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Recognizing Personality Type in Motivations

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Recognizing Personality Type in Motivations

Temperament book
Temperament book

Your personality can be described in many different ways. People have been trying to define what makes us, us, for many years. Another word often used to describe people is character, yet another is temperament. Temperament Theory probably began around 450 bc with Hippocrates' description of four physical dispositions: Choleric, Melancholic, Phlegmatic, and Sanguine.

Over time, authors like Paracelsus, Myers, and Keirsey have refined these definitions. From the MBTI® language you may be familiar with the combinations NF, SJ, NT, and SP. Having said that, it is important to recognize that Temperament theory is separate from, for example, the Myers-Briggs interpretation of Jung's theory of personality type.

In my work with Temperament theory, I use the Berens' terminology: Catalyst™, Stabilizer™, Theorist™, and Improviser™. To avoid misunderstanding with temperament in terms of someone's attitude, Linda is using Essential Motivators to describe our deep psychological needs, and the values we have to help us fill those needs.

Awareness of your Essential Motivators will aid your understanding of

  • Core psychological needs
  • Innate talents and skills
  • Typical behaviors that stress or energize you

The four Temperaments describe a pattern of needs and values, which in turn connect with different behaviors and skill sets.

Excerpt from "Understanding Yourself and Others® - An Introduction to the 4 Temperaments 4.0" by Linda V. Berens, Ph.D. (with permission).

The Catalyst™ Temperament

The core needs are for the meaning and significance that come from having a sense of purpose and working toward some greater good.They need to have a sense of unique identity. They value unity, self-actualization, and authenticity. People of this temperament prefer cooperative interactions with a focus on ethics and morality. They tend to trust their intuition and impressions first and then seek to find the logic and the data to support them. Given their need for empathic relationships, they learn more easily when they can relate to the instructor and the group.

They tend to be gifted at unifying diverse peoples and helping individuals realize their potential. They build bridges between people through empathy and clarification of deeper issues. They use these same skills to help people work through difficulties. Thus, they can make excellent mediators, helping people and companies solve conflicts through mutual cooperation. If working on a global level, they champion a cause. If working on an individual level, they focus on growth and development of the person.

The Stabilizer™ Temperament

The core needs are for group membership and responsibility. They need to know they are doing the responsible thing. They value stability, security, and a sense of community. They trust hierarchy and authority and may be surprised when others go against these social structures. People of this temperament prefer cooperative actions with focus on standards and norms. Their orientation is to their past experiences, and they like things sequenced and structured. They tend to look for the practical applications of what they are learning.

They are usually talented at logistics and at maintaining useful traditions. They masterfully get the right things in the right place, at the right time, in the right quantity, in the right quality, to the right people, and not to the wrong people. They know how things have always been done, so they anticipate where things can go wrong. They have a knack for attending to rules, procedures, and protocol. They make sure the correct information is assembled and presented to the right people.

The Theorist™ Temperament

The core needs are for mastery of concepts, knowledge, and competence. People of this temperament want to understand the operating principles of the universe and to learn or even develop theories for everything. They value expertise, logical consistency concepts, and ideas and seek progress. They tend toward pragmatic, utilitarian actions with a technology focus. They trust logic above all else. They tend to be skeptical and highly value precision in language Their learning style is conceptual, and they want to know the underlying principles that generate the details and facts rather than the details alone.

They prefer using their gifts of strategic analysis to approach all situations. They constantly examine the relationship of the means to the overall vision and goal. No strangers to complexity, theories, and models, they like to think of all possible contingencies and develop multiple plans for handling them. They abstractly analyze a situation and consider previously unthought-of possibilities Researching, analyzing, searching for patterns, and developing hypothesis are quite likely to be their natural modus operandi.

The Improviser™ Temperament

The core needs are to have the freedom to act without hindrance and to see a marked result from action. People of this temperament highly value aesthetics, whether in nature or art. Their energies are focused on skillful performance, variety, and stimulation. They tend toward pragmatic, utilitarian actions with a focus on technique. They trust their impulses and have a drive to action. They learn best experientially and when they see the relevance of what they are learning to what they are doing. They enjoy hands-on, applied learning with a fast pace and freedom to explore.

The tend to be gifted at employing the available means to accomplish an end. Their creativity is revealed by the variety of solutions they come up with. They are talented at using tools, whether the tool be language, theories, a paint brush, or a computer. They tune into immediate sensory information and vary their actions according to the needs of the moment. They are gifted at tactics/ They can easily read the situation at hand, instantly make decisions, and, if needed, take actions to achieve the desired outcome.

Image by Opensource.com, Flickr, Creative Commons License.

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Recognizing Personality Type in Behaviors

Linda V. Berens, Ph.D. developed a model of four different Interaction Styles. These explain how we use our behaviors and energies to influence and relate to others. Awareness of your Interaction Style will allow you to

  • Improve private and professional relationships
  • Enjoy more effective communication
  • Develop more flexible leadership and team working skills

The four Interaction Styles describe patterns of different communication, role, and attention preferences. They form the basic framework for each style.

During a recent Interaction Styles Workshop, a participant commented on how some of his IT team members don't say anything during meetings. I suggest how a knowledge of Interaction Styles may provide actionable strategies to create more effective cooperation. (Note: due to the position of the camera, the participant's audio is a little low and I move out of frame.) Slide graphic taken from the Berens CORE™ Approach (with permission). Excerpt from "Understanding Yourself and Others® - An Introduction to Interaction Styles 2.0" by Linda V. Berens, Ph.D. (with permission).

Chart-the-Course™ The theme is having a course of action to follow. People of this style focus on knowing what to do and keeping themselves, the group, or the project on track. They prefer to enter a situation having an idea of what is to happen. They identify a process to accomplish a goal and have a somewhat contained tension as they work to create and monitor a plan. The aim is not the plan itself, but to use it as a guide to move things along toward the goal. Their informed and deliberate decisions are based on analyzing, outlining, conceptualizing or foreseeing what needs to be done.

Behind-the-Scenes

The theme is getting the best result possible. People of this style focus on understanding and working with the process to create a positive outcome. They see value in many contributions and consult outside inputs to make an informed decision. They aim to integrate various information sources and accommodate differing points of view. They approach others with a quiet, calm style that may not show their strong convictions. Producing, sustaining, defining and clarifying are all ways they support a group's process. They typically have more patience than most with the time it takes to gain support through consensus for a project or to refine the result.

In-Charge

The theme is getting things accomplished through people. People of this style are focused on results, often taking action quickly. They often have a driving energy with an intention to lead a group to the goal. They make decisions quickly to keep themselves and others on task, on target, and on time. They hate wasting time and having to back-track. Mentoring, executing actions, supervising, and mobilizing resources are all ways they get things accomplished. They notice right away what is not working in a situation and become painfully aware of what needs to be fixed, healed, or corrected.

Get-Things-Going

The theme is persuading and involving others. They thrive in facilitator or catalyst roles and aim to inspire others to move to action, facilitating the process. Their focus is on interaction, often with an expressive style. They Get-Things-Going™ with upbeat energy, enthusiasm, or excitement, which can be contagious. Exploring options and possibilities, making preparations, discovering new ideas, and sharing insights are all ways they get people moving along. They want decisions to be participative and enthusiastic, with everyone involved and engaged.

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