Color Personalities and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter

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David Keirsey created the Keirsey Temperament Sorter as another way of categorizing how people think and behave in their personal and professional lives. His test is similar to Myers-Briggs and other personality assessments and has a similar basis to all of these tests and character indicators. The Keirsey Temperament Sorter is founded in the theories of Hippocrates and Plato, utilizing Plato’s four major personality types including Artisan/Iconic, Guardian/Pistic, Idealist/Noetic, and Rational/Dianoetic.

David Keirsey then subdivided these four character traits into two categories that each contained two types. This gives us a familiar chart with 16 potential character types, much like Myers-Briggs. This temperament sorter was made popular by the book, Please Understand Me, and has been used by many large companies to help with employee training.

Exploring temperament

Like many of the other personality assessments available today, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter has four major character types with subdivisions within each. The four categories have been called Artisans, Guardians, Idealists, and Rationals.  Artisans are known for having strong tactical skills while maintaining an adaptable view of people and situations around them. Guardians are concrete and organized, working well in an environment where they feel safe and secure. They excel at logistical tasks and supporting a larger project.

Idealists work in the abstract, finding meaning in their work and striving to maintain a sense of self. They are very diplomatic and can be valuable members of a professional social environment. Finally, Rationals are very much concerned with their grasp of a task and the knowledge it takes to get a job done well. They are excellent at theoretical projects that have to be turned into reality.

Comparing systems

Keirsey relied on the idea that people can be categorized into temperaments. He classified these temperaments as abstract or concrete thinkers; directive versus informative leadership styles; expressive versus attentive social skills; and cooperative versus pragmatic working methods. All of these categories aren’t replicated in Jungian thinking or the Myers-Briggs test.

One challenge with the Keirsey Temperament Sorter are the labels used to classify different character types. The categories and sub-variants of each type have been given a job description such as Manager or Conservator. While these distinctions can certainly be helpful, they don’t give any indication that people can be slightly outside any of these boxes or excel at other professional tasks.

Jung opened up an entirely new world with his discoveries, and discoveries into the psychology of personality and the self are still being made today. Insights Discovery is based squarely on Jung’s theories, and as such is an invaluable tool in helping people understand themselves and others.  If you would like further help in identifying yourself or others as part of the four color personalities, schedule me, Scott Schwefel, as your keynote speaker. I will come to your group and address the differences in personalities in a truthful, fun, and easy-to-understand way. Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to share my blogs with the color energies you work with!

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