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Keirsey Temperaments
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David Keirsey’s four temperaments are related to personality types. They are based on the
theory that human beings come in four basic patterns.
According to Keirsey’s theory, there are four basic temperament groups which describe
human behavior. Essentially, Keirsey divided all of humanity into four key temperamental
groups. Each temperament has its own unique qualities, shortcomings, strengths and
challenges.
Keirsey’s four temperaments:
Artisan
Guardian
Idealist
Rational
About Temperament
Keirsey defines temperament as a configuration of observable personality traits, such as the
habits of communication, patterns of action, and sets of characteristic attitudes, values, and
talents. It also encompasses personal needs, the kinds of contributions that individuals
make in the workplace, and the roles they play in society.
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History of Personality Classifications and Temperaments
Keirsey’s personality groups are not new. Various personality classifications, personality
dimensions, or temperament have been proposed for over 2,000 years. Keirsey’s personality
groups represent key human archetypes found throughout history. Keirsey expanded on
the study of temperament by Hippocrates and Plato. Actually, the names of the classes were
the same as suggested by Plato.
Sixteen Types
Keirsey divided the four temperaments into two categories (roles), each with two types (role
variants). Hence, there are four types of Artisans, four types of Guardians, four types of
Rationals, and four types of Idealists. This makes up for 16 types in total.
Artisans
Composer
Crafter
Performer
Promoter
Guardians
Inspector
Protector
Provider
Supervisor
Idealists
Champion
Counselor
Healer
Teacher
Rationals
Architect
Fieldmarshal
Inventor
Mastermind
Correlation to Myers and Briggs
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The four classification of temperaments sub-classified into sixteen character types are
based on introversion versus extraversion, thinking versus feeling, judging and perceiving,
and sensation versus intuition. The resulting 16 types closely correlate with the 16
personality types described by Briggs and Myers
Keirsey himself has drawn a correlation between the four temperaments and the work of
Myers and Briggs. He found that certain types that were described by Myers and Briggs
corresponded closely to the four temperaments. Using the letter descriptors from the MBTI,
the correlations are as follows:
Artisans = SP
Guardians = SJ
Rationals = NT
Idealists = NF
About Keirsey Temperaments
Keirsey’s describes each temperament for their natural talents, interests, self-concepts,
values, and behavioral orientations.
Guardians
They are concrete and organized.
They are generally concerned with responsibility and duty.
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They seek security and belonging.
They tend to be hard-working, dependable, loyal, stable, and responsible.
They tend to be cautious and concerned with maintaining tradition.
Their greatest strength is logistics.
They excel at organizing, facilitating, checking, and supporting.
Idealists
They are abstract, cooperative, and compassionate.
They are generally concerned with personal growth and finding their own unique
identity.
They seek meaning and significance.
They tend to be enthusiastic, intuitive, romantic, truth-seeking, kind, inspiration, and
authentic.
They tend to seek self-knowledge, self-understanding, and strive to achieve their
ultimate potential.
Their greatest strength is diplomacy.
They excel at clarifying, individualizing, unifying, and inspiring.
Artisans
They are concrete and adaptable.
They are optimistic, realistic, bold, spontaneous, and focused on the here-and-now.
They are generally concerned with making an impact.
They seek stimulation and virtuosity.
Their greatest strength is tactics.
They excel at troubleshooting, agility, and the manipulation of tools, instruments, and
equipment.
Rationals
They are abstract, objective, and pragmatic.
They are generally concerned with their own knowledge and competence.
They seek mastery and self-control.
They tend to be pragmatic, independent, strategic, and skeptical.
Their greatest strength is strategy.
They excel in any kind of logical investigation such as engineering, conceptualizing,
theorizing, and coordinating.
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Keirsey Temperament Sorter
The Keirsey Temperament Sorter (KTS) is a self-assessed personality questionnaire designed
to help people discover their temperament. It was first introduced in his book “Please
Understand Me” and is one of the most widely used personality instrument.
The Temperament Sorter is a 70 question personality instrument that helps individuals
discover their personality type. The questions are designed to sort between four
dichotomous pairs of preferences, leading to results which reveal a person’s temperament
and character type. It closely associated with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
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