Leveraging Influence – Leading as an I-Type Leader: Deep on DiSC Part 2

Strengths, challenges, and keys to success for the Influence-Type or I-Type personality

The Church Revitalization Podcast – Episode 137

A lot goes into being a high-impact leader—your skills, experience, education, emotional intelligence, and your calling all contribute to your success. But your temperament and personality play a major role in how you interact with people and influence them. Leadership happens at the intersection of a person’s influence, capacity, and character. Your temperament colors all three of these factors.

Therefore, it’s helpful to understand your personality type and how it positively and negatively affects your ability to lead. Your temperament is a tool; it’s inherently amoral. Your personality isn’t evil or benevolent, but it is part of God’s divine design for your life. 

There are a lot of helpful tools for understanding your personality. At The Malphurs Group, we regularly use the DiSC Assessment. The DiSC is fairly simple to grasp, and since no tool is perfect and since people are always more nuanced than any personality tool, it’s helpful to have a tool that’s easy to grasp. It’s OK to recognize that personality assessments have limitations, but still leverage them to help you become a better leader. 

In this multi-part article and podcast series, we are exploring the primary DiSC types and how they impact your leadership. 

In this second installment, you’ll learn the strengths, challenges, and keys to success for the I or Influencer type personality.


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The DiSC can be broken down into two key axes: a horizontal scale from task to people oThe DiSC can be broken down into two key axes: a horizontal scale from task to people orientation (Left to Right) and a vertical scale from an introversion to extroversion orientation (Bottom to Top). The “i” type sits in the top right box with a people-orientation that is extroverted.

Strengths of Influence-Type Leaders

Charismatic Personality that Inspires Others to Follow

Each personality type can be looked at as a double-edged sword.  As we’re noting in this series, there are strengths and challenges for each.  However, the influencer type personality may be the most dangerous.  Why mention this now in the strengths?  Because a leader who can inspire others to follow them must use their power for good, not evil.  With just a few moments of thought, you can probably think of names in the church world in which that type of power has not been used for good. But what a gift they can be to the church when they rally people into unity around common goals to expand the Kingdon of God!

The I-type leader loves to work a stage and be in the limelight.  People like having them there, too.  It’s always interesting and exciting.  They’re good communicators in front of people whether it’s the whole church or the board members in a closed-door meeting. If you’ve been in a church with a strong I-type preaching pastor, they make every passage of scripture interesting. They’ll probably bring some laughs too, since they usually have good senses of humor.  When they present initiatives for the church, people want to get involved.

Filled With Exciting Ideas for the Future that Give Others Hope

The “i” might stand for influence, but it could just as easily stand for “ideas.” They may come fast and often too. The mind of the Influencer personality is always running in high gear. Chasing the next “great idea” is a high. What’s great, though, is that they genuinely believe in the idea themselves. They’re not actors when it comes to presentation, which is why people buy in to the plan.

The Influencer type is great in vision planning and presentation. People leave feeling hopeful, encouraged, and optimistic about the future. Team leaders with at least a little bit of “I” in them will keep volunteers working hard towards the goals, too.

Effective in Building a Wide Network of Connections and Acquaintances

The “i” type leader is good at getting to know a wide range of people.  They’re connectors and networkers.  They always “know a guy” for whatever the need is.  They’re the ones who will probably have met everyone in the room by the end of the night and the ones you’ll probably be talking about on the way home.

Challenges of Influence-Type Leaders

Yes, they have good ideas, but they’re not the ones to work the plan and bring the project to completion. People around the i-type person can get worn out by the constant barrage of ideas and lack of staying power for the long haul.

I spoke with a pastor once about his success in presenting short-term vision projects in his church.  He went through several one or two-year initiatives that did very well and would have taken many churches much longer to accomplish.  I asked him why he didn’t have the church working on something bigger and more long-term, and he admitted it was a challenge for him to process long-term vision like that.

Establishing Deep Relationships is Difficult

I said above that I-type people will meet everyone in the room. However, they probably won’t develop any long-term close relationships out of those introductions.  The “guy they know” that they’ll give you contact information for probably won’t know them very well.

This is a sad and ironic aspect of this personality type. The person that everyone wants to know will struggle to actually be known. For those of us around people like this, we should give extra effort to spending time with them and probing to get to know them.  They’ll need to know you’re genuine, though, and it will take a while for them to develop a level of trust with you in which they will truly open up.

Can Rely too Heavily on Influence and not Enough on the Hard Work of Managing People and Tasks

The good thing about this challenge is that it’s easier to overcome than the previous one noted above. There are time management tools that can help force them to get things done, and discipline can be learned and improved.  The i-type is not a long-term excuse for poor performance in leadership.


Key to Success

Your creativity, optimism, and charisma bring hope to people who feel lost and directionless. Be sure to follow through on your commitments, be intentional about what you say, and leverage your influence to bring Kingdom-oriented dreams to life. This will likely take a good team around you, so you must be self-aware enough to trust others with your weaknesses.


BONUS: Watch this episode on YouTube.


A.J. Mathieu is the President of the Malphurs Group. He is passionate about helping churches thrive. A.J. lives in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex, enjoys the outdoors, and loves spending time with his wife and two sons. Click here to email A.J.

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