How many times during your day are you puzzled by the feelings, thoughts or actions of your patients, peers or staff. They can be so different from yours. Although you’d like to think they are wrong, and you are right, you know that can’t always be the explanation. The answer is found in one word; Personality. First, you have to accept that not everyone feels and thinks as you do. Secondly, you have to learn about the different personality types. Then why other people do what they do will make sense. Here’s an explanation of the Myers Briggs personality types.
There are four components to the personality types: Extraversion versus Introversion, Sensing versus Intuition, Thinking versus Feeling, and Judging versus Perceiving.
Extraversion/Introversion reflects how you utilize energy: Extraverts like variety and action and prefer to think out loud, act impulsively and reach out to other people. Introverts must concentrate, reflect and think before acting and tend to avoid other people.
Sensing/Intuition( N) concerns how you gather information: Sensors want detailed, accurate information and concentrate on the present reality. Intuits use insights from their experience and relationships and are more future oriented.
Thinking/Feeling determines how you make decisions: Thinkers use an objective, analytical approach, weighing the pros and cons before making a decision. Before making a decision, Feelers must first consider the impact it will have on others.
Judging/Perceiving focuses on whether you like to plan or be more spontaneous in your life: Judgers make their decisions quickly so they can plan their work and work their plan. Perceivers enjoy gathering information more than reaching a decision and prefer to respond in the moment rather than make a plan.
The Sensing/Intuitive and Thinking/Feeling functions are developed early in life and determine how we function, how we solve problems and the kind of work we like to do. One of these is our dominant function that reflects who we really are. Here are some characteristics of these functions. See if you can figure out which you are.
Sensing: I’m all about stability. Everything has to make sense.
Intuitive: I’m all about change. Everything needs to appeal to my imagination.
Thinking: I’m all about effectiveness. Things have to be logical.
Feeling: I’m all about integrity. I need to consider peoples’ needs and feelings.
Now pick your second choice. When you put these two functions together, you can see your preferences for how you approach life and work. To figure out which you are look at this table:
ST SF NF NT
How others describe you: Logical Friendly Insightful Ingenious
Practical Sympathetic Enthusiastic Logical
Type of work you prefer: Useful Personal People-oriented Complex
Tangible Social Creative Theoretical
Now that you have figured out your own personality, look at the people around you. If your boss is a ST and you are a NF, can you see how you might experience conflict? What if your patient is a NT and you are a SF? Do you now see why your sympathy may not be appreciated by this patient? Once you understand the different personality types, you can communicate and work with people who may feel, think and act differently than you do.
(The information on the personality types and the table are taken from the book, Work it Out by Sandra Krebs Hirsh)