There have been a lot of examples of unquintessential leadership in this week’s news, and I will highlight the ones that have caught my attention – some you may be aware of and others you may not be – and give a brief summary of each of them with links so you can review the stories yourselves and glean the lessons from each of them that we, as quintessential leaders, must always be diligent to look for and learn from.

Lance ArmstrongThe first story is the news, which, frankly, is no surprise to me, that Lance Armstrong has refused to meet with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and testify under oath about his use of illegal substances during his career as a professional cyclist. In light of this development – which was a necessary step in his path to be able compete athletically in any sport and any hopes of redemption from his fall from grace – it seems to bear out that all that he said in his interview with Oprah Winfrey last month was nothing more than lies accompanied by crocodile tears. Purely unquintessential leadership on every level with this man.

Another unquintessential leadership story that caught my Alex (A-Rod) Rodriguez - New York Yankeesinterest this week was about Alex Rodriguez, third baseman for my favorite baseball team, the New York Yankees. Joe Posnanski does a very good job of showing the unquintessential leadership traits that have led to his demise, not only as a baseball player, but as a role model for young kids playing the game of baseball. Mr. Posnanski lists several things that contributed to where A-Rod finds himself now, but from a quintessential leader point of view, three character traits – pride, cheating, and dishonesty – are at the core of what makes Alex Rodriguez an unquintessential leader.

Another unquintessential leadership news story from this week was the revelation that the FBI – anyone who knows the real history of the FBI from its inception and anything at all about the tactics of its first director, J. Edgar Hoover, should really not be surprised by this latest story – has a lot of employees using government-issued equipment to engage in sexting. Not only is this behavior immoral, but it’s also illegal under federal law, which the FBI is the enforcing agency of.

The next instance of unquintessential leadership to get a lot of press this week has global implications, as well as terrorist implications. Government systems and corporate systems were the target – from China and Pakistan to the U.S. and from the U.S. to Iran (that we know of). This high-profile story also introduced the general public to a new term – spear phishing – which is already well-known in the cyber security field. In general terms, the unquintessential leadership behavior is hacking or trying to hack computers and networks.

Hacking – one famous hacking group is Anonymous – involves several unquintessential leadership traits: the deliberate breaking into and breaching, if possible, of computers and networks; distributing malicious or harmful software to either steal information or destroy information or incapacitate the computer or network; and, a lot of pride and arrogance in taking credit for the breach.

President Barack ObamaThe last unquintessential leadership news story I’ll cover for this week is the looming sequestration if President Obama and the US Congress don’t reach a budget agreement.

While both sides bear responsibility for the lack of an agreement, President Obama, as Commander-in-Chief, has shown an unquintessential leadership trait side of his introverted temperament – he’s an INTJ –  which I also am, so I understand what’s happened and why, but the unquintessential leadership aspect of his decision is a faulty cost-benefit analysis.

When INTJ’s have done everything in their power to try to resolve, negotiate, change, and conclude an impasse or breach, whether with an individual or a group of individuals, and nothing happens, as their energy levels get depleted and they get tired of hitting their heads against a brick wall, so to speak, they do a cost (how much am I putting into this?)-benefit (what is the best I can expect as a result?) analysis, and if the cost outweighs the benefit, they stop, close the door, and walk away for good.

Once that door is closed, it can’t be reopened, because the INTJ has moved on to things he or she can resolve, negotiate, change and conclude, and the last effort is no longer a part of their lives, literally. It’s over. Period.

That’s a part of the temperament and it drives all the other people in our lives crazy because it’s the only temperament that does this and none of the other temperaments understand it. Trust me, I’ve heard it enough to know it doesn’t make sense to anyone who’s not an INTJ.

That appears to be the point that President Obama has reached with the U.S. Congress.

The problem here with the lack of an agreement and the possible automatic sequester is that whatever the cost is to President Obama personally, it does not outweigh the benefits of continuing the resolution process, the negotiating, the change,  and successful conclusion needed to get past the breaches and impasses that exist. One of the traits of quintessential leadership is understanding that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one, and as the leader of the United States, President Obama needs to remember – and keep at it, now matter how it affects him personally, because this is the job that he has – the needs of the American people outweigh any personal needs that he has.

President Obama doesn’t get the luxury of being an ordinary INTJ where the stakes aren’t all that high if he walks away for good. At least not until 2017.

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