Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Simple test of leadership for council

        While Rome is burning, Nero and the counselors are taking the Myers-Briggs. This is the alphabet-soup test adored by business executives willing to be categorized in ways that sound like what you might find in your average fortune cookie.

        As the Twitty case was exploding in our faces again, Mayor Charlie Luken, Cincinnati's city manager and council members were discussing their results at a two-day retreat. The mayor was found to be an ISTP. Those letters stand for introverted, sensing, thinking and perceiving personality. Career suggestions for ISTPs include farmer, mechanic, electrical technician, engineer, dental hygienist and intelligence agent.

        Out of the 16 possible combinations, it turns out that City Manager Valerie Lemmie and Councilman Jim Tarbell are both ENTJs, or extroverted, intuitive, thinking, judging types. Apparently, they are practically indistinguishable from each other. Two peas in a pod.

        The Myers-Briggs model suggests Mr. Tarbell and Ms. Lemmie might investigate the possibility of becoming lawyers, managers, scientists or mortgage brokers. Which sounds about right for the city manager, although I am not sure which of these give her the best opportunity for the hugging for which she is famous.

        As for Mr. Tarbell, can anybody imagine him behind a test tube?

        Then there's vice mayor Alicia Reece, an ESTP - extroverted, sensing, thinking, perceiving. Her personality type “dislikes long explanations.” Unless, of course, they are made by her.

        Councilman David Pepper organized the retreat at Hueston Woods State Park. Knowledgeworks Foundation paid for the Myers-Briggs program, and public officials donated their time. So no taxpayers were hurt in the making of this production.

        But if these people haven't yet figured out who among them is “warmly enthusiastic” (John Cranley) or “quiet and conscientious” (Paul Booth) or “warm-hearted and talkative” (Chris Monzel) or “serious and logical” (David Pepper), then they must have been in a deep coma on Wednesday afternoons during council meetings.

        “The test provided a lot of laughs,” Councilman David Crowley said.

        Once you've had a good laugh with somebody, it's probably easier to work with him or her. Next, I suppose they'll be doing the “trust walk” and hooking each other up to elaborate ropes on group journeys of self-discovery.

        Maybe they'll all get mood rings or engage the services of a Tarot card facilitator. Maybe they'll start getting together on weekends to give each other facials and braid each other's hair. Maybe they will become a wonderful team. Maybe they will figure out a way for the ENTJs and the ESTPs to have, as they say, a meaningful dialogue.


        Meanwhile the city has nobody calling the plays. Just teams pulling in every direction. What we could really use is a leader. A captain. And, on 9-11 Eve, I would suggest an alphabet code that is easier to understand and a lot more direct. WWRD.

        What Would Rudy Do?

        E-mail lpulfer@enquirer.com. Past columns at Enquirer.com/columns/pulfer.


Priest under investigation resigns
Overheated schools send students home early
AFLAC squawks over 'Taft Quack' ads
Restrictions tighten on foreign students
City wants vandalized flags flying again
List of local 9-11 events
NY churches comfort, listen
Parents, widow help build home in memory of 9-11 victim
RADEL: Children's views have changed
- PULFER: Simple test of leadership for council
Two officers shot at while on patrol
New art center taking shape
CPS board to buy land for 2 schools
Good News: Riverfront Classic returns
Obituary: Trumpet player began local German band
Teen was going 93 mph at crash, patrol says
Three-car crash injures driver
Wrong-way car on I-275 wreaks havoc
Air Force medics train at University Hospital
Baby sitter indicted in injury to infant
Butler Co. weighs library need vs. cost
Deal to drop dancer's charges is off
Ex-trustees fighting for Fox interchange
Local firefighters win softball tournament
Police arrest suspect in second bank chase
Social services to offer help number
CROWLEY: Davis gets some campaign help
Few problems at Oktoberfest
Ky. treasurer touts credit bill
Obituary: Tumor didn't slow Fort Mitchell woman
Park Hills becomes fall garden spot
Water taxi offers ride for next home game
Alexandria sewers topic of workshop
Campus disclosure law easier than expected
Superintendents told funding cuts coming
Tuition rising slightly more than Ky. incomes
UK freshman class biggest in its history