Four Temperaments and their Effects on the Workplace

More often than not, when people see successful individuals they often wonder what type of personality do these people have? Were they simply born to be successful? Is it possible that these people just made the best of what they already had?

One Greek man named Hippocrates believed that people can be divided into four distinct yet overlapping categories based on their “humors” – which are fluids presumed to be inside the body and whose imbalance can lead to illness. These are also responsible for the different types of temperaments and personality. This theory still remains popular today and is used for employee management.

Knowing these four temperaments and understanding how they work can assist with interactions between yourself, coworkers, supervisors. Furthermore, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each temperament assists in determining what people are capable in performing in a group. Down below are the four most common temperaments and their advantages and disadvantages.


The main advantage of being a sanguine is the ability of flexibility and adaptability while maintaining their composure. They have great communication and entertainment skills. Some call them the life of a party due to their enthusiasm and popularity. A Sanguine is a very sociable and optimistic person that makes them easy to like.

On the other hand, a Sanguine often lacks the ability to empathize and understand deeply. They are disorganized and may appear to not be serious about their work. They have tendencies of being naïve, trusting others to do their work. They mostly enjoy having fun and being showered with approval. They tend to dislike people who don’t respond to humor.


Possessing the innate ability of leadership, a choleric is obedient and goal oriented. They have the ability to make quick decision, correct judgements which are often impulsive which make them better suited in a field where change is common. A choleric is quick to take charge of a situation and they are usually fast paced with a required degree of control in their work. They have a good sense of self-confidence and a sincere belief of personal achievement which often leads to them accomplishing more in a shot amount of time.

However, due to their nature, a Choleric will come across as too domineering, autocratic and impatient.  They often have difficulties delegating tasks to subordinates at the same time expecting them to produce the same quality as he does. They enjoy the presence and company of people who are supportive and cooperative. They dislike laziness and disloyalty.


The calm and harmonious. A Phlegmatic value understanding and peace. They are composed and collected, even disposition with a drizzle of dry humor. They are meticulous in their decision making which is a disadvantage in fast paced environment. A Phlegmatic is often the peace-keeper of a group, solving problems and conflict objectively while maintain an easy-going and relaxed posture.

On the other hand, a Phlegmatic often lacks enthusiasm, energy and decisiveness. They dislike making major changes. Often times, they don’t set solid goals, react slowly and avoid facing problems head on. A Phlegmatic likes people who recognizes their own strengths and initiate action and decisions. They do not like people who are too arrogant or pushy.


While Melancholics are known as pessimistic and prefers solitude, they possess compassion for those in need. They are meticulous, organized and analytical. They pay attention to every detail and every possible outcome. This makes them good at setting and organizing long-term goals. They have high standards and ideals that they deem perfect. A Melancholic understands feelings while demanding quality performance.

Oftentimes, a Melancholic takes life too seriously that they tend to focus too much on details and preparation. They insist in achieving perfection. However, they do enjoy the company of intellectual people that can carry deep and sensible conversations. They dislike forgetfulness, tardiness, superficiality and unpredictability.

Due to the varying degrees of positive and negative traits in a single temperament, a combination of temperaments is not uncommon. Faced paced leaders are often categorized as Sanguine-Choleric, while decision makers and advisers are Melancholic-Phlegmatic.

Watch our video on the 4 Temperaments: 

Let us know which one you resonate with. Some people said they resonate with more than one, but that’s the thing. The four temperaments is one of the oldest outdated personality archetype. Nowadays, more reliable tests are the MBTI or The Big Five Personality Traits.


Boeree, C. George. “Early Medicine and Physiology”

Nicholas Culpeper, Semeiotica Urania, or Astrological Judgement of Diseases

Greenbaum, Dorian Gieseler . Temperament: Astrology’s Forgotten Key.

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