Please Understand Me II: Temperament & Intelligence

How well do you think you understand yourself and those around you? “Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence” by David Keirsey provides a deep dive into the realm of personality typing, offering a lens through which you can better comprehend the various temperaments and characters that make up human diversity. Keirsey’s work stands on the shoulders of the ancient Greeks and Carl Jung, extending their insights into more practical applications.

The book serves as a sequel and a significant expansion to Keirsey’s widely acclaimed work “Please Understand Me.” In adapting the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Keirsey introduces the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, which categorizes personalities into four major temperaments. He then delves into 16 personality types, providing a comprehensive guide for navigating personal growth and interpersonal relationships. As you explore these concepts, you gain a more profound understanding of how temperament affects your interactions and development.

Key Takeaways

Please Understand Me II Temperament & Intelligence

Understanding Temperament and Character

In exploring the dynamics of personality, you’ll find that temperament and character are foundational aspects that shape individual behaviors and social interactions. David Keirsey’s work on this subject, specifically in “Please Understand Me II,” offers a comprehensive examination of these traits and their implications.

Four Temperaments Framework

According to David Keirsey, temperament theory is grounded in the existence of four primary personality groups that are observable across cultures and histories. He aligns these loosely with the historical concept of four temperaments. Here is a breakdown:

  • Artisan (SP): Adaptable and action-oriented, Artisans are excelling in situations requiring tactical maneuvering and improvisation.
  • Guardian (SJ): Dependable and helpful, Guardians are the societal pillars providing structured stability in various aspects of life.
  • Idealist (NF): Seeking personal authenticity, Idealists are passionate about self-discovery, personal growth, and deep connections.
  • Rational (NT): Analytical and strategic, Rationals seek understanding and mastery of systems, finding solutions to complex problems.

Keirsey’s Personality Theory

Building on the framework of the four temperaments, Keirsey developed 16 personality types, further enriching the discussion on human behavior and interaction. His theory emphasizes the roles of genetics, social environment, and cognition in shaping your personality. Each personality type is a distinct array, combining temperament with aspects of character – which Keirsey describes as the configuration of habits, roles, and ethics that you display in response to specific circumstances.

For instance, within each temperament group, specific traits are magnified:

  • Artisans are bold and practical, focusing on the here and now.
  • Guardians are methodical and dutiful, ensuring the preservation of traditions and institutions.
  • Idealists are empathetic and visionary, using their insight to foster personal and communal growth.
  • Rationals are knowledgeable and future-oriented, dedicated to applying logic and reason.

Through Keirsey’s lens, you can begin to understand the interplay between your innate disposition and your developed character. This insight has applications in personal development, career planning, and interpersonal relationships, allowing for a more tolerant and productive society.

Details of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter is a widely recognized personality inventory that categorizes individuals into four distinct temperaments: Artisan, Guardian, Rational, and Idealist. Each temperament represents a particular set of personality traits and behavioral tendencies.

Artisans (SP Types)

Artisan personalities are known for their spontaneity and adaptability. They are the individuals who prefer flexibility and freedom and are often drawn to pursuits where they can express their creativity. As an Artisan, you are likely to be action-oriented and may thrive in careers that require hands-on involvement.

Guardians (SJ Types)

If you’re a Guardian, structure and responsibility define your approach. Guardians value security and tradition, often serving as the organizational backbone in societal structures. Your reliability and attention to detail make you an indispensable member of any team, focused on maintaining order and standards.

Idealists (NF Types)

Lastly, the Idealist temperament is synonymous with a deep sense of idealism and integrity. Idealists are driven by their values and a desire for personal growth and meaningful relationships. If you’re an Idealist, you’re likely to be compassionate, empathetic, and focused on potential rather than the here and now.

Rationals (NT Types)

Rational temperaments are characterized by their strategic thinking. You, as a Rational, prefer to base your actions on logical analysis and are often in pursuit of knowledge. Rationals are adept at planning, systematizing, and theoretical problem-solving, often excelling in fields that demand high-level conceptual thinking.

Temperament in Personal Development

Temperament plays a crucial role in personal development, influencing your interactions and growth in various aspects of life. Recognizing your temperament can foster self-understanding and guide you through better parenting and leadership.

Parenting Guidance

Understanding your child’s temperament is a vital tool in parenting. It helps you tailor your approach to fit their individual needs. For instance, a child with a quiet temperament might thrive with gentle encouragement and low-pressure environments. On the other hand, an energetic child may require more active engagement and structured outlets for their energy. By aligning parenting strategies with your child’s temperament, you create a supportive atmosphere that nurtures their character development.

Leadership Development

In leadership, your temperament influences how you manage teams and make decisions. If you’re aware of your temperament, you can leverage it to strengthen your leadership style. For leaders with a detail-oriented temperament, focusing on organization and analytics can enhance decision-making processes. Conversely, those with a big-picture temperament might excel at strategic planning and motivating teams. Understanding diverse temperament types among team members can also lead to effective personnel management, fostering a cohesive and adaptable work environment.

Temperament and Interpersonal Relationships

Temperament and Interpersonal Relationships

Your temperament significantly influences how you interact with others, affecting both romantic and familial relationships. It determines the nature of your exchanges and the depth of your connections within these intimate circles.

Romantic Compatibility

In romantic relationships, compatibility is often tied to the harmony between partners’ temperaments. If you have a more introverted personality, for example, you may seek a partner who understands your need for solitude and does not pressure you for constant social engagement. Likewise, someone with an extroverted temperament typically finds more satisfaction with a partner who shares similar interests in social activities and external stimuli.

Key aspects that impact romantic compatibility include:

  • Communication styles: how you express your thoughts and feelings.
  • Conflict resolution: your approach to solving disputes.
  • Emotional needs: the level and type of emotional support you require.
  • Shared interests and values: these often dictate how much common ground you share.

Family Dynamics

Temperaments within a family can create a complex web of dynamics. Your own temperament affects how you fulfill family roles and bond with family members. A family with diverse personalities might experience tension due to conflicting needs or misunderstandings.

Consider the following when assessing family dynamics:

  • Parenting styles: the temperament of a parent can shape their approach to discipline and nurture.
  • Sibling relationships: different personality traits can lead to rivalry or, conversely, strengthen bonds.
  • Family communication patterns: the ease and clarity with which family members express themselves.
  • Cultural or generational differences: these can influence individual temperaments and impact family interactions.

Critical Analysis and Applications

This section examines the insights from “Please Understand Me II” in relation to established psychological frameworks and their practical implications across diverse areas.

Comparison with Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

“Please Understand Me II” builds upon the foundations of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a well-known personality assessment tool. While MBTI categorizes personalities into 16 types based on four dichotomies—Extraversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving—the book takes a different approach. It emphasizes temperaments as broader categories—namely, Artisan, Guardian, Rational, and Idealist. This framework integrates the thinking and feeling aspects as part of its description of Rational temperament, which it presents as being inherently strategic and logical.

Practical Use in Various Fields

The concepts detailed in “Please Understand Me II” find application across a spectrum of fields. In professional settings, understanding a person’s temperament can inform team formation, leadership development, and conflict resolution. For instance, individuals with a Rational temperament are often strategic and may excel in roles requiring analytical thinking and long-term planning.

  • Education: Teachers can tailor their approach to resonate with different temperaments, potentially enhancing student engagement and learning outcomes.
  • Career Counseling: Counselors can provide more targeted advice that aligns with an individual’s temperament, promoting career satisfaction and success.

In personal relationships, the book’s insights about temperament can help you comprehend underlying dynamics and foster deeper connections by appreciating the thinking and feeling orientations of others.

How The Book Relates To Personality Typing

In “Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence”, you will find an exploration of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. This is a tool that categorizes personalities into four key temperaments: SP (Artisans), SJ (Guardians), NF (Idealists), and NT (Rationals). Each group then divides into four types for a total of sixteen personality types.

  • Artisans (SP): You are likely to be spontaneous and creative, thriving on freedom. These are types like ESFP, ISFP, ESTP, & ISTP.
  • Guardians (SJ): You value security and trust, often becoming the community’s backbone. These are types like ESTJ, ISTJ, ESFJ, & ISFJ.
  • Idealists (NF): Empathetic and compassionate, you aim for personal growth and authentic relationships. These are types like the ENFJ, INFJ, ENFP, & INFP.
  • Rationals (NT): Logical and strategic, you seek knowledge and competence. These are the ENTJ, INTJ, ENTP, & INTP types.

The book builds on these temperaments to delve into how each personality not only perceives the world but also interacts with it. You are offered insights into how your temperament affects your work, relationships, and communication style.

Your character, a combination of your natural temperament and life experiences, influences how you react to the world around you. Intelligence, as presented in the book, is about using your character strengths to adapt to life’s challenges and opportunities.

For each personality type, the book provides:

  • A detailed description
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Suitable careers

By understanding your type, you can better appreciate your natural inclines and tailor your life choices to fit your innate style. The endpoint for you is a deeper self-awareness and a more harmonious interaction with others.


David Keirsey's expansion on earlier psychological models allows for a nuanced understanding

In “Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence,” the author provides a comprehensive framework for exploring the myriad of personality types and their interactions. Your comprehension of temperament can be significantly enhanced by examining the theories and observations presented in this intricate work. David Keirsey’s expansion on earlier psychological models allows for a nuanced understanding of individual differences in intelligence and behavior.

As you reflect on the content of the book, it’s evident that a deeper grasp of character could lead to more empathetic and effective communication in both personal and professional environments. The author’s insights encourage you to apply this knowledge pragmatically, facilitating better interpersonal relationships.

The importance of understanding oneself and others cannot be overstated, and “Please Understand Me II” serves as a gateway to this self-awareness. For a more in-depth exploration, obtaining your own copy will provide you with a valuable resource that can be revisited as you continue to grow and navigate the complexities of human temperament.

By integrating these ideas into your life, the potential for personal development is substantial, influencing how you interact with the world around you. The intelligence with which the author approaches the topic makes it accessible to a broad audience, ensuring that the lessons are both informative and practical.

Discovering and utilizing your unique strengths is a lifelong journey, and unlocking the comprehensive insights offered in this book is the next step. Engage with the findings and expand your understanding by exploring the text in full.

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