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temperament

3 Tips to Maintain Your Self-Respect

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3 Tips to Maintain Your Self-Respect

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (public domain picture)

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
(public domain picture)

 

- Eleanor Roosevelt

Our brains are constantly at work, processing messages and releasing hormones based on often-unconscious cues. These hormones influence our moods and behaviors, and I invite you today to become a little more aware of how your levels of self-respect can trigger them.

Last week, I wrote about how people from different cultures allocate respect – some value achievement and believe personal effort can get you anywhere if you just work hard enough; and that is worthy of admiration. Society can shift and people make their own luck.

Others, probably based on historical socio-political circumstances and stronger class-systems, believe your own personal effort can only get you so far: what matters most is the family you’re born into, or the position you hold. Society is mostly stable and so are its people. 

We also mentioned how different personality types and Temperaments probably pay attention to different key items: for the Theorist™ (NT) that’s expertise, for the Catalyst™ (NF) that’s meaning, for the Stabilizer™ (SJ) that’s responsibility, and for the Improviser™ (SP) that’s freedom.

Now let me ask you:

How much do you respect yourself, and what is that opinion based on?

I think our measure of self-respect depends on at least two scales:

a) How do we compare to others, and
b) How do we compare to our own internal compass of values and morals.

Let’s briefly look at our own internal compass first.

It is probably calibrated during the first few years of our life, as we unconsciously mimic and take on our parents’ (and when in our teens, peers’) demonstrated behaviors as points of reference.

Yes, that’s demonstrated behaviors, not talked-about principles. If your Dad yells at you STOP SHOUTING, what are you going to remember? When it comes to impressionable children that we all once were, actions speak louder than words.

Of course, I don’t necessarily mean children will repeat their parents’ example; I think we all know that children also like to rebel and do the complete opposite of what they see at home. Either way, home sets the first frame of reference.

Your internal compass of values and morals, then, depends not only on the culture and time you grew up in, but also in what you saw demonstrated during your formative years, and how your innate psychological type preferences predisposed you to interpret and act on what you learned.

If you think of yourself as a conscientious person, you’ll feel like you let yourself down when you forget a friend’s birthday, for example. If you think of yourself as an expert, you’ll feel embarrassed when you don’t know the answer to a question, and so on. (If you want to pour yourself a cup of tea now and stroll down memory lane to see where your today’s values and self-respect may be rooted in, be my guest. I’ll wait here til you come back. :-))

Ready to move on? Good! Now then, since we’re social animals, I have to ask:

How do you compare yourself to others?

This scale is equally as interesting, and equally wrought with unconscious processes that some reflection will hopefully help us become more aware of.

Thanks to new technologies like fMRI and EEG scans helping to understand how our brain works, research into social inter-personal neuroscience is a lot easier now than it used to be – and we’re still only scratching the surface.

  • For example, did you know that feeling better about yourself activates the same reward-systems in your brain than if you won the lottery (Izuma et al 2008)?
  • You’ve probably heard about women of all sizes feeling bad after reading the (retouched!) glossy magazines (Hamilton et al 2007).
  • Or how about the one that shows being excluded from a group, aka experiencing ‘social pain’, lights up the same brain regions as actual physical pain (Eisenberger et al 2003)?

As far as I know, neither of these studies controlled for cultural or Type preferences. Still, all show indications that we are wired to co-exist and experience ourselves as part of a social system. Yes, we feel better when we’re aligned with our own values, but it’s also natural to compare ourselves to others. Hey, we even compare us to ourselves – just think of beating your time jogging around the park, or cleaning those candy jellies in 5 moves instead of 7.

Comparison happens. (Tweet this.)

And when it does, your brain sends out either happy-hormones (oxytocin) or stress-hormones (cortisol), depending on whether you see yourself better-than or less-than whatever or whomever you’re comparing yourself to.

Since lower levels of cortisol are linked to living longer and healthier lives, it’s in your best interest to have healthy levels of self-respect. Here’s how you can work on that:

1. Remember that you are valuable, just as you are.

Many of us grow up learning conditional love, like getting an extra hug when we cleaned up our room and being scolded when we traipsed muddy footsteps across the freshly mopped floor. You are no longer a child, you are an adult, and you are worthy of love and belonging. You are enough. Excellent resources I’d like to recommend here in case you need reminders are Brené Brown’s work on shame and vulnerability, and the 10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living.

2. Remember that it’s the 21st Century

You’re no longer a great ape in a herd who’s not getting fed if you mess up. Basically, that’s when these brain functions were established and where many of those stress levels come from. So, when you’re comparing yourself to someone else and feel like you’re coming up short, your brain will release cortisol, effectively shutting down your pre-frontal cortex (PFC). That’s the region that’s used for reasoning and all sorts of executive decision-making. In other words, every time you’re feeling less-than, you’re actually unable to talk yourself out of it, because that reasonable part of the brain isn’t getting enough oxygen or glucose to function properly. Your IQ literally drops a few points.

Take a deep breath to calm down. You won’t be able to in the very moment, but hopefully this awareness will help you get to that “oh wow, that conversation / person / situation really makes me feel inferior, I need to take a calm breath now”-moment faster. (Some studies also show a sugary drink might help boot up the PFC faster - but you might want to consider your teeth, wallet, and weight before you grab a coke.) You are an adult in the 21st Century, and you will be fine. Your survival is not threatened by an airbrushed size 2 teenager on the cover of a magazine at checkout. (Tweet this.)

3. Remember your power

How many times have you bragged about your achievements or talked down to someone else? It’s one thing to be proud of what you’ve worked for, and yes – you earned that. Celebrate it. Just remember whom you’re talking to. If your friend just got sacked, this may not be the right time to bring up your promotion. If your friend is 8 months pregnant, this may not be the right time to share your latest weight-loss and fitness tricks.

You’re not the only one comparing yourself to others, others also compare themselves to you. And I think we all know what it’s like when we’re just plain happy, share the happiness, and have our friends react defensively. It’s easy to think “gosh, they’re jealous; why can’t they just be happy for me?” and they probably are. But now you know, their brain is sending out stress hormones making them feel less-than-you

To sum up, how we think of ourselves actually influences our hormone-levels and consequently our mental and physical health. Many negative triggers are unconscious and challenging to get a handle on without the proper awareness. Hopefully, this article gave you at least one strategy to get yourself out of the less-than hole faster, namely love yourself, breathe, and have empathy for others.

In case of doubt, what would Eleanor Roosevelt do?  

Image by hehaden, Flickr, Creative Commons License.

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How Type and Culture interact

expats_MBTI overlay images

expats_MBTI overlay images

We come into the world born with a pre-disposition to use our brains in certain ways. We go out to seek interactions and experiences that allow us to shine and use our preferred functions, reinforcing their strength and our aptitude in using them. At the same time, our surroundings influence how we express our preferences. Depending on when and where we grow up, society’s and our family’s feedback may encourage or suppress development of our natural preferences.

Different cultures developed as a response to outside threats to ensure survival of the species. Today, cultural behavior is driven by values.

The introverted Feeling (Fi) function gives meaning to values. The position of Fi in our type code gives clues as to how conscious we are of our values preferences. An exploration of our own values is the first step to understanding our cultural preferences. In turn, we can begin to understand how and why people from other cultures behave differently.

For expats, international assignments are tremendous change processes. Temperament™ / Essential Motivators™ information helps expats to prepare and adapt to un-expected changes. The fourth function provides insight into potential stress triggers, while the third can be applied to reduce stress and being playful, enjoying one’s time abroad.

In my experience, especially with German clients, we have to pay particular attention to the verbiage of competence and experience. For Germans, these words – as well as education, knowledge, and mastery – are anchored in cultural beliefs. It is therefore common when discussing Theorist™ descriptors for Germans of all types to be drawn to the NT profile.

When working with international clients, it is important to verify their personality types through their cultural lenses. The practitioner or coach should ideally be aware of their own cultural programming and personality type preferences to reduce projection and misinterpretation, as well as have a basic understanding of the cultural values and beliefs in the client’s home country.

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From New York to Mexico: Alice gets an MBTI® assessment, culture training, and follow-up expat coaching

Business woman with suitcaseWe all know at least one person who is so comfortable with herself and confident in her abilities, she has a hard time seeing someone else's point of view, right? Let's call her Alice: Alice works in a health care company in New York State. Let's say they make blood pressure measuring machines that use the latest wireless technologies, so demand is growing rapidly. In her office, the idea of

"it's not personal, it's business"

prevails, and achieving sales goals is more important than being on good terms with other sales people. Her friends affirm to her on a daily basis that it's inspiring to see her excel at her work, kicking ass and taking names. They also admire the apartment and wardrobe she is able to afford. Her managers reward her by explaining that her integrity and focus show what leaders are made of; ready to make the tough call, and then reap the benefits of defending her position. She continually receives positive performance evaluations.

When Alice gets sent abroad to lead a project in Mexico, she knows she is the most qualified to see it through. The move was short-notice and the shareholders were putting pressure on everyone, so she didn't have time to take the culture training she was offered. After all, she has worked with some of the Mexican colleagues before, they know her, and she has only moved a few hundred miles South.

She sets up shop, gets to work as she is used to, and soon hits a wall. She chalks is up to getting used to the food and climate, maybe even blames her new colleagues a little for not keeping up with her pace, and decides to bring her best A-game yet. She begins setting stricter goals, speaking even more directly in meetings, and gripping on to her leadership get-it-done beliefs, which have now become convictions.

This has always worked in the past, and gosh darn it, she is here to do her job.

What she doesn't realize is that in Mexico, an orientation to team work, the community, nurturing relationships, and an indirect style of communication are the norm. Alice's insisting on doing what worked "at home" is stressful not just for herself, but also for her team. The Mexican colleagues continue to be friendly and agree with her in meetings, but they no longer meet their goals. Alice doesn't understand what's going on, and can only tell her superiors that people are agreeing with her but then turning around and doing something completely different. She doesn't know what else to do.

Coaching to the rescue

Her US American boss usually coaches her himself, but in this situation he thinks someone with first-hand experience might have a wider angle. He agrees with Alice to add coaching to her performance goals, and encourages her to choose someone specializing in expat leadership issues from www.theexpatcoachdirectory.com.

Alice speaks to two other coaches before choosing to work with me. After our introductory call, we agree we're a good fit, clarify what her goals for the coaching process are, and get to work.

The Process

The first thing I do is send her login details to take the MBTI(r) Step II questionnaire. She did it before but couldn't remember her letters, so she goes online to fill it in again, and once the results are in, we schedule a debrief to confirm them.

Sample MBTI Step II result screenshot

I'm in Texas and we could do this through Skype, but for our first meeting I'd like to see where she's at, so I fly to meet her in Mexico. We spend maybe two hours going over the MBTI(r) Step II results.

Looking at Temperament

Once we know her personality type preferences, we have a better understanding of what motivates her. For example, people with an NF in their code are so-called Catalysts™ who thrive on meaning and identity. Catalysts are great people-people who enjoy watching others grow and fulfilling their potential.

People with an SP in their code are called Improvisers™ and thrive on freedom and the ability to make an impact. They're the firefighters and troubleshooters who love being in the action.

If Alice has an SJ in her code, she's a Stabilizer™ and is probably driven by a sense of duty, responsibility, and belonging. Stabilizers appreciate hierarchies and defined roles, bringing structure and security to their communities and companies.

If Alice has an NT in her code, she's a Theorist™, driven by competence and self-control. Theorists value systems, strategies, and analysis, and are often the engineers or inventors of society.

We can also start looking at what possibly motivates her team and build bridges of understanding.

Underlying cultural values and how they affect behavior

Whatever the underlying motivation, it is clear that her current working practices are not achieving the results she's expecting. There's more to the puzzle. We would therefore spend another two or three hours looking at the differences between how leadership and business etiquette works in the USA, and how it works in Mexico. We might even throw in some socio-cultural questions, because I know she's wondering why everybody keeps inviting her to their homes, and how she can keep the black widow spiders out of her bathroom.

Pulling it together

Now Alice has a basic idea of a) how the general cultural values influence behaviors of everyone in both countries, and b) how individual differences show up in people's personality types. Her homework is to read the materials I've provided, and start paying attention to her interactions at work.

For about 3 weeks, she will jot down key items and interactions, send me a bunch of emails, and we'll look to decipher those interactions in our follow-up coaching sessions. The first one or two sessions will be reactive and learning from hindsight, but soon enough she will have practiced flexing her behaviors into what is customary among Mexicans. This will enable her to anticipate and better prepare for important vendor negotiations and client meetings.

After a total of maybe five or six sessions, we have reached our coaching goals and she is happy to let me go and continue by herself. Her confidence in herself and her abilities restored, she will likely enjoy her time in-country, build a valuable network of like-minded professionals, and deliver her project on time and within budget. She's happy to be back in the saddle, her team is happy to do their work, and her boss in New York is happy he didn't have to pull Alice out, move her back, find someone else to mend the fences in Mexico, and that the project is safe.

Happy people all-round for an investment of about $3,000 over a six-month period.

Does this story sound familiar?

Maybe you've been an expat or managed one and think "yeah right, in an ideal world. I've had training and it was hard anyway."

Becoming more aware of yourself with the help of the MBTI® or other self-assessment tools is a great start. But knowing a four-letter Type without decent follow-up means you'll soon forget the richness and potential.

Learning about your own cultural preferences and the values of your new colleagues and host country is essential on an assignment, or even a quick business trip. But having a framework without decent follow-up means you'll soon forget the richness and application.

That's why coaching is necessary to reinforce the learning, practice the new concepts until they become habits, and have the support of someone who's been there. To quote Aristotle,

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

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How do you tell someone they need cross-cultural training?

Slide from my type and culture presentation Depends.

  • Are they asking you?
  • Is this your opinion because you don't get along, and you think it's cultural?
  • Are you their manager and see them struggling?

I saw this question on LinkedIn and think that I would try and understand what's holding them back. Do they have the time, the budget, but just not the will? Or are they in denial and think they don't need it?

Either way, here are some thoughts:

1. In corporate settings, support from the executive or C-suite is crucial.

If the bosses don't BUY it, aka believe in the value and pay for it, the expats won't GET it, aka understand the value and learn to ask for it - without having to worry "This is hard, so I'm asking for help, but does that make me seem incompetent?"

No, it doesn't. It makes you seem like a smart planner and self-aware leader committed to personal and professional development.

2. Training or coaching can only land when the expat is open to it.

Especially in coaching where trust is essential, the expat cannot have the slightest doubt that the coach is in their corner. The relationship is usually stronger when the client chooses the coach. This may sounds contrary to 1., but there's a difference between making it available, encouraging employees to take advantage of them - and forcing it down people's throats. Great trainers and coaches can try and turn "prisoners" (i.e. participants in a training room who don't really want to be there) or unwilling clients around, but that starts the whole process off on the wrong foot.

3. Training or coaching is most effective when you can explain the benefits in your client's language

If I don't know the person I'll be working with, I like to add Temperament language that speaks to all four types. For example, "So you're abroad and your leadership style isn't working, but you're not sure if you should spend 3 hours on a training. What would it mean to learn how you can better meet your targets and get the results you have to deliver? (Stabilizer SJ) What would a significant increase in your ROI mean for your department? (Improviser SP) Think of the growth potential for your career and network! (Catalyst NF) You're new in this country and there's a learning curve - aren't 3 hours a reasonable investment if they can increase your effectiveness faster? (Theorist NT)"

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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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Stabilizer™ Temperament and Belonging

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Stabilizer™ Temperament and Belonging

As I'm working through Dr. Brené Brown's "The Power of Vulnerability" workshop I am reminded how Dr. Brown's research shows that all humans are wired for connection. We all have a deep-seated need to feel love and belonging. Except perhaps psychopaths who feel neither shame nor vulnerability.

The word 'belonging' in Type language is associated with the Stabilizer™ Temperament. In 450 BC, Hippocrates called it "Melancholic", later on Spränger called it "Economic", Keirsey called it "Guardian", and if you're familiar with your MBTI® result, it maps onto Sensing and Judging preferences (SJ). Temperament theory has been around for millennia, before Jung's Type theory, and it's a holistic view of a person's behavior and motivators.

Membership or Belonging, as well as Responsibility or duty, are deep psychological needs for Stabilizers. They try to meet these needs by respecting and upholding traditions and rituals. They tend to first look to the past to learn how things used to be done, or if they have personal experience of something, before making up their minds. They often value rules and may strive to uphold societal structures by keeping their families or larger systems secure. I have a friend who loves planning and making lists, doing plenty of research before a new endeavor, and she's happy to observe and ask trusted experts about their experiences when she's trying something for the first time.

Although I'm quite prepared to believe every human being (except those who lack the ability) wants to be connected - emotionally, physically, spiritually, intellectually - I wonder if the majority of Dr. Brown's research subjects had Stabilizer temperaments. Or perhaps women in our generations were still raised with a focus on duty and responsibility to the family. Or maybe the need to belong is a sign of extraverted Feeling. Making yourself smaller, perhaps, so as to not offend anyone. Which of course takes us back to the difference between belonging and fitting in. Maintaining harmony may be too big a price to pay if your self-worth is on the line.

I don't know if the elephant is a good symbol to represent belonging, but from what I know, their survival is dependent on the group, they live for a long time, and they also keep up traditions. Plus I saw this picture and thought how marvelous to remember that these majestic creatures also start out small, and vulnerable.

*African elephants are now listed as Vulnerable. They wander in non-territorial herds that can reach 200 elephants, even one thousand during the rains. Their society is based on a social matriarchal community. The matriarch is the oldest female who leads a clan of 9 to 11 elephants. Only closely related females and their offspring are part of this herd because males wander alone once they reach maturity. The herd’s well being depends on the guidance of the matriarch. She determines when they eat, rest, bathe or drink. Females in the herd practice motherhood by being allomothers to the calves. These assistants play with and babysit babies and retrieve them if they stray too far. 

 

Image by Fred Ericsson, Flickr, Creative Commons License

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The comfortable job vs. the fulfilling job

copied from Pinterest Let's say you have a nice job. The commute is not so bad, the offices are in a safe area, your colleagues are real nice troopers, and the pay's good too. Well, obviously it's not as much as you would like to make, but it's enough to pay the bills. It allowed you to get used to a lifestyle you're comfortable with.

Still, every Monday morning you find yourself wishing it was Friday afternoon, you may even take sick leave when you're not really that sick, or play solitaire and chat with your friends while your boss is waiting for that report. You're not feeling fulfilled, and every chance you get you mentally detach as far away from work as possible, distracting yourself with other things.

Been there.

If you're ready to take action, start by asking yourself some serious questions:

  • What do I want to do with my life? What's my contribution?
  • Where do I want to be in five, ten years?
  • Which of my talents could I turn into an occupation?
  • If I knew I'd succeed, what would I be doing?

Personality Type, or more precisely, Essential Motivator™ knowledge can help.

Did you know that every type has an innate skill set? Why not put them to work?

For example, are you the one everybody calls when they need help organizing an event? Do you enjoy keeping track of everything, planning, and coordinating logistics, making sure the right thing gets to the right person at the right time?

Or maybe your favorite work is more extemporaneous. You're a natural fire-putter-outer, jumping to action, seeing what needs to get done, delegating as necessary, and navigating challenging situations with exquisite tactical skill.

I'm sure you also know natural diplomats. That's someone who's able is called, and often volunteers, to mediate between two parties. They are focusing on the good in both approaches, keeping the peace, and looking for ways to help nurture relationships while helping people grow and reach their full potential.

And who could forget the person with the long view. You might be the right guy to talk to for patterns, themes, and future possibilities. You have an ability to see things clearly, objectively, and from a strategic vantage point.

You can learn any skill set you want if you put your mind to it, and you can get really good at them, too. What we find in Type is that using our innate skills simply takes a lot less effort. So, sometimes working in a job that uses our Type strengths can be more fun and enjoyable.

When you're ready to explore your strengths, contact me!

copied from Pinterest

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Temperament / Essential Motivators

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Temperament / Essential Motivators

Temperament book
Temperament book

Temperament Theory 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.

If you'd like to bring a Temperament workshop to your organization or community:

 

 

Image by Nick Bramhall, flickr, Creative Commons license

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