When it comes to personality profiles, most have heard of Myers-Briggs, Ned Herrmann’s Whole Brain, Galen’s four temperaments, DiSC assessment, and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. One of the lesser known profiles, but just as insightful, was developed by Dr. Gary Smalley and Dr. John Trent. They base their personalities around animal characteristics. Not only are these entertaining but they are very easy for children to grasp as well. My wife and I often find ourselves saying, “that person sure is a ‘beaver,'” or “you’re such a ‘lion-otter.'”

While these personality types are certainly broad categories, I find them very easy to remember and communicate. This is extremely beneficial when dealing with family members, employees, and/or people in general. Knowing their temperaments can make the home, work environment, meetings, and projects run much smoother.

Listed below are the characteristics of each temperament and how they line up with Galen’s and the DiSC for comparison:

Lion TemperamentLion (Choleric/Dominance)

Strengths— Visionary, practical, productive, strong-willed, independent, decisive, leader

Weaknesses— Cold, domineering, unemotional self-sufficient, unforgiving, sarcastic, cruel

Otter TemperamentOtter (Sanguine/Influence)

Strengths— Outgoing, responsive, warm, friendly, talkative, enthusiastic, compassionate

Weaknesses— Undisciplined, unproductive, exaggerates, egocentric, unstable

Retriever TemperamentGolden Retriever (Phlegmatic/Steadiness)

Strengths— Calm, easy-going, dependable, quiet, objective, diplomatic, humorous

Weaknesses— Selfish, stingy, procrastinator, unmotivated, indecisive, fearful, worrier

Beaver TemperamentBeaver (Melancholy/Compliance)

Strengths— Analytical, self-disciplined, industrious, organized, aesthetic, sacrificing

Weaknesses— Moody, self-centered, touchy, negative, unsociable, critical, revengeful

Often you’ll find that people have a primary character type and a secondary type. Take a look at yourself. Which one is your primary and which one is your secondary? Some naturally go together and make for a wonderful set of strengths. Also, be senstive to the weaknesses in yourself and in others.

Next time, I’ll post how to better understand the perceived needs of these temperaments and then how to best communicate to them (See Related Links). Until then, enjoy “animal watching”.

Related Links
Understanding the Animal Temperaments
Communicating Amongst the Animal Temperaments
Leadership Styles: Dictatorial, Authoritative, Consultative, Participative
Leadership Styles: When To Use Them
How Leadership Styles Affect Productivity
You Might Be A Micromanager If…

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