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Just as oil and water repel, while magnate and metal attract, we too are attracted or repelled by others instinctively. For example, each of us have met someone for whom we felt an immediate affinity or, for some unknown reason, an instant dislike. In reality, we are intuitively responding to the natural chemistry, or lack there of, between temperament styles. (2,364 words)
Yin Yang, the ancient Chinese symbol for balance, depicts the strong attraction and complementary nature of opposites. Just as oil and water repel, while magnate and metal attract, we too are attracted or repelled by others instinctively. For example, each of us have met someone for whom we felt an immediate affinity or, for some unknown reason, an instant dislike. In reality, we are intuitively responding to the natural chemistry, or lack there of, between temperament styles. Each of us is born into one of four primary temperament styles that are unrelated to race, gender, or age. Our temperament style not only determines our behavioral traits, physical features, and body language, but it also influences our compatibility with the other styles. Understanding temperament styles will have a positive impact on the way you see yourself and enhance your relationships with others. My temperament evaluation system gives you the tools and knowledge to recognize a person’s primary temperament style through observation. This is a significant breakthrough in the study of temperament understanding because it is a practical system that can be used with everyone you meet. This allows you to put this information to use in your day-to-day encounters from the kitchen table to the sales table. If you are single, this information can provide insight into selecting a compatible mate. As a parent, it will dramatically improve the way you communicate and relate with your children.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, is credited with originating the basic theory of the four temperament styles twenty-four hundred years ago. He concluded that our temperament style was determined genetically, rather than from external influences such as astrology or birth order. Hippocrates identified and named the four temperament styles; Choleric (Worker), Sanguine (Talker), Phlegmatic (Watcher) and Melancholy (Thinker). According to Hippocrates, the extroverted Choleric (Worker) was aggressive and ill natured, but had a dynamic desire for action! The extroverted Sanguine (Talker) was emotional, and optimistic, but not very serious or organized. The introverted Phlegmatic (Watcher) was slow and amiable, but could stay calm under pressure. The introverted Melancholy (Thinker) was thoughtful and sad, but also sensitive and organized. While our personality is comprised of all four temperament styles, our primary and secondary styles will have the most noticeable influence.
Unfortunately, most people do not appreciate the value of temperament diversity in their relationships. A successful relationship is often defined as one where people have similar interests and much in common. Many people make the fundamental mistake of believing that similarity is the key to compatibility. The most common and natural attraction of temperament opposites is between the introvert and extrovert. Like the dynamic attraction between Yin and Yang, introverts and extroverts recognize in one another the qualities and traits they require for balance. Introverts and extroverts both have distinct preferences, life styles, body language, and behavior patterns. The Talker and Worker are extroverted styles, while the Thinker and Watcher are introverted. Webster’s Dictionary defines an extrovert as a person whose interest is more in his environment and in other people that in himself; a person who is active and expressive, or other than introspective. Webster’s definition of an introvert is to direct (one’s) interest, mind, or attention upon oneself, introspective. For example, under extreme pressure, the two extroverted temperament styles let off steam externally. The Talker will talk more and may become emotional, while the Worker will work harder and may become explosive. On the other hand, introverts let off steam internally. The Thinker tends to think more and may worry excessively, while the Watcher avoids conflict and may sleep more. The aggressive Worker requires the patience of the amiable Watcher. In turn, the indecisive Watcher is benefited by the Worker’s ability to make decisions. The optimistic Talker balances the pessimistic nature of the Thinker. In turn, the detailed Thinker helps the Talker stay organized and focused. Due to their aggressive and controlling nature, the least compatible relationship is between two Workers. All relationship combinations can work if people understand the temperament dynamics and are willing to make adjustments as required. Whether it is a nation, a company, or a personal relationship, strength and balance are found in our complementary differences, not in our similarities.
By reviewing the traits of the four temperament styles listed below, you should be able to determine your primary and secondary style.
The Choleric (Worker) is:
Extroverted – Determined – Demanding – Domineering – Controlling – Practical - Self-reliant – Decisive – Independent – Confident - Goal-oriented - Risk-taker – Aggressive – Insensitive – Impatient - Explosive
People with the Worker as their primary temperament style are typically large, powerful individuals with broad shoulders. Women with this temperament can appear masculine and are often referred to as big boned. The Worker’s superior attitude, impatience, and need for control are reflected in their body language. They radiate confidence, look you squarely in the eye, and usually have a firm or even a vise grip handshake. This temperament style is both confrontational and territorial; they attempt to intimidate others by getting in their personal space. They frequently use the aggressive, hands-on-hips stance to communicate control and territorial dominance. Because Workers move with a purpose, you can usually hear them coming due to their quick, heavy steps. Workers demonstrate their impatience through a variety of energetic gestures. It is common for them to drum their fingers, tap their toe, or bounce their leg in an attempt to move things along. Generally, Workers show they are in charge, by leaning back in their chair and placing both hands behind their head - placing their feet up on the desk is considered optional. For more information on the Worker temperament style, go to www.johnboe.com/Driven%20to%20Succeed!.pdf
How to Relate to a Choleric (Worker):
· They ask “what” questions. Keywords: Results, Speed, and Control.
· Respect their time by being brief and to the point.
· Maintain good eye contact.
· Don't let their demanding nature and intimidating body language unnerve you.
· Be sensitive to their control issues by giving them options when possible.
· Be prepared for explosive outbursts of anger.
· Stay big picture and avoid details.
The following well-known people have the Worker as their primary temperament style: Bea Arthur, Carroll O’Connor, Bobby Knight, Vince Lombardy, George S. Patton, Janet Reno, Pete Rose, O.J. Simpson, Joseph Stalin, Mike Tyson, and John Wayne.
The Sanguine (Talker) is:
Extroverted – Enthusiastic – Emotional – Sociable – Impulsive – Articulate – Optimistic – Persuasive - Self-absorbed – Generous – Egotistical – Charming – Unorganized – Playful – Personable - Passionate
Physically, Talkers tend to have a barrel chest, stocky build, and a disproportionately larger head. Due to their eating habits and sedentary life style, they are prone to weight gain and find it difficult to keep off. Talkers are ”couch potatoes” and typically lack the discipline to stay in shape. It is common for the Talker to have bags under their eyes and a recessed chin. While not all Talkers will have a dimple in their chin, it has been my observation that anyone that does have a dimple is automatically the Talker/Thinker/Worker/Watcher profile. Of the six primary Talker profiles, this profile is the most dramatic, expressive, creative, formal, and moody. The mood of a Talker, with the Thinker as their secondary temperament, swings dramatically from happy (Talker influence) to sad (Thinker Influence). Some well-known Talkers with a dimple in their chin are: John Trivolta, Terry Bradshaw, Jesse Ventura, Chevy Chase, Joe Namath, and Kirk Douglas.
The expressive and enthusiastic nature of the Talker is reflected in their body language gestures. Of the four styles, Talkers display the most open and demonstrative body language. They like physical contact and are quick to give an affectionate hug or a pat on the back. Their hand and facial gestures are expressive and animated. Talkers frequently pat or touch their hand to their chest while speaking to indicate their sincerity. It is common for this emotional temperament style to cross their ankles while standing, sitting or even lying down. Research indicates that this body language is used to hold back strong feelings and emotions. For more information on the Talker temperament style, go to www.johnboe.com/The%20Gift%20of%20Gab.pdf
How to Relate to a Sanguine (Talker):
· They ask “who” questions. Keywords: Exciting, Fun, and Enthusiastic.
· Be a good listener and allow them time to express themselves.
· Don’t embarrass them in front of their peers.
· Don’t expect them to be organized or tidy.
· Give them sincere compliments.
· Be prepared for their emotional outbursts.
· Stay big-pictured and avoid details.
The following well-known people have the Talker as their primary temperament style: Mohammed Ali, John Belushi, Roseann Barr, Delta Burke, John Candy, Drew Carey, Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Kathy Lee Gifford, Newt Gingretch, Larry King, John Lennon, Jay Leno, Ted Kennedy, Rosie O’Donnell, Ronald Reagan, Burt Reynolds, Richard Simmons, Sally Struthers, and Oprah Winfrey.
The Phlegmatic (Watcher) is:
Introverted – Accommodating – Harmonious – Agreeable – Indecisive – Uninvolved – Sympathetic – Undermining – Patient – Supportive – Stable – Possessive – Passive – Selfish – Bashful – Tolerant – Family Oriented
Watchers are the most challenging temperament style to identify physically. Their stoic expression and guarded body language make them difficult to read. They often have a pear-shaped body and due to their sedentary lifestyle they tend to gain weight. The harmonious and casual nature of the Watcher is reflected in their body language gestures. They find it comfortable to lean against a doorjamb or wall while engaged in a conversation. Watchers also tend to tuck a leg up under them when they sit down. This is a relaxed and comfortable position for the peaceful Watcher. This temperament’s stoic expression tends to hide their true feelings. Their passive nature will cause them to avoid sustained eye contact. It is common for this temperament to rub their eye and look away when they are not telling the complete truth. In body language terms, this gesture is called, “see no evil.” To avoid confrontation, Watchers often yawn or laugh nervously to relieve perceived pressure and tension. For more information on the Watcher style, go to www.johnboe.com//We%20Aim%20To%20Please.pdf
How to Relate to a Phlegmatic (Watcher):
· They ask “how” questions. Keywords: Family, Service, and Harmony.
· Recognize and appreciate their need to be helpful.
· Help them accept change; they are natural born procrastinators.
· Don’t allow them to wallow in self-pity.
· Expect them to be indecisive, help them make decisions.
· Avoid arguments and controversial subjects.
· Show interest in family members.
The following well-known people have the Watcher as their primary temperament style: Jimmy Carter, Bob Newhart, Gerald Ford, and Jean Stapleton.
The Melancholy (Thinker) is:
Introverted – Analytical – Thoughtful – Organized – Critical – Shy – Detailed – Pessimistic – Sensitive – Diplomatic – Economical – Loyal – Introspective – Private – Conscientious – Moody – Aloof - Secretive
Thinkers have identifiable wrinkles on their forehead and between their eyebrows. Ask a Thinker a question or give them a problem to solve and watch these furrow lines appear. Due to the “melancholy influence” it is common for Thinkers to have a slightly darker cast and a more serious demeanor than the other three primary temperament styles. The majority of Thinkers have long eyelashes and many have protruding ears like Abraham Lincoln, Prince Charles, and Ross Perot. It has been my observation that everyone with a cleft chin is a Thinker, although not every Thinker will have a cleft chin. (Note, do not confuse the Thinker’s cleft chin with the dimpled chin of the Talker.) The most perfectionistic of the six Thinker profiles is the Thinker/Watcher/Worker/Talker profile, AKA the Perfectionist. The Perfectionist profile is easy to spot because of the distinctively thin shape to their head and chest. A good example of the Perfectionist profile is David Hyde Pierce who plays Dr. Niles Crane on the popular TV sitcom, Frasier. Other well-known Perfectionists are: Jennifer Aniston, Usama Bin Laden, George W. Bush, Johnny Carson, Kevin Costner, Sammy Davis Jr., Celine Dion, Abe Lincoln, Tony Randall, Meg Ryan, and Martha Stewart.
The most common body language tendency for the Thinker is to place their hand around their mouth, cheek or chin. This is a comfortable and natural posture when they are thinking or analyzing. Perhaps this is why Rodin created his sculpture masterpiece, “The Thinker,” with the chin resting on the fist. When an individual talks while their hand is covering their mouth, or talks through their fingers, it sends the signal that they do not believe in what they are saying. When a Thinker is in the process of making a decision, they will stroke their chin. Another commonly used gesture for the analytical Thinker is critical judgment. Placing a thumb under the chin with the index finger resting along the cheek forms this negative gesture. Most Thinkers have a tendency to rub or scratch their nose frequently. Body language experts tell us that when a person does not like the subject being discussed, tiny nerve endings in the nose cause it to itch. When one peers over the top of their eyeglasses it denotes “judgment and scrutiny.” Judge Judy exemplifies this negative gesture as she glares over her half glasses in an attempt to intimidate others in her courtroom. Perhaps the most condescending body language gesture used by the Thinker is “rolling their eyes” in a dismissive manner. For more information on the Thinker temperament style, go to www.johnboe.com/Desperately%20Seeking%20Perfection.pdf
How to Relate to a Melancholy (Thinker):
· They ask “why” questions. Keywords: Logical, Safety, and Quality.
· Don’t rush them, be patient with their slow decision making process.
· Give them accurate and detailed information.
· Expect them to be reserved and warm up slowly.
· Tolerate their need for order and perfection.
· Allow them time alone to plan and prepare.
· Encourage them to think optimistically.
The following well-known people have the Thinker as their primary temperament style: Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, Kevin Beacon, Nicholas Cage, Jim Carrey, Courtney Cox, Tom Cruise, Billy Crystal, Jamie Lee Curtis, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Jody Foster, Michael J. Fox, Mel Gibson, Louis Gossett Jr., Cary Grant, Arsenio Hall, Tom Hanks, George Harrison, Audrey Hepburn, Adolf Hitler, and Ron Howard.
With a little training and effort, your ability to visually recognize temperaments will become second nature and woven into all of your interactions. I suggest that you begin applying what you have learned by identifying your own temperament profile.
John Boe, based in Monterey, CA, is recognized as one of the nation’s top sales trainers and motivational speakers. He helps companies recruit, train, and motivate salespeople to achieve peak performance. John is a leading authority on body language and temperament styles. To view his online Video Demo or to have John Boe speak at your next event, visit http://www.johnboe.com or call (831) 375-3668. Subscribe to John’s FREE monthly newsletter, The Prospector. http://www.johnboe.com/newsletter.html