The Buddha, Gandhi, Plato, Socrates, and Martin Luther King. Careers which suit existential thinkers include Philosopher, Religious Leader, Head of State, Artist, and Writer.

7) Musical thinkers:

  • Tend to think in sounds, and may also think in rhythms and melodies.
  • Are sensitive to the sounds and rhythms of words as well as their meanings.
  • Feel a strong connection between music and emotions.

Musical thinkers include Mozart, John Lennon, and Jimi Hendrix.

Careers which suit musical thinkers include Musician, Music Teacher, Sound Engineer, and Recording Technician.

8) Spatial thinkers:

  • Tend to think in pictures, and can develop good mental models of the physical world.
  • Think well in three dimensions.
  • Have a flair for working with objects.

Spatial thinkers include Pablo Picasso, Michelangelo, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Careers which suit spatial thinkers include Mechanic, Photographer, Artist, Architect, Engineer, Builder, and Set Designer.

9) Kinesthetic thinkers:

  • Think in movements.
  • Like to use their bodies in skillful and expressive ways.
  • Have an aptitude for working with their hands.

Kinesthetic thinkers include Houdini, Rudolph Nureyev, and David Beckham. Careers which suit kinesthetic thinkers include Sportsperson, Craftsperson, Surgeon, Actor, Dancer, Coach, and Physiotherapist.

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