Understanding the DNA of Personality Type and Leadership Development for Doctors
I’ve just returned from the annual Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM) Leaders in Heathcare 2016 conference. A key message from many of the speakers was that leadership development starts from within. Couldn’t agree more – but how do you do this if you haven’t the time or the resources to go on an expensive leadership development programme?
Senior Doctors told me at the conference that their leadership roles are often characterised by:
Not enough time to do it well
Imposter syndrome (feeling that you are promoted beyond your skill/capabilities)
Feeling isolated with insufficient support
Having to learn on the job (no or little training offered)
Expected to deliver far too quickly
Expected to deliver on things that are outside of your direct control
Lack of clarity over the role and scope of role much larger than anticipated
Through coaching doctors over the years I have found that enabling doctors to understand themselves (and the people around them) helps to manage some of these difficulties encountered in leadership roles. A great way of understanding behaviours, strengths and weaknesses is by using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). It supports self awareness and strengthens leadership practice.
MBTI Step II takes self undestanding to a deeper level. With step II you learn how your preferences for the Extrovert – Introvert, Sensing – iNtuition, Thinking – Feeling and Judging – Perceiving functions are affected by specific behavioural facets. Under each of the function pairs (e.g. E-I) sit ten facets of behaviours and Step II measures you against these. This allows people to see the subtly and complexity of what makes them tick and build a richer view of why they prefer different ways of doing things. This enables you to be more specific about how you want to develop.
You can read more about this when I wrote a blog for OPP (European administrators of MBTI) late last year HERE.
I’ve been using Step II for over a year now and have seen how the model can support people to review their approach to leadership and adapt their strengths to work more productively within the context they are operating in.
I’m delivering an open access course on the 6th December 2016 in London for FMLM. To find out how to book click HERE.
If you would like to talk over developing your leadership skills with MBTI Step II, call me on
0754 0593476 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the summer of 2015 I worked with a senior healthcare team.
They already knew their MBTI Step I and had been successfully developing their team dynamics with the aid of that knowledge. But they wanted to take their understanding and performance as a group to a deeper level, so asked me to work with them on Step II. The team was a mixture of Doctors and managers.
OPP (Business Psychology experts who work extensively with type theory) asked me to write a blog about my observations and learning.
To read the full article on the OPP website CLICK HERE
I’ve used the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) with doctors for many years and have always found it to be an incredibly useful way for people to gain deeper insight into their preferences and behaviours.
For the younger doctors it’s a great way to access data into how they have specialised their core personality attributes and for older doctors it’s a powerful tool to support continual professional development, especially around leadership.
So as part of my CPD for 2015 I decided to train in MBTI ‘step II’. If you’ve ever done MBTI you will know that the process involves you learning about Carl Jung’s four preferences areas (called dichotomies) that then group people into one of two alternatives for each dichotomy. See below.
Working through all four dichotomies results in a combination of four letters that can describe what your basic personality tools are and how you prefer to use them. You will end up with a four letter ‘Type’, e.g. ENTP or ISFJ. It triggers great conversations about how people behave (especially at work) and gives useful ideas about how you can get the best out of yourself.
But, this ‘off the peg’ result might not always fit perfectly. This is where MBTI step II helps. Taking your result from step I, step II drills down deeper into each dichotomy preference by describing five key components (facets) that make each area. This means the results of a MBTI step II report are much more tailored to fit you.
As part of my step II training last week I had to undertake the test myself. It was fascinating to be on the other side of the experience for once and to learn new things about myself.
For example, I’ve a clear preference for Extroversion but never quite understood why I don’t particularly relish large social gatherings. It turns out that my preference in the facet that deals with this (Gregarious – Intimate) is not weighted towards Gregarious. It helps me understand more deeply how and why I make decisions about large gatherings of people and how I handle myself during them. Below illustrates the Facets that make up Extroversion and Introversion. In total MBTI Step II measures twenty facets (five for each dichotomy).
I can see this being incredibly useful for the doctors I work with. They always appreciate learning about themselves and how this can positively impact their work, but to have a more advanced level of self awareness will be of great value.
‘Know thyself’ is as relevant now, as it was in ancient Greece.
I recently ran a session for the Leicester Faculty of the RCGP for their First5 group. It was an evening session on a very cold and windy March night, but we had a full house. I used the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) to give attendees insight into their personal preferences about how they naturally interact with the world, plan and organise their lives, make decisions and cope with change. Whilst we had a lot of fun, it was really interesting to see how individuals came to terms with some pretty intrinsic truths about themselves and how these might affect their transition from training programme to independent practice.
When I attended the session I did not really know what to expect- but afterward I feel like I have got to know myself so much better…In the busy world that is general practice and with the increasing pressure it was a breath of fresh air to be able to take a step back and assess my personality not only professionally but also personally. I feel that I have the tools to deal with future tensions better and also to be able to recognise when that is also not the case.” GP Attendee.
Knowing thyself and managing yourself are so important in the challenging and pressurised environments Doctors function in. Taking time to read your emotions and review the affect you have on others is vital for your development, as well as fundamental to your leadership and management effectiveness.
But it’s not easy. Doing things that come naturally or are habit can be straightforward to you. But doing things that you find difficult or are outside of your comfort zone are a different matter. And when you have to do something like this then your internal battle is tough. Knowing yourself and finding ways to out manoeuvre the urge to avoid things that you have to do, is a powerful self management tool.
Building Self Awareness
You can access a whole host of tools that can help you to build self awareness such as MBTI, Emotional Intelligence, Hogan etc and these are very useful. However I think it’s your inner voice and the relationship you have with yourself that is the greatest indicator of affective self awareness. I’m re-reading Dr Steve Peter’s (Psychiatrist) The Chimp Paradox at the moment. It’s really helping me train for the 10k I’m doing in July as my urge to not run is strong! But the book is supporting me to develop a more honest and realistic relationship with myself about running. See more about The Chimp Paradox HERE. We can be thankful that for most of us our brain is developable at any stage of our lives, so we can keep learning about ourselves.
If you would like to talk over Coaching to build self awareness call me on 0754 0593476 or email me at email@example.com
NB, Dr Steve Peters is now working with the England football squad, so that should test the model…
Delivering the right kind of communication approach to different people or groups
One of the tools I often use with clients is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). More info – Click Here.
It’s a really useful way to identify how individuals differ in the way they prefer to use their minds.
Do doctors communicate differently?
One area the indicator highlights is communication style. It shows whether people prefer to communicate in a systematic and factual way, or, in a way that explores opportunities and patterns. This was investigated in research published in Medical Education in 2004. The researchers argued that medics differed significantly from the general population and that intervention was needed early on in medical careers to support trainees in developing their ability to ‘flex’ towards the communication style of their patients.*
Well, the doctors I work with are well-established and highly competent communicators well used to communication adaption with patients. But what they are able to reflect upon when reviewing their MBTI results is how their communication preferences affect other parts of their professional life. That is, how they communicate with other team members, managers, commissioners and other clinical colleagues.
Crucial communication skills developed in the consultation room are transferable to other professional relationships, and the MBTI (and Emotional Intelligence) tools I use help doctors realise what they have got and how they can broaden their use.
Call 0754 0593476 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org to book your online MBTI test.
*An awful lot of work has gone into the communication development of medical trainees in recent years. For interest, the paper also shows the preferences of male and female doctors. Click Here to visit link.