Temperament in the Workplace: The 5 W’s of Artisans

Temperament in the Workplace: The 5 W’s of Artisans

Today, I’m welcoming Gary Benton, Myers-Briggs practitioner, back to the blog. Today, he’s going to discuss an aspect of Myers-Briggs that a lot of people don’t know about. To read up on his previous blogs on Myers-Briggs in business, click here, here, here and here. He has two others on fitting in at work and  leadership you can read about too!

In recent posts, we’ve talked about the 16 personality types and how they generally function in business. Now before we go deeper, we need to simplify. Myers-Briggs runs on a complex theory about how the interactions of mental functions form a complete personality type. To use it effectively, you need to know the theory broadly and in its nuances. I could explain, for example, why an INFJ would find little success or fulfillment as a secretary even though their “J” aspect loves organization, but it would take up the rest of my time and frankly be a little boring.

Thankfully, we have David Keirsey, a psychologist and student counselor who did excellent work in distilling personality theory down to the level of what is practical and observable. Enter the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, as laid out in Keirsey’s excellent book Please Understand Me. The sorter divides the sixteen personalities into four groups that focus on two areas: how we communicate and how we pursue goals. The groups are: Artisans, Guardians, Rationals, and Idealists.  Each week we will cover one of these temperament and gain some insight into how these type can best be understood, loved, supported, and motivated in the workplace.

The Artisan

Who they are: The first group i want to consider is perhaps the least understood. Artisans are the makers of the world. They correspond with the Myers-Briggs types ISFP, ESFP, ISTP, and ESTP. They prefer concrete communication and are utilitarian in pursuing their goals – somewhat surprising for a group that includes feelers! Keirsey saw that artisan types often struggled in public school environments that focused on abstract knowledge and cooperative learning styles.

What they bring: The greatest strength of the Artisan types lie in their adaptability. They live their lives in the present moment anyway, and prefer to take life as it comes, so an unexpected hitch in your plans won’t throw them off. In fact, these are the people you want around for emergencies, as they thrive on finding practical, concrete solutions for unexpected problems. New piece of technology in the workplace? equipment malfunction? Time to re-brand? you know who to call.

When they deliver: Artisans thrive on one thing: doing. They live in the moment, and are always down for a party or adventure. This does not exclude them from a professional environment, it just means that they need a place where they have practical goals and the freedom to figure things out on their own. An environment with too much structure, rules, or micromanagement will be absolutely poisonous to Artisans, and they will probably react against it. This is what makes them something of an anomaly among perceiving types: though less motivated by deadlines, Artisans tend to get started early on work, because the doing is much more important to them than the consideration beforehand. You may have to wait until the last minute for a complete project, but you can at least expect a clear status report along the way.

Where to find them: Artisans tend to wind up in technical and creative fields. Design, videography, engineering, and business can all provide outlets for their creativity and curiosity about how the world works. Artisans often do very well as contract workers, as direct employment can turn into drudgery between projects. You’ll also occasionally find them in leadership – ESTP types are labeled “the Tycoon” and include presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

Why they’re important: Artisans are drawn to technology and innovation – factors involved in almost every business – and have the chops to bring in new tools and use them well. In leadership, they pull their own weight and also help keep inter-office communication direct and clear while still being the life of the party after-hours. If you give them the freedom to do their thing, they’ll prove a valuable asset to any business.

Do: Trust Artisans, give them hands-on tasks, respect their autonomy and abilities, Honor their spontaneous side.

Don’t: Limit Artisans to passive tasks, keep them in “big dreams” meetings or meetings that they cannot contribute to, or bore them with theories.

Next week we will cover the Guardians, who keep everything in the world structured and running. As always feel free to email me with any questions at Gbenton15@gmail.com. Thanks!


To discover your type, take the Myers-Briggs test here: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp. Share your temperament in the comments!

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Billy Epperhart
Billy Epperhart
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