It takes all types to make the world go round

The million $ question is:

Do You Know Your Type

“If you will allow me any of my own wants, or emotions, or beliefs, or actions, then you open yourself to the possibility that someday these ways of mine might not seem so wrong, and might finally appear as right - for me. To put up with me is the first step to understand me.

Not that you embrace my ways as right for you, but that you are no longer irritated or disappointed with me for my seeming waywardness. And one day, perhaps, in trying to understand me, you might come to prize my differences, and, far from seeking to change me, might preserve and even cherish those differences.”


I had just finished calculating my score. My letters read ENFJ, Idealist Teacher. “So I am an Idealist Teacher”, I thought. “Nice. But what is an Idealist? And why a Teacher?” As usual, I had a ton of questions and was eager to find the answers.

Profound intensity was building up inside of me as I was plowing through the pages of “Please Understand Me II”, devouring each and every word and with a childlike excitement I shouted out:

“See, I am not crazy! I’m just one of my kind! And we are called Idealists.”

This was my very first experience with Dr. D. Keirsey’s model of the 4 Temperaments 17 years ago, and my passion for this understanding of the human makeup has only grown ever since. It has helped me understand myself and others, and figure out why some people are fundamentally different from me when others are surprisingly similar. 


“There is much to be gained by appreciating differences, and much to be lost by ignoring them or condemning them. But the first step toward seeing others as distinct from yourself is to become better acquainted with your own traits of character.”  — DR. DAVID KEIRSEY


So what is the Keirsey Temperament Sorter model?

Keirsey’s model was first introduced to the global stage through its international bestsellers, Please Understand Me (1978), and its successor, Please Understand Me II (1998). It’s recognized as the definitive leading authority on temperament theory.

The model is based on the notion that individuals are predisposed to develop into one of the 4 different configurations of attitudes and actions; that people are highly formed at birth, with fundamentally different inclinations to act in a certain way. Temperament is the inborn form of human nature.

Though the primary focus of the model is on Temperament, it also identifies and defines Character and Personality.

Character is all the attributes of features that make up and distinguish an individual. Character is a configuration of mental and ethical traits and habits. It's disposition. Character is the emergent form of human nature, which develops through the interaction of Temperament and Social Context (environment).  

The Social Context comprises of family, friends, mentors, role models, and education. Religious, geopolitical, and socioeconomic background. Culture, language, and traditions…. We all have a different Social Context.

And finally Personality. Keirsey’s model looks at personality as the unique and intertwined configuration of Temperament and Character.

The Temperament model is a systematic analysis and interpretation of Communication and Action styles based on this simple matrix:

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It’s important to point out that the 4 types of temperament have a close and clear relation to each other in this 4-cell matrix. The types which border with each other on a vertical or horizontal line, share a common trait.

For example, Artisans and Rationals are both utilitarian (vertical line). Artisans and Guardians are both concrete (horizontal line). The opposite type of the Artisans is the Idealists (diagonal line).

Now before I start boring you with technicalities and theoretical explanations, let’s zoom into the 4 Temperament types and see what I'm actually talking about. 


Introducing the Artisans/SPs

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Artisans are the Action Temperament. Artisans make approximately 35% of the general population.

They are adaptable, artistic, athletic, are easy going.

They do not fight reality but rather enjoy life as it is. Want first-hand experiences.

Artisans are often gifted with machines and tools, skillful.

They are good-natured. Tolerant and unprejudiced.

Have no use for theories.

Know what’s going on and look for the workable compromises.

Artisans are open minded, persuasive.

They see the needs of the moment.

They notice reality and are sensitive to color, line, texture, and sound.

Artisans value potency, generosity, creativity, and adaptability.

They seek stimulation, adventure, variety, and the time/space to perfect their skills.

They express themselves excitedly while making deals, taking risks, playing games, and entertaining others.

They need freedom and flexibility to act on impulse and be spontaneous in their decisions.

Artisans have tactical talents in sales, marketing, operations, various forms of art, working with their hands, troubleshooting, and crisis management.


Introducing the Guardians/SJs:

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Guardians are the Cornerstone Temperament. Guardians make approximately 45% of the general population.

Guardians are dependable, factual, sensible and stable.

They are routinized, thorough, consistent, detailed and hard-working.

Guardians are not impulsive or easily distracted.

They are good at maintenance, at citing cases and meeting the tangible needs of others.

Guardians value experience, security, authority and respectability.

They seek higher levels of responsibility and clear paths to advancement.

Guardians express themselves while observing traditions, following rules, and taking part in social activities.

They need routines, stable structures, familiar processes, and clearly defined procedures to do their best work.

They have logistical talents in establishing processes, executing methodically, managing goods and services, and upholding standards.

Introducing the Idealists/ NFs


Idealists are the Personal Temperament. Idealists make approximately 15% of the general population.

Idealists are humane, benevolent and sympathetic.

They are enthusiastic, authentic and inspirational.

They are insightful, intuitive, creative, and linguistic.

Idealists value meaning, integrity, and human development.

They seek relational harmony, good feelings, and self-improvement. But above all, they seek true identity, higher purpose and deeper meaning.

Idealists express themselves enthusiastically while championing causes and inspiring others to reach their full potential.

They need meaningful work, relational connection, and a personal, creative work environment.

Idealists have diplomatic talents in mentoring and guiding personal development, resolving conflicts, and improving communication.


Introducing the Rationals/NTs

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Rationals are the Innovation Temperament. Rationals make approximately 10% of the general population.

Rationals are abstract, logical, analytical and complex.

They are curious, ingenious, intellectual, inventive.

Rationals are theoretical, systematic, research orientated and scientific.

They are efficient, exacting, independent and impersonal.

Rationals value knowledge, competence, reason and achievement.

They seek efficiency, intellectual stimulation, and solutions to problems.

Rationals express themselves calmly while critiquing and questioning the status quo, always insisting on a logical basis for action.

They need worthwhile challenges, and autonomy to be able to solve complex problems.

Rationals have strategic talents in complex planning, structural design, reframing arguments, exploring theoretical concepts, and systems analysis.


Each of the 4 Temperament types is divided into 4 subtypes and we’ll be looking at those in greater detail in further articles.

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The desire to understand the human makeup has been one of the central themes puzzling the minds and hearts of writers, teachers, philosophers, doctors, psychologists, clergy, and all kinds of thinkers throughout the ages of human history. Personologists from different times and cultures have not only focused on understanding people and their relationships, but also on designing tools to help them probe, identify and define. That’s why there are so many personality assessments tools out there. The Temperament Matrix is one of those tools.

In essence, it focuses on temperament as the inherent personal style, a predisposition that shapes our natural inclinations: what we think and feel, what we want and need, what we say and do. In other words, temperament is the inborn, factory-installed, hard-wired base of our personality.

The signs of this underlying character can be observed from a very young age, long before families, peer groups or social forces have made their imprint on the individual. This means that all of us in the course of growing up (unless seriously interfered with), will develop a consistent pattern of attitudes and actions which are the expression of our temperament.

This model divides people into 4 fundamentally different and uniquely valuable types of temperament. There is no better, or more effective, useful or superior type because it takes all types to sustain the balance and make the world go round.

Disclaimer: This quiz is just an indication and not a proper assessment. If it intrigued your curiosity and you liked it, then you would definitely love my Blueprint package. It's a two 90 min Temperament Assessment & clarification sessions and includes a detailed "Temperament In The Workplace" report. 

Maria Angelova