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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Conquering and Compelling the Four personality types (part 1 of 2)

When I first met one of my best friends - Nancy - I did not like her AT ALL. In fact I was completely annoyed by her. We met at a job I had right after college and I just couldn't understand why she always wanted to stop by just to "chat". I had work to do! What I didn't know then is that she was trying to gradually bring me into her circle of trust.

If I would've done my research I would've learned a ton about the four basic personalities and could have saved myself a decades worth of grief. Unfortunately, I just learned about the four personality types - in a way that is so SIMPLE to understand - about a month ago. In truth I've learned about the personality types before but, it was always in a confusing way.

Today, I will talk about the history of the four personality types, a very simple way to understand the four personality types and how you can use that knowledge to deal with people who have a personality that differs from yours.


Now you've likely at some point heard of the four different personality types or even possibly taken a personality test for a job or even paid for a test when you were reevaluating your own career. For you, this will be a quick review - feel free to scroll down. If you haven't ever heard of different personalities, here are the basics:

Hippocrates (yeah they didn't have irises back then) By El Bibliomata
Back in about 400 B.C. the Great Physician Hippocrates incorporated the theory on the four different temperaments. These were based on bodily fluids that were thought to affect the humors - or personality traits.

  • There was the Sanguine: - Pleasure seeking and sociable
  • There was the Choleric - Ambitious and leader-like
  • There was the Melancholic - Introverted and thoughtful 
  • There was the Phlegmatic - Relaxed and quiet
Then fast-forward to the1960's when Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers; came up with the Myer's -Briggs Type Indicator system. David Keirsey, a psychologist, did extensive research of the personalities by exploring the four personality and after thorough research renamed the the four personality traits as follows.

  • The Guardians 
  • The Idealists
  • The Artisans
  • The Rationals
However, with all due respect, Dr. Keirsey made the subject even more complex by expanding each of the four personality types by by making four separate subtypes for each  individual personality type. So in essence Keirsey took some of the concepts in the Myer's-Briggs 16  personality types model and tried to improve upon them. For me at least -it's very confusing to try and keep track of all 16 personality types.


Then about a month ago, I came across a speech by Dr. Robert Rohm that made it so simple! It is basically a graph with four sides.

On the TOP of the Graph - There are OUTGOING personalities.

On the BOTTOM of the Graph - There are RESERVED personalities

On the LEFT side of the Graph - There are TASK-ORIENTED personalities

On the RIGHT side of the Graph - There are RELATIONSHIP-ORIENTED personalities

  • So now Sanguine = Influencer = Outgoing and Relationship Oriented/Focused 
  • So now Choleric = Dominant = Outgoing and Task Oriented/Focused
  • So now Melancholic = Cautious = Reserved and Task Oriented/Focused 
  • So now Phlegmatic = Supportive = Reserved and Relationship Oriented/Focused
Influencer = These are people who have fun and are fun to be around - Nancy definitely fits into this category - This type of person can go into a room knowing no one and leave having 10 new BFF's. They influence others easily. I can think of a one word name as a good example - Oprah.

Dominant = These are without a doubt the leaders - they go after goals and achieve them sometimes at the cost of a relationship. This type of person gets a kick out of achievement. If you get in their way they might just run you over though. A good example would be the late Steve Jobs.

Cautious = These people do their homework and come off as know-it-alls from time to time. They often lack social skills but can likely teach you a lesson or two about chess or say computer programming or investing. They also do NOT like to be wrong. Bill Gates & Warren Buffett would be a good example of this. If you're a TV fan - Sheldon from big bang theory is another good example. From time to time I count myself in this area - in other situations I can be Dominant. 

Supportive = These people are here to help and support others. They shy away from the spotlight but are very loyal to those that they know and love. My wife is a good example of this personality in some instances. Another good example of this at least character wise would be Natalie Portman’s Character Evie in V for Vendetta – at least at the beginning of the movie. 

I’ve gone a little long on this post so to give you time to think about where you fit in I’ll conclude this post next week with a post entitled “How You Can Use Your Personality (and that of others) To Your Advantage”. + I'll explain how Nancy and me and other Influencer's have become friends. 

If you're still not sure about what personality type you are - take a look at the personality tests on Dan Miller's site (and 'yes' this is an affiliate link)