Four Basic Temperaments

I recently read and took the test on the strengths finder assessment provided by Gallup. It’s a very interesting assessment and the purpose of it is to identify personal strengths and build leadership from there, based on strengths. The strengths mentioned in the book are based on personality or character traits. It’s reminded me and I found some of the ancient elements describe by Hippocrates in the Four Temperaments. This way of classifying temperaments was left behind by modern medicine because it was based but Hippocrates on bodily fluids which is inaccurate. But the Greek was into something when he was describing type of personal tendencies in people; people’s inclinations that are coming from our individual human nature. I believe Gallup Strengths Finder has some elements of basing strengths, traits, inclinations, on our natural tendency.

Four Temperaments

Sanguine

The sanguine temperament is fundamentally sociable and pleasure-seeking; sanguine people are impulsive and charismatic. They tend to enjoy social gatherings, making new friends and tend to be boisterous. They are usually quite creative and often daydream. Sanguine personalities generally struggle with following tasks all the way through, are chronically late, and tend to be forgetful and sometimes a little sarcastic. Often, when they pursue a new hobby, they lose interest as soon as it ceases to be engaging or fun. They are very much people persons. They are talkative and not shy. Sanguines generally have an almost shameless nature, certain that what they are doing is right. However, they lack confidence. Sanguine people are warm-hearted, , lively and optimistic. They have been called “people-oriented extroverts.”

Choleric

The choleric temperament is fundamentally ambitious and leader-like. They have a lot of aggressionenergy, and/or passion, and try to instill that in others. They are task oriented people and are focused on getting a job done efficiently; their motto is usually “do it now.” They can dominate people of other temperaments with their strong wills, especially phlegmatic types, and can become dictatorial or tyrannical. Many great charismatic military and political figures were cholerics. They like to be in charge of everything and are good at planning, as they can often immediately see a practical solution to a problem. However, they can quickly fall into deep depression or moodiness when failures or setbacks befall them. They have been called “task-oriented extroverts.”

Melancholic

The melancholic temperament is fundamentally introverted and is given to thought. Melancholic people are often perceived as very (or overly) pondering and are both considerate and very cautious. Melancholics can be highly creative in activities such as poetryart, and invention  – and are sensitive to others. Because of this sensitivity and their thoughtfulness they can become preoccupied with the tragedy and cruelty in the world and are susceptible to depression and moodiness. Often they are perfectionists. Their desire for perfection often results in a high degree of personal excellence but also causes them to be highly conscientious and difficult to relate to because others often cannot please them. They are self-reliant and independent, preferring to do things themselves to meet their standards. One negative part of being a melancholic is that they can get so involved in what they are doing they forget to think of other issues. Their caution enables them to prevent problems that the more impulsive sanguine runs into, but can also cause them to procrastinate and remain in the planning stage of a project for very long periods. Melancholics prefer to avoid much attention and prefer to remain in the background; they do, however, desire recognition for their many works of creativity.[13] They have been called “task-oriented introverts.”

Phlegmatic

The phlegmatic temperament is fundamentally relaxed and quiet, ranging from warmly attentive to lazily sluggish. Phlegmatics tend to be content with themselves and are kind. Phlegmatics are consistent, they can be relied upon to be steady and faithful friends. They are accepting and affectionate, making friends easily. They tend to be good diplomats because their tendency not to judge and affable nature makes reconciling differing groups easy for them. Phlegmatics prefer to observe and to think on the world around them while not getting involved. They may try to inspire others to do the things which they themselves think about doing. They may be shy and often prefer stability to uncertainty and change. Their fear of change (and of work) can make them susceptible to stagnation or laziness, or even stubbornness. They are consistent, relaxed, calm, rational, curious, and observant, qualities that make them good administrators. They can also be passive-aggressive. They have been called “people-oriented introverts.”

The Greek physician Hippocrates (460–370 BC) incorporated the four temperaments into his medical theories as part of the ancient medical concept of humorism, that four bodily fluids affect human personality traits and behaviors. Later discoveries in biochemistry have led modern medicine science to reject the theory of the four temperaments, although some personality type systems of varying scientific acceptance continue to use four or more categories of a similar nature.