Personality Matters

What is your personality type?

Your personality is that instantly-recognizable part of your soul that sets you apart from others. You have a distinct set of characteristics, behaviors, emotions and traits which makes you unique.

You may wonder about the various personality types (are there types?), and what is my personality type? Yes, although people are unique individuals, there are distinctive types of personality which have been studied and grouped together because they show collective traits, responses and behaviors.

Here is a 5 minute online test, quick and easy, to give you an indication of your type. Once done, there is plenty of information for you to read below, as well as detailed blog posts for each individual type.

What is the importance of knowing about personality types?

What benefit can there be to knowing about personality types? How does it help you? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot. Besides which, it is fascinating!

Having an understanding of the traits, strengths and weaknesses of each personality type will help you to better understand yourself and others, and help in your relationships.  We can do this by improving the way we interact with others, and our understanding of them!

  • You can use your knowledge and awareness of your own personality to work on your areas which need improvement in your life. (weaknesses).
  • You are also able to recognize and use your strengths. No two people have exactly the same set of strengths and weaknesses in their personalities, just as no two people have exactly the same combination of talents and abilities.
  • You can use this knowledge to more accurately choose a career suitable to your personality, skills, interests and values.
  • You can use your understanding in the workplace to achieve certain objectives, such as choosing the right people for certain jobs, or choosing project teams.
  • You will use your knowledge of what makes people “tick” to improve your relationships and have better quality relationships with those around you. Often, people are successful in every area of their lives, except for relationships.
  • Always remember though, that people are individuals! This is an indicator, not cast in concrete. As you observe people you will learn that certain traits and behavior is more likely to belong to a certain personality type than others, both strengths and weaknesses.

What personality types are there?

There are many different theories on Personality. Being a Psychology graduate, I learned many of these, but this is not meant to be an academic discussion. What I want to convey here, are helpful tips that you can use to improve some things in your life and be enlightened!

In my interest and study of personality types, the one system I like more than any other due to its simplicity, and its accuracy, is the one which proposes that there are 4 basic personality or temperament types.

The 4 Personality/Temperament Types

The 4 Temperament Types
Phlegmatic-Sanguine-Melancholy-Choleric

 

Overview of this theory and types

The concept of the four temperaments — choleric, melancholy, sanguine, and phlegmatic—dates back 2,000 years to Hippocrates, the “Father of medical science”. He held that differences in personalities were related to an individual’s predominant bodily fluid— hence, the rather unappealing names!

Choleric: yellow bile from the liver
Sanguine: blood from the heart
Melancholic: black bile from the kidneys
Phlegmatic: phlegm from the lungs

Whilst this sounds gross, the concept forms the basis of a compelling personality profiling system! This classification of personality has been expanded by some contemporary authors (Tim and Beverley La Haye and Florence Littauer) to great effect. If you are interested in what makes people tick, you will be fascinated by Florence’s book, Personality Plus! It is an easy read, and includes a personality quiz which you can use to determine your own personality, and the personalities of your family and friends. My copy is dog-eared from years of use…

Each of the 4 types has its own set of distinctive characteristics, strengths and weaknesses, which you will easily be able to identify once you know the basics. This will help in your relationships and in your dealings with different types of people. Two of the types are extroverts, and the other two are introverts.

The extroverts

The Sanguine personality
Extrovert Sanguine
Sanguine Personality

People orientated-emotional

This person is a talker, with an optimistic personality. They have a pleasing personality and they attract people to themselves. They are often larger-than-life, loud and popular – the entertainer who likes the sound of their own voice. They are expressive, often affectionate and often have a child-like quality. They may be forgetful, and a little ditzy. They like attention, and don’t shy away from it. They are friendly, with a good sense of humor. They like to have fun, and are motivated by it. They have a short attention span…recognize anyone yet?

The overall impression you get of this person is popular, fun and interesting.
The Choleric personality
Extrovert Choleric
Choleric Personality

Task orientated-unemotional

This individual is also outgoing, although usually less loud than the Sanguine. This is an action-orientated person, always on the go. They are ambitious and driven, a real “Type A” personality. They like to have their own way, can be boastful, and bossy. They are born leaders and love to take charge. They are decisive and unemotional, with little patience for weakness or sickness in others. They are goal-driven and have an annoying tendency to always be right!

The overall impression you get of this person is powerful, decisive and strong-willed.

The introverts

The Melancholy personality
Introvert Melancholy
Melancholy Personality

Task orientated-emotional

This person is very quiet, deeply sensitive and deep. They have very high standards, both for themselves and for others. They are caring and loyal to a fault, extremely task-orientated, and work in a consistent, organized manner. They do not enjoy attention on themselves. They are often highly creative (music, art or writing geniuses). They are self-sacrificing and have a deep concern for others. They are analytical and like to work from lists. They are great listeners with compassion for others. They are cautious when making friends, but are loyal friends themselves.

The overall impressive you get of the melancholy person is perfectionist, quiet and caring.
The Phlegmatic personality
Introvert Phlegmatic
Phlegmatic Personality

People orientated-unemotional

This person is also quiet, but not as quiet as the melancholy – they are more reserved than quiet. They are friendly if you approach them first, and are very laid-back and steady. They are very well-balanced people who seem to have it all together and don’t let much bother them. They are calm under fire, and are great peacemakers in disputes. They are soft-spoken, and move slowly. They are sympathetic and kind. They seem to fit in everywhere easily, and are witty – mainly with a dry humor delivered with a straight face – they don’t try to be funny, they just are. It’s difficult to be angry with them.

The overall impression of this person is peaceful, cool,calm and collected.
To sum up

You may be able to think of a few people, and even yourself, who display some of these tendencies in one or other of the temperaments. Although this is a broad overview, and there is much more involved, some character traits can be recognized. Most of the characteristics are consistent across the various types. There are some blends as well, where some people display characteristics of two types.

Much more is involved than this, but I hope you can see some traits which are recognizable. I was able to accurately use my knowledge of these types when working in a large bank and needing to choose project teams to work together (with my in-depth knowledge of course!)

If you are as fascinated by what makes people (and yourself!) tick, you may be interested in the Florence Littauer book, easy to read and humorous…mine is so dog-eared. I’ve used it to help so many people, and I’ve done many teachings as well. Great fun, and well worth a few dollars as you’ll get your money’s worth in improved relationships and understanding!

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