The Unique Psychological Traits of Lawyers

Did you know that lawyers deviate significantly from the general population on several key psychological traits? This brief video presentation Ethics Squared prepared for the Association for Professional Responsibility Lawyers, discusses the research of Dr. Larry Richard of LawyerBrain and what these unique psychological traits of lawyers mean for the legal profession and society. 

Why Personality Science Tools Will Be with Us Forever

Somewhere along your professional development journey you have likely taken a personality “test” or tool.  Whether it was the DISC, the Birkman, the Hogan, the Enneagram or the long misunderstood Myers-Briggs, people love taking these types of personality tools and learning more about themselves.

Just look your Facebook feed and all the posts from your friends sharing their results of those funny, frivolous “combine the name of the street you grew up on – with your favorite food – plus your age – to see the result” frolics.  FB personality frolics

And it is a good thing people like interacting with these tools (even the silly Facebook ones benefit our brain chemistry if it helps us connect with a friendSocial Media and Oxytocin  While scientists are busy debating which personality science tool has the best scientific grounding or best metrics (yes, personality science is a science) most people are ignoring the scientific debate and happily engaging with the personality tools which resonate with them.

Why?  Because they find the tool helpful!  If a personality tool resonates with a person, it is because it gives them greater clarity and understanding about interpersonal relationships, insight into themselves, and well, gosh darn it, they are just plain fun.  Even while scientists parse and discuss various metrics and uses of personality science tools, there is widespread agreement that:

. . . a relatively small number of personality traits can account for most of the ways in which people differ from one another. Thus, they are related to a wide range of important life outcomes. These traits are also relatively stable, but changeable with effort and good timing. [1]

If you are a company seeking to improve the professional development skills of your team through a personality science tool, yes, focus on the metrics, and also on whether the personality science tool resonates with people in a practical and helpful way.  If the results are too technical or not intuitive to them, the team member may not receive the intended benefit of the tool.

Know also that various tools give various people various information, all of which benefit the workplace if they help your team members gain better understanding of themselves and others.  For example, what I like about the Enneagram, a $12 online personality science tool (free from unofficial providers) is its focus on spirituality, something one would not normally associate with the workplace. But a primary goal of the Enneagram is its identification of each person’s subconscious fear. Why is knowing our subconscious fears important?

Psychologists and common sense both tell us that much unethical conduct results from subconscious fear – people are acting out in ways they are not consciously aware of, usually from fear.   The Enneagram, combined with other widely available personality science tools, can arm a person with an array of helpful tools for making better ethics decisions.

So, go ahead and enjoy those fun personality tests.  Here is a fun frolic where you can see which celebrities share your “type.”  (Confession:  I am geeked about being the same personality type as Oprah and Abraham Lincoln!)

Personality science and an individual’s worldview are components of ethical wellness, ethical wisdom and our professional identity.