Check Your Hard Wiring

May 1, 2005

Understanding your natural, hard-wired talents is a first step toward fully developing your potential. Take a look at the personality types described here and see if you recognize yourself.

So men are from Mars and women are from Venus, and sometimes the stars get crossed when it comes to relationships. But what happens when a Chief and a Nurturer work together in the same practice? Do these personality types complement one another or is it a recipe for conflict? What's the best work setting for each of them?

The Swiss psychologist Carl Jung described 16 personality types, a natural "hard wiring" each of us has that influences how we navigate and experience the world - and by extension, how much we enjoy it and are successful in what we do. In a broad sense, your hard wiring determines your:

  • Social energy - do you tend to be extroverted or introverted?
  • Information-gathering style - do you rely on facts and data or your own intuition?
  • Decision-making style - are you guided by your feelings or logical analysis?
  • Propensity for planning - do you like things orderly and neat or changeable and flexible?  

Know your type

Understanding your natural, hard-wired talents is a first step toward fully developing your potential. Take a look at the personality types described here and see if you recognize yourself.

Warrior - You're a trailblazer who steps up first to fight for the cause - and you're often the voice of dissent. Are you on the front line rallying your physician colleagues to stand up for their rights? Have you been accused of "starting a fight" for no good reason, or being confrontational? Your energy and courage can serve a group well, for example, as a representative for negotiating a merger. Outside of healthcare, charitable foundations would love to have you as a spokesperson.

Artist - Artists in medicine must create the time for expression both in and outside of practice. How about volunteering on the marketing committee of your hospital or sponsoring an art-in-medicine exhibit showcasing fellow artists?

Chief - You relish creating stability, organization, and movement. Chiefs without a large enough organization or constituency may be frustrated by their inability to have an effect on the big picture. In healthcare, fortunately, there are many outlets for chiefs - medical director, head of department, or project leader.

Facilitator - This is the "earth mother/father" whose goal is to comfort, protect, and nourish the flock. In medicine, a facilitator often does well in the team setting of clinical practice. If you're a facilitator, you're strong in heated situations where consensus-building and fair negotiation are needed.

Analyzer - For you, everything is a system, with integrated parts and a set of principles that guide its movement. You may find your talents useful in strategy or operations committees; you may feel frustrated when the complexity of healthcare fails to conform to the elegant picture in your head.

If you're feeling frustrated that you don't fit in at work, or that you've chosen the wrong career path, learning more about yourself can help you take a different view of your workday and your profession. Recognizing your personality type and innate strengths is one place to start. Remember, life is what you make it: rethink your practice environment, join a hospital committee, volunteer for a project at your health system, or find a hobby that can help you recharge your hard wiring.

Francine R. Gaillour, MD, MBA, FACPE, is president of The Gaillour Group, an executive coaching resource for physicians who want to develop their potential as leaders, entrepreneurs, and business professionals. Her transition into business management came after 10 years of practicing in internal medicine. She can be reached at francine@physicianleadership.com, (888)562-7289, www.physicianleadership.com, or at editor@physicianspractice.com

This article originally appeared in the May 2005 issue of Physicians Practice.