Finding Your Career Temperament


This month, we're exploring what makes you unique and how to boldly “own” it. Although there are many tools and resources available to raise your self-awareness, today I want to share some information about the Keirsey Temperament Theory. Dr. David Keirsey, noted psychologist and personality theorist, introduced his Temperament Theory in the early 1970s. The assessments developed from this Theory are still used by many global companies today and Keirsey’s books have become international best sellers.

Dr. Keirsey asserts that your temperament reflects traits which are observable in your behavior (i.e., in your communication, attitude and values), your personal needs, and how you want to contribute.  The four primary temperaments are Guardians, Artisans, Idealists and Rationals. Each temperament shows up in everything you say and do, offers something of value, and has its challenges.

Guardians keep things running smoothly and pride themselves on being dependable, trustworthy, loyal, and hard working. Follow through is important to them, and they take their responsibilities and rules seriously.  Finding membership and belonging within their work surroundings is important. The keys to Guardians' sense of well-being and success include contributing to society and having a sense of security and confidence in their abilities.

Artisans tend to focus on the here and now and are typically fun-loving, optimistic, and realistic. Often seen as risk-takers, they pride themselves on being unconventional, bold, and spontaneous. Artisans are usually in the middle of the action, seek variety, and thrive in positions that afford them independence. Some seek leadership positions.

Idealists are passionate about developing themselves and helping others realize their potential. An Idealist values authenticity and integrity and does not want to copy someone else, but rather be seen as unique and valuable.  Individuals with this temperament are the most attuned to values and seeking the greater good.

Finally, Rationals excel at complex problem-solving and will work tirelessly to achieve their goals.  Grounded in logic, they seek to understand how things work and how to make them better. Rationals commonly have a vision of the future along with the ability to make it come true, making them strong candidates for leadership roles.

Each and every one of these Temperaments offers value. After reading the descriptions, which one most closely describes you?  Which one would be second?  As you review the characteristics and skills, I want to challenge you to identify one that you would like to put into play more powerfully, and just one action step will take in the next week to do so.  Remember, small steps can lead to big results.