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Personality Imprinting - Why Can't You Just Do It My Way?


Suzanne Honeycutt
Suzanne Honeycutt, Certified Personality Trainer, President, FUN-damentals, 1321 South Leopard Road Berwyn Pa. 19312, 610/647-2453.

83rd Annual International Conference Proceedings - 1998 

The viability and success of a volunteer committee is directly related to the fine art of choosing the right person for the right job. How do we practice wisdom in assembling a high power team? This article will introduce a key tool to use in understanding the four basic Personalities. Our Personalities are with us from birth. Just like in the economy of nature, each Personality has its own valuable contribution to make to the organization.

As soon as my husband-to-be opened his wedding gift from me, I knew I'd made a BIG mistake. His look of disappointment and confusion told me that instead of batting a 1000, I'd struck out. Unfortunately, I'd given him a gift that I would have loved to receive, not realizing that the personalities that make us different also make us want and need different things.

That experience and other similar scenarios led me into a study of Personality Types. I have found these insights invaluable in the workplace and in my volunteer commitments. Understanding the Personalities has helped me succeed in my team projects by putting people in the position that requires the skills of their personality type and which best motivates and rewards them.

I learned that the root of most modern personality tools is derived from the observations made over 2400 years ago by Hypocrites, the father of modern medicine. In studying his patients, he noticed that similar people had similar corresponding ailments. His theory was that an excess of certain bodily fluids determined their Personality Type as well as their resulting illnesses. Although today we pay little attention to the bodily fluids aspect, his identification of certain categories of Personalities and their typical characteristics and behaviors have proven accurate.

Although I have taught a number of tools (Meyers Briggs, D.I.S.C. ect.)I have found this system to be the simplest, the most transferable , and the most accurate.

Have you ever noticed that some people are different than you? (Have I ever!) Have you ever tried to change someone? (UMMMMMM) Has it ever worked? No. Keep that person in mind as we review the four Personalities and see if you can identify them in this overview.


Popular Sanguines are first and foremost loud. It is said that they enter a room with their mouth first. They talk loud and they typically dress loud. The "Save The Children" neckties or, earrings that dangle and have tiny batteries inside that cause them to blink, are examples of the clothing a Sanguine loves. Their body language is open. They can barely talk with out waving their arms with dramatic motions. They are huggers. Sanguines also live a completely open - life. If they know it, they'll tell it. Never share a secret with a Sanguine. They have a multitude of contacts and friends. Sanguines love to be front and center. They make great greeters, master of ceremonies, and activities chairmen. They are motivated by fun. They thrive on compliments and need lots of attention.

The opposite of the Sanguine is the Perfect Melancholy. Where the Sanguine is loud, the Melancholy is quiet. They talk quietly. They dress quietly. Clothes with dark colors and fancy details are their preference. They are not showy. Their body language is closed. If you've ever spontaneously hugged a Perfect Melancholy you've discovered what it like to hug a tree. OOPS. You probably won't make that mistake again! Their lives are closed and private. They make a few deep close relationships. They also make few mistakes. Their work tends to be excellent and they love jobs that are background in nature and detail oriented. They will take any job that requires close scrutiny and produce an end product that is, "Suitable for framing". They are motivated by thoughtful gestures, clear expectations, out-of-the-spotlight work, and knowing others appreciate the details of their work.

Powerful Cholerics exude energy. When they enter a room the air is charged. If they are perceived as a good guy the room is energized. If they are seen as a threat the general feeling is stress. They never quietly slip in. Cholorics walk with purpose. They can be spotted by their finger-pointing, the furrowed brow of their concentration, and the gesture of their hands determinedly placed on their hips in a dominant stance. They are born leaders. They thrive on moving things ahead and are not comfortable with small talk or leisure time. They are quick to make decisions and are usually right. Others my be put off by their bluntness or their habit of getting into others personal space. When a Choleric is trying to make a point there is no sense in backing up - they will just follow you to the wall. They are motivated by a challenge where they have jurisdiction. The way to reward them is by recognizing their hard work and giving them more projects.

The opposite of the Choleric is the Peaceful Phlegmatic. This Personality is the most difficult to spot. They are not extremely extroverted like the Sanguines. They are not extremely sensitive like the Melancholies. They are not extremely energetic like the Cholerics. They are not extremely anything. They are the most balanced of the Personalities. Phlematics are relaxed. They are the ones you spot in sports coat and sneakers. They don't burst into a room, they just saunter in. The Phlegmatics approach is, "Why stand if you can sit, why sit if you can lie down". They are the ones who will roll across the office in their chair rather than stand up and walk. Their laid back Personality is a calming presence to any group. They have a dry wit that can disarm a tense situation. Nobody doesn't like this guy! They will often rise to high offices simply because they have not made any enemies. They are plodders. It won't be flashy, perfect, or fast, but it will get done. They are skilled in motivating and encouraging others. They are motivated by a peaceful environment and their reward is a rest at the end of the work.

When you recognize a person's Personality you have the opportunity to set them up for success by placing them in positions that best suit their Personality. In personal relationships I have learned the power of more effective communication through playing into the other person's Personality (not out of my own). This approach has ultimately given me the ability to give (tangible and intangible) gifts that hit a home run!


Littauer, Florence and Littauer, Marita. Personality Puzzle. Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 1992.

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