This is part of an overall series on our natural Temperament. Temperament differs from Personality in that Temperament inborn and Personality grows out of upbringing, culture, family, and other external factors. Personality equals Temperament plus Life Experience.
In the study of Temperament there are many approaches with many names. The easiest approach to understand and use divides individuals into one of four basic types – Phlegmatic, Choleric, Sanguine, and Melancholy. These names came from the Greeks who thought that behavior was influenced by an abundance of bodily fluid. Studies today confirm that an individual can be classified by Temperament type as evidenced by the use of Temperament tests in the areas of employment, group teambuilding, and organizational development.
Today the four Temperament types have been re-named many times – in this series I will try to provide other naming systems for each type including the DiSC model. Understanding Temperament provides many insights into our own behavior and the behaviors of others – spouses, children, bosses, co-workers, etc. Many have asked, “Why do I react the way I do? Why do I have this particular weakness or fear”? Temperament is one means of answering some of these questions.
Further study has shown that most people are a blend of two of the four Temperament types. One Temperament type is predominating; the other is secondary. Each article in this series will focus on one primary Temperament type and its combinations.
The Sanguine is the most outgoing and emotional of the four types. Sanguines are talkative and ‘touchy’ people; they love to visit and socialize. Sanguines might be thought of as those that ‘grease’ social interaction.
The Sanguine is obviously an extrovert – they experience life ‘out here’; meaning the world around them. They do their thinking ‘out here’ as well; if they have problems or issues, they are most likely to talk them out with a friend or family member. In a pinch, a Sanguine will make a new friend in order to have someone to talk to. You can spot a Sanguine on an airplane by seeing who is talking with their seatmate.
Sanguines are very puzzled by introverted Phlegmatics and Melancholies and may try to drag them into social situations.
The weaknesses of the Sanguine are a total lack of organizing instincts; Sanguines tend to be messy. While they don’t hold a grudge, as a Choleric will, a Sanguine will have brief, strong emotional ‘outbursts’. In other words, a Sanguine will get very angry for a very short time and then be over it as quickly as it came up. This anger can be quite unexpected and surprising and, for other temperaments, puzzling that it vanishes as quickly as it appears.
Sanguines definitely need friends and partners with the ability to overlook disorganization or to help promote organizeation because the Sanguine will always struggle with this weakness.
Temperament Type Combinations
As stated earlier, each of us is a combination of two temperament types – one is dominant, the other is secondary. The following section gives details concerning each combination.
_Sanguine Choleric – SanChol – High i High D in DiSC parlance_
The Sanguine Choleric is s study in contrasts. The most extroverted of the extroverts; the Sanguine Choleric combines a love of social interaction with a goal oriented approach. This blend makes an excellent sales person – they are not afraid of talking with people, but they always remember that they are trying to sell something. Their charm combined with their outcome focus gives them a great deal of drive.
But using the metaphor of a salesperson, this individual will be the one accomplishing great sales goals but never file their expense reports or sales forecasts. Do not expect the Sanguine Choleric to cross their “T’s” and dot their “I’s”; they are too busy accomplishing great things.
The weakness of the Choleric – a lack of sensitivity to others and a tendency to hold a grudge – combined with the brief, sharp emotional outbursts of the Sanguine, make this blend a formidable emotional adversary. A Sanguine Choleric made angry will probably tend to hold that against you for quite a while; even though they may seem fine on the outside. And their initial “shot” of anger may leave you reeling and wondering what you did to deserve it.
_Sanguine Phlegmatic – SanPhleg – Hi i High S in DiSC parlance_
The Sanguine Phlegmatic is friendly and calm at the same time. Not as outgoing as most Sanguines, the Sanguine Phlegmatic is the person voted ‘most friendly’ in yearbooks. They like to be around people and don’t have the need to be the ‘life of the party’, as some Sanguines do. This blend makes a great and empathic listener; they generate an immediate trust that people will open up to.
Unfortunately, the lack of organization of the Sanguine coupled with the tendency towards laziness in the Phlegmatic can combine into an awesome “I don’t care” attitude concerning work organization, home cleanliness, and the inability to follow through with important promises. This blend may not have balanced their checkbook for months (years?) and may often have to react quickly to late notices.
_Sanguine Melancholy – SanMel – High I High C in DiSC parlance_
The Sanguine Melancholy type is a person whose moods can fluctuate from highs to lows and back again quickly. The Sanguine outgoing nature often allows the Melancholy’s critical nature “out” too easily. It is very easy for a Sanguine Melancholy to “get down” on themselves and, if they are to realize their potential, it is best if they work with others.
The warmth of the Sanguine makes this person very sociable and the focus on detail of the Melancholy makes them excellent organizers. They remember every birthday and anniversary and have a strong inclination to attend each and every one of these special events.
The critical nature of the Melancholy combined with the verbal nature of the Sanguine means that this person will have no qualms about telling you exactly what they think about you or anyone else.
There is an interesting conflict in this blend – the weakness of the Sanguine is disorganization and the strength of the Melancholy is organization. This means that the Sanguine Melancholy will always feel that they should be cleaning or organizing but the Sanguine won’t follow through.
Another weakness of the Sanguine is quick flashes of emotion – combine this with the critical nature of the Melancholy and you can get a “hot flash” of angry criticism with very little warning.
This temperament blend is the most likely to remember every negative detail of a situation for the longest time. The Sanguine Melancholy most needs to cultivate an attitude of gentleness and kindness to soften their sharp tongue.
Hal Warfield is a speaker, teacher and coach. Email him with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.