The Five Temperaments; An Overview
Part of the introduction for the Temperment/Social
media series with Elemental Truths
(written in my most serious of voices. ahem)
The most modern interpretation of Temperament Theory (as outlined by Drs Phyllis and Richard G Arno) recognizes 5 temperament types: Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic, Melancholy, and Supine. These elemental types come together in of our individual natures, making each of us a unique and complex blend of needs, wants and drives.
Below is a rough overview of each temperament in it’s idealized form:
Choleric: Control-Oriented Leaders
Motto: “When I say jump…”
Cholerics are born leaders, driven by a desire for power, authority and control. They are the bosses, the Generals, the directors of society, unafraid of conflict. At their best, they’re independent, decisive, goal oriented and visionary. But because of their dominant goal-oriented self-interest, they can also be cruel, egotistical, unemotional, domineering and unforgiving.
Sanguine: Fun-loving, attention-grabbing life of the party
Motto: “All the world’s a stage, and the sun is my spotlight!”
Sanguines light up the room when they walk in, thriving on attention and popularity. Their prime motivations? Fun, attention, and more fun. They need to feel popular, be praised, and they need to look good in a social sense. At their best, Sanguines are entertaining, outgoing, warm, friendly and responsive – but they can also be undependable, undisciplined, prone to exaggeration and egotistical.
Melancholy: Idealized Perfectionists
Motto: “Artist-Poet in search of kindred souls… ”
Melancholies are riven by what might be called a search for intimate perfection. Melancholies have a need not to just appear morally sound, but to *be* morally sound. Their quest for intimacy means they seek to be understood, to be appreciated, and accepted – but all within the limits of what they consider appropriate moral boundaries. At their best, they are creative, helpful, thoughtful, self-sacrificing and faithful, but their introspective natures and idealized desire for perfection can also make them moody, critical, resentful and suspicious.
Phlegmatic: Reserved, Quiet Peacemakers
Phlegmatics are natural diplomats, driven to create and maintain peace in their environment, peace between, peace within themselves. Their drive towards peace (and away from conflict) can be so strong that phlegmatics may appear to have no driving need at all, but their motivation manifests in a drive to simply maintain calm, and protect their own energy reserves. At their best, they have a high level of self control, remain calm in a crisis, and make good listeners. But their overwhelming need for calm can also make them indecisive, and even fearful, as well as prone to procrastination and avoidance of problems.
Supine: Servant-Leaders in search of purpose
Motto: “I answer to a higher authority.”
Motivated to be useful in a larger sense, Supines are driven to serve a higher cause than their own self-interest. This can lead them to appear subservient and even deferent when it comes to their own needs, but in the interest of their chosen causes, they can be fiercely assertive. At their best, they’re caring, gentle, dependable and loyal; at their worst they can be insecure, weak-willed, and indecisive, failings which sometimes lead them to be manipulative and to hold a grudge.
Everyone shares all of these core traits to some degree to one degree or another, and while we may have natural tendencies towards expressing some of the more strongly than others, we’re still free to adjust and adapt according to circumstance and need, making it a bit more complex than it may seem on the surface.
Still, a basic understanding of these Temperaments and how they’re expressed in each of us can offer valuable insight into ourselves, our business and personal relationships, and even society itself.
(For an even cooler, nifty widgety presentation
of this information, check out this interactive graphic
- Social Media and The Five Temperaments
- Why I Suck At Social Media (or maybe it’s social media that sucks?)
- The Five Temperaments; An Overview
- Surviving Social Media: The Supine Struggle
- Social Butterfly Meets Social Technology: The Challenge for Sanguines
- In Search Of Intimacy: The Melancholy on Social Media
- Quietly Participatory: The Phlegmatic and Social Media
- Control and Conquer! The Choleric and Social Media
- Test Your Temperament (the beta/pen & paper version)
- Temperamentally Yours…