In nature, there exists a hierarchy, where everyone has a job to do. Sure, it's great to be the queen bee; but her leadership role would be meaningless without her team of worker bees. Humans are no different, of course. How boring would it be if we were all alike? Unique interests and abilities, couple with individual strengths to help society work as a whole. Not everyone is destined to rule, to change the world. Some of us are. They are the Guardians.
Guardians are the cornerstone of society. Practical, disciplined and trustworthy, these personality types keep things running smoothly. School superintendents, hospital administrators -people whom we entrust with our lives and the lives of people we love. Managers by nature, Guardians will confidently take charge, and make stable, deliberate leaders; mavericks they are not. Possessing a strict sense of right and wrong (Mother Teresa and Harry S. Truman were Guardian temperaments) they respect authority, value teamwork and appreciate time-honored customs and traditions. Are you a Guardian?
In personal relationships, the cooperative, dependable Guardian makes a great mentor and a loyal friend. He might not be up for skydiving lessons, but will plan your college reunion with military precision. A Guardian will take the lead in romantic relationships. Social by nature, the meticulous Guardian will plan your dates to the last detail. As leader of his family, a Guardian temperament provides stability for his loved ones. He can be counted on to respect and nurture family customs and traditions.
In their careers, Guardians work within the system, relying on discipline, loyalty and teamwork to achieve long term success. They know that change is inevitable and healthy for society, so that we can evolve and grow. They make organized, confident team leaders, and loyal employees. But change doesn't always come easily on the Guardian's straight and narrow path to self awareness; a cautious nature compels them to look before they leap.
Making up as much as 45 percent of the population, there are four types of Guardian temperaments. The dependable Inspector, who upholds laws and standards, and has little patience for slackers. In personal relationships, Inspectors are highly sociable, preferring community and family-oriented activities. Practical and down-to-earth, a conservative style is reflected in orderly homes and classic wardrobes. An Inspector personality will eschew the latest trend, preferring the familiarity of customs and traditions. England's Queen Elizabeth II and Warren Buffet are quintessential Guardian Inspectors. The Supervisor is community-minded, often holding a position of responsibility within civic clubs and service associations. They keep their feet firmly planted and set high expectations for coworkers, friends and loved ones. Traditional roles, such as marriage and parenthood, are sacred to them. No surprise, then, that George Washington, the father of our country, was a Guardian Supervisor. The Provider is super organized; a social secretary, whose tireless generosity and gregarious nature are always in demand for fund-raising charity functions. Someone with this temperament will be adept at inspiring loyalty and teamwork and putting their guests at ease. Former First Lady Dolly Madison and journalist Barbara Walters are Guardian Providers. The Protectors, as their name suggests, consider the well-being of family their primary concern. They believe in the sanctity of titles and social ranking, respecting established traditions and mores. Mother Teresa and former President George H.W. Bush are examples of Guardian Providers.
This article is second in a series designed as a guide on the path to self awareness. Based on extensive research, the keys to our nature and unique personalities are found in understanding four basic temperaments: Guardian, Artisan, Idealist and Rational. Coming up next: The Artisan personality.
David M. Keirsey, PhD is an Educational Psychologist specializing in human behavior; his lifelong work focuses on four distinct patterns of behavior woven throughout history. The subject of two international bestsellers, The Keirsey Temperament Theory has been used to train educators, psychologists, a number of Fortune 500 companies and even the U.S. military.
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