60 min
By: ENC Leaders

Episode 26: Tensions on the Leader’s Personality

As leaders, we know that God has given each of us a set of skills and strengths and a unique personality. We need to manage the tension between the tendency to lead, solely dictated by your personality, and the tendency to lead without factoring your personality in your leadership. What can we do to avoid both extremes?

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0:33 Today’s tension is an interesting one. We will talk about the leader’s personality. One extreme is the desire and temptation to lean or give in to my personality, my strengths, my predisposition in leading the team. These determine my priorities, my actions, and my ability to do something. The other extreme is to overly deny my personality, like pretending to be someone that you’re not–not being honest about who you are, or being unhappy with who you are–rejecting that and trying to be a different kind of leader. 

7:37 Some popular personality/strength assessment tools are StrengthsFinder, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and the Enneagram.

15:30 Let’s take a look at the first extreme: an overly dependent, overly dictated by personality style of leadership. “I can’t be kind, because this is who I am.” “This is who I am, take it or leave it.” 

16:10 Ptr. Joe: I’ve made that excuse about myself a number of times. Generally when it comes to not being caring or not being kind and I kinda leaned in to that joke… The running joke in the ENC office is that they would call me “King Kong, the destroyer of bridges.” And I have to be honest, there was a season when I would lean in to that, “Sige I’m just gonna be King Kong. I’m gonna be less diplomatic. I’m gonna be less kind because that’s how you guys see me anyway. I might as well embrace that personality type.” And that’s not right because that’s not serving. That’s not loving to God and to others. That’s not putting other people first. And that’s the problem with being that way. Sometimes it’s the lack of orderliness, an inability to get the job done, to come on time, to deliver on commitments, and say “Oh I am so sorry because I am ______ (using personalities/strengths as an excuse) and I don’t do those kinds of things.” That is not right because we can do whatever God has called us to do. And our personalities are not our boss, they’re not our excuses, and they are not our brand either.

The person we all adjust to is not the person leading. The person who is willing to adjust and willing to make sacrifices, that’s the one who is leading.  

And leaders, if we are enslaved by our personalities, it actually prevents us from leading. 

18:36 Jello: In the earlier years of my leadership, I was insecure about my personality. Introverts have that envy for extroverts, in a way that extroverts go along well with so many people. So, ako bilang leader, I felt like being an introvert is more of a curse or a disadvantage kasi it limits me. But when I learned more about the beauty of being an introvert, the strengths of an introvert–the unique strengths that extroverts don’t have, that’s when I became more comfortable about my personality and I was able to use that to my advantage.  

20:30 Kriscel: I think I started out like Jello. Tama sya eh, may feeling na “Why can’t I be more carefree or why can’t I connect agad with people?”. It was really an effort for me lalo na when I was starting in campus ministry and I have to meet with students one on one. Ang hirap sa ‘kin ng one2one. Kung groups okay lang kasi pwede silang mag usap-usap. I don’t have to carry the conversation. But then I have the  tendency to retreat and be in my own world at masyadong naging comfortable with my introversion. Being in campus ministry helped me avoid that extreme and over time naman I guess mas naging okay naman ako with conversations. I studied about it and asked other people. 

24:10 The other extreme is despising or being insecure with the way God made us. 

26:09 What we need to learn is to embrace the design that God has for us. The key here in maintaining these tensions, like we’ve done in each episode, if we treat these tensions as extremes, that is going to be difficult because we are going to swing back and forth. But if we find a way to embrace both while keeping that tension, that’s the key to produce the right response in us. The right attitude should be “I want to serve with the best that God has given me.”

We have to ask ourselves, are we still willing to serve?

There’s a difference between trying hard to serve versus trying hard just because you have to. And people around you would know. 

28:42 Ptr. Joe: How did you guys learn to leverage your personality and be comfortable with however you were designed? What are the tools that are most helpful to you? 

29:19 Jello: For me, I researched it (studying what you are and what you aren’t).

32:20 Kriscel: Looking at how God created different people. Dumating ako sa point na naging thankful ako that we are not like everyone else; if lahat tayo pare-pareho, sobrang boring ng world. I learned from people who are different from me. One thing I do when I go out with people, or if I need to minister to someone or talk to someone, finding a common ground really helps. 

*Book Recommendation: Strengths-Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie

38:15 Sometimes, there’s a pressure to be like others. But that’s not how God made you. There’s nobody who has got it all. There is no one person who can be amazing in “all” those things (strengths/ personalities of a leader). And that is why it is best to lead in a team. 

39:32 Jello: Referring to the things that we can delegate or things that we are not good at. Some people would say, “hindi kasi ko ganito eh… hindi ako magaling mag _____” but if you’re an organizational leader (for example), strategic thinking is one of the things that a leader must have. When do we accept our weaknesses and delegate those things? And how do we challenge ourselves to overcome?

40:50 Ptr. Joe: If the attitude is to serve, we can ask:  Is delegation an excuse not to serve or a way to actually serve more? And we have to check our hearts for that. Also, work on your weaknesses up to passing level. Don’t be killing us (your team) with your weaknesses. 

46:12 Ptr. Joe: So, one extreme is idolizing yourself, and the key to that is to serve. The other extreme is to be insecure about yourself, and to envy how God made other people. One balance there, it’s possible that you might have a strength but you don’t realize that it’s a strength also.

48:28 Kriscel: I think Ptr. Joe, what helps me assess if I am using my personality too much or too little, I always ask myself “Is it a character issue more than a personality issue?” As a leader it’s good to ask yourself that question and go back to what the Word of God says. And if there’s anything contradicting with what you’re doing, alam mo naman na hindi na yan personality issue, go back to what the Word of God is saying about that particular issue in your life.  

51:37 Jello: Just to balance, maybe some people are like that not because they don’t want to serve or they’re self-absorbed, or they’re egotistical. Maybe it’s more of  an area for growth. Sometimes they are just fearful or insecure. So, if you’re that kind of person, leaning towards your personality or strength is a good thing, but that can also be limiting, sometimes. But definitely God has supernatural power and grace and He can unlock gifts for people whenever He calls them. 

55:44 Ptr. Joe: Your personality is a gift from God. Your experience and your background are not your boss, they’re not your excuse, they’re not your brand, they’re not your message. You’re here to serve. God is your boss. And that means He will enable you to do whatever He calls you to do.

56:42 Jello: The greatest encouragement is that God is transforming us according to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. We are being changed from glory to glory until we reach that perfection. There is always an area for growth and that’s a possibility, not a limitation to look at. A possibility to embrace and to be excited about: we glory, not in the strength of the flesh, but in the power of Christ that is at work in us, and the Holy Spirit that is at work in us. We celebrate our strengths, we pray to God and we rely on God’s grace about our weaknesses and we develop the people that are with us to complement the weaknesses that we have. 

57:40 Kriscel: It’s just a great reminder that if you are really called to serve, you will go above and beyond whatever limitations you think you may have. If God calls you, He will certainly empower you to do the things that He has called you to do. And that we are not alone. He has put us in a team. He has surrounded us with people that are totally different from us to bring out the best in us and in the people around us.


  1. Are you a leader who is confident about your personality? Or are you a leader who does not tap on your strengths and skills because you feel they are ineffective or lacking for leadership? What are the factors that lead you to any of these extremes? 
  2. What are some steps you can take to help you embrace your strengths and weaknesses in your leadership? 

The ENC Leadership Podcast is hosted by Joseph Bonifacio. In this episode, he is joined by Jello de los Reyes and Kriscel Wee.

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