Temperament & Work Productivity with Theodora Senaya: The Four Temperaments: An Overview


Many have asked and wondered whether great people were born successful or whether they took the opportunities life threw at them. There are situations where parents, through hard work and sacrifice, leave great wealth for their children only for them to mismanage the business. We have also seen the opposite, where the children were able to make their parents proud by managing their businesses to successful growth, raising up the corporate ladder, or creating the wealth their parents had dreamt of.

A lot of factors contribute to the reasons why one becomes successful. One of such great influences has to do with the person’s temperament. Every temperament has strengths and weaknesses, and the level at which one maximises their potential greatly depends on which side of their temperament they are operating from, resulting in either success or failure.

There are four main temperament types: choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic, and melancholic. Each temperament has its own unique characteristics that affect how individuals behave in the workplace.

Let’s journey on as we discuss an overview of each.

Choleric Temperament

The Choleric person is confident, optimistic, decisive, result-oriented, and goal-oriented. They flourish in high-pressure situations and work hard towards being at the top in a leadership position where they can lead, be looked up to, and be in control. They have strong energy and a desire to dominate wherever they are. Their main weakness is a lack of self-control and managing their emotions. They easily get excited and angry.

Melancholic Temperament

Melancholic individuals are passive, highly thoughtful, very deep, detail-oriented, and perfectionistic. They are analytical and thorough, and they excel in roles that require attention to detail and analytical thinking. They are highly sensitive, emotional, and vastly creative. They struggle with taking risks and being flexible. They want to be sure everything is in place before they launch out. Also, they are anxious people who worry about everything, which sometimes could lead to depression if not managed well.

Sanguine Temperament

Sanguine people are energetic, outgoing, optimistic about life, love interacting with people, and enjoy having fun and socializing. They are creative and can adapt quickly to different situations and circumstances. They possess the ability to move and affect all those around them, changing their moods to a lively and joyous one with much laughter. However, they have a challenge staying focused and following through with promises or planned activities. People with a sanguine temperament are typically outgoing, sociable, and energetic. They thrive in collaborative environments and enjoy interacting with others.

Phlegmatic Temperament

Phlegmatic people are calm, patient, easygoing, and prefer stability. They are good listeners and team players but may struggle with making decisions. They are balanced in their emotions—not overly excited, moody, or angry, but rather mostly exercise restraint, consistency, and deliberateness of mental reaction. They excel in roles that require diplomacy, empathy, and conflict resolution.

Summary of Characteristics

Category Choleric Melancholic Sanguine Phlegmatic
Nature ·         Active & Extroverted

·         Decisive

·         Fast Paced

·         Task Focus

·         Goal oriented

·         Self- Confidence

·         Extremely practical & straightforward

·         Passive & Introverted

·         Deep

·         Precise and thorough

·         Considerate

·         Perfectionist

·         Meticulous

·         Self-critical

·         Active & Extroverted

·         Inspirational

·         Outgoing & Sociable

·         Creative

·         Have high risk tolerance

·         Loves adventure & Fun

·         Optimistic

·         Passive & Introverted

·         Relationship Focus

·         Supportive

·         Good mediators

·         Love helping others

·         Low key

·         Quiet

·         Calm

Positive Traits ·         Result oriented

·         Problem fixer

·         Loves challenge

·         Born leader

·         Exudes confidence

·         Analytical

·         Planner

·         Loves beauty

·         Organized

·         Works well alone

·         High standards

·         Loves people

·         Makes friends easily

·         Storyteller

·         Thrives on activities

·         Good salesman

·         Good sense of humor

·         Calm and gentle

·         Reliable worker

·         Peace maker

·         Good listener

·         Few enemies


Negative Traits ·         Opinionated

·         Overconfidence

·         Workaholic tendency

·         Usurps authority

·         Can’t say “I’m Sorry”

·         Arrogant

·         Stunted under pressure

·         Lacks spontaneity

·         Obsessively picky

·         Never has “enough” time

·         Hard to please

·         Cannot tolerate boredom

·         Difficulty with commitment to relationship

·         Lacks focus

·         Loses track of time

·         Can’t say “No”

·         Gets bored easily

·         Uninvolved

·         Stubborn

·         Dislikes change

·         Hard to get moving

·         Procrastinate

·         Hates conflict


The writer is a chartered Banker, a member of the Institute of Directors, Ghana and a Lead Implementer in ISO 22301

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 00233-244385317


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