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    Oct 31, 2014    |   Psychometrics

The Tricks n’ Treats of Temperament


Type temperament that arises from 4 combinations of preferences can be conceptualized as the inborn and life-course persistent motivators that help motivate behaviour. According to Keirsey and Bates (1995), temperament drives behaviour because behaviour is the mechanism by which we attain what we must have. For this reason, temperament relates closely with what we value most, how satisfied we are, or how stressed we become. If our needs – or motivators – are being met, satisfaction abounds. By the same token, anxiety and tension arises from a non-fulfillment these same needs.

Being aware of our temperament can help recognize – and optimize – what brings us well-being both personally and professionally while also working to minimize potential stress. Moreover, by being more aware of your colleagues’ temperaments, perhaps you can better understand how to accommodate their needs as well. Give yourselves and others more of the treats, and less of the tricks of temperament. Your team will be all the more cohesive (and much less stressed) as a result.

Try to keep the following in mind:

Rationals/Theorists – NT (INTJ, ENTJ, INTP, ENTP)
Theorists are often described as versatile, inventive, and rational thinkers. The combination of NT preferences generally gives rise to a curious, conceptual and knowledge-seeking disposition and these individuals may seek out activities that provide opportunity for designing, analyzing, philosophical hypothesizing and critical thinking.
Treats/Values for Rationals: Mastery, self-control or Autonomy, knowledge and competence.
Tricks/Stressors for Rationals: Powerlessness, incompetence, poor quality, lack of knowledge.
Type Tip: When working with NT preferences, make sure you give them the appropriate amount of independence and control over their own work, especially if you find yourselves leading theorists. Additionally, giving them the proper resources via information and highly-skilled teammates will help minimize their stress and optimize the creative output you stand to receive from these gifted and innovative individuals.

Artisans/Improvisers – SP (ISTP, ISFP, ESTP, ISTP)
Our action-oriented improvisers are described as opportunistic, spontaneous and impulsive while also being able to act on what is realistic and has the potential for very practical impact. Others will often see their SP counterparts as daring or courageous, open minded and skillful in the art of first-response especially in high tension or crisis filled situations due to their ability to adapt to present realities.
Treats/Values for Artisans: Freedom to act – and often quickly, excitement, responding to needs of the moment, making an impact, practical application.
Tricks/Stressors for Artisans: Boredom, routine, lack of control, loss of contribution or impact.
Type Tip: When working with improvisers, remember to always link ideas and vision to practical applications and opportunities for SPs to work autonomously to contribute in a realistic and viscerally-noticeable way. Their favourite kind of projects will therefore be those where they can immediately witness the results of their efforts. As a leader or teammate, remember that SPs will appreciate freedom to exercise their process within general parameters, so careful not to over manage their work activities.

Idealists/Catalysts – NF (INFJ, ENFJ, INFP, ENFP)
The NF preference temperament types are also referred to as the harmonizers and energizers in a team. They are usually described as authentic, harmonious and compassionate individuals with an inspirational approach to communication and a loyal disposition towards those on a team or in their interpersonal circles. For these reasons, they have a knack for getting people together and catalyzing group efforts in cooperative fashion.
Treats/Values for Idealists: Meaning and significance, personal identity, purpose and the opportunity to develop and hone potential.
Tricks/Stressors for Idealists: Insincerity, betrayal, lack of integrity, rejection and conflict in general.
Type Tip: In your communication with NFs, always remember to highlight the purpose and meaning behind a change, project or task and try to frame the situation as being pertinent to growth and development – this is speaking the NF language! Additionally, try to develop a connection with your catalyst counterparts – they are great people to have in your corner. Also remember to authentically validate their efforts – doing so will keep their engagement high and those creative insights coming!

Guardians/Stabilizers – SJ (ISTJ, ESTJ, ISFJ, ESFJ)
The Guardian Temperaments are considered responsible and dependable contributors with a loyal and cooperative attitude towards others, believing in the adage “Many hands make light work”. They value what is practical, and they enjoy being organized and orderly in their approach to work, a combination which others may perceive as conventionalism or being conservative in nature. They are often looked to as the pillars of structure within a team, who use organization to support the efforts of those around them to execute goals – especially ones that have been carefully thought out, usually by the SJs themselves.
Treats/Values for Guardians: Membership, belonging, responsibility, duty, contribution and structure.
Tricks/Stressors for Guardians: A sense of not belonging, insubordination, lack of security or uncertainty, unpredictability.
Type Tip: When working with SJs, ensure your team or organization gains consensus around procedures or structures that are sacred and should always be kept in mind. This will give the Guardians a sense of stability and structure while more flexible counterparts can enjoy spontaneity around other initiatives. As cooperation and support is important for SJs (regardless of T or F), strive to maintain an atmosphere of collaboration. Leaders, providing some consistency and clarity in role expectations as well as feedback around those expectations will go a long way in getting the best out of your guardian team members.

The more we continue to apply the value of type to understanding, accommodating and embracing the needs of those we work with, the more productive and engaged our teams can continue to be.

Happy Halloween to all my fellow type practitioners!!

Kiersey,D. and Bates, M. (1995). Please Understand Me. Del Mar, CA: Prometheus Nemesis Book Company.

Filed under: Type Talk

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