Keirsey Personality Types
Keirsey’s four temperaments can be further subdivided, often referred to as “Character Types” or “Keirsey Personality Types.” There are four types of Artisans, four types of Guardians, four types of Rationals, and four types of Idealists, which make up for 16 types in total.
In addition to the label given to each character type by Keirsey, each type is also labeled with a set of four letters corresponding to the four sets of preferences used in another personality assessment, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), to label personality types.
Those preferences and the letters used to symbolize them are:
E (Extraversion) vs. I (Introversion)
S (Sensing) vs. N (Intuition)
T (Thinking) vs. F (Feeling)
J (Judging) vs. P (Perceiving)
The 16 types are listed below and separated by temperament.
- Composers (ISFP) are sensitive and have a talent for synthesizing various artistic elements.
ISFP: Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving. People with an ISFP personality—the Adventurers—have Introverted, Observant, Feeling, and Prospecting personality traits. Unlike extroverts, who gain energy from interacting with other people, introverts must expend energy around others. According to David Keirsey, the creator of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, approximately 5 to 10 percent of people have an ISFP personality.
- Crafters (ISTP) are expert tool users but aren’t easy to get close to.
ISTP: Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving. ISTPs enjoy taking things apart just to see how they work. They are logical and rational but more interested in practical applications than abstract ideas. They love doing new things and can become bored with routines rather quickly.
- Performers (ESFP) are entertainers who are able to delight and stimulate with their talents.
ESFP: Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving. People with ESFP personality types are often described as spontaneous, resourceful, and outgoing. The ESFP personality type is often referred to as “the performer” or “the entertainer.”
- Promoters (ESTP) are bold, daring, optimistic, and exciting to be around.
ESTP: Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving. ESTPs—also known as Entrepreneurs and Dynamos— are outgoing and enjoy spending time with a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. They are interested in the here-and-now and are more likely to focus on details than taking a broader view of things.
- Inspectors (ISTJ) are dedicated to their responsibilities and the rules and standards upholding the institutions they are a part of.
ISTJ: Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging. People with an ISTJ personality type tend to be reserved, practical and quiet. They enjoy order and organization in all areas of their lives, including home, work, family, and projects.
- Protectors (ISFJ) are concerned with maintaining the safety and security of the people they care about.
ISFJ: Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging. This personality type is given the nickname “The Protector” or “The Defender,” and for good reason. People who have ISFJ personalities are known for being warm-hearted, responsible, and reserved.
- Providers (ESFJ) supply friendly social services and meet the needs of others.
ESFJ: Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging. People with an ESFJ personality type tend to be outgoing, loyal, organized, and tender-hearted. ESFJs gain energy from interacting with other people. They are typically described as outgoing and gregarious. They have a way of encouraging other people to be their best and often have a hard time believing anything bad about the people they are close to.
- Supervisors (ESTJ) are highly involved in social groups and like to take on responsibility and leadership roles within them.
ESTJ stands for Extraverted (likes to spend time with people), Sensing (pays attention to the five senses), Thinking (weighs principles and facts heavily), and Judging (prefers a more structured lifestyle). ESTJs are often described as logical, take-charge kinds of people. They are assertive and concerned with making sure things run smoothly and according to the rules. ESTJs are also committed to traditions, standards, and laws. They have strong beliefs and possess sensible judgment—and they expect that others will uphold these same principles as well.
- Champions (ENFP) have complex emotional lives and seek out meaningful experiences and fascinating people.
ENFP: Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving. People with an ENFP personality are often described as enthusiastic, charismatic, charming, energetic, and independent. ENFPs are also creative, so they typically do best in situations where they have the freedom to create and innovate.
- Counselors (INFJ) are dedicated to helping others realize their full potential.
INFJ: Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging. This is the rarest MBTI personality type, making up only 1% to 3% of the population. They’re walking and talking contradictions. INFJs are easy-going perfectionists. They’re both logical and emotional, creative and analytical.
- Healers (INFP) care deeply about special people and important causes and are driven to heal conflicts.
INFP: Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving. The INFP personality type is often described as an “idealist” or “mediator” personality. People with this kind of personality tend to be introverted, idealistic, creative, and driven by high values. INFPs also have strong interests in making the world a better place. In addition to wanting to gain a greater understanding of themselves and how they fit into the world, they are interested in how they can best help others. People with this personality type spend a lot of time exploring their own purpose in life and thinking about how they can use their skills and talents to best serve humanity.
- Teachers (ENFJ) have a talent for teaching others and have boundless belief in their students.
ENFJ: Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging. People with ENFJ personality type are often described as warm, outgoing, loyal, and sensitive. Of all the personality types, the ENFJ is often perceived as being the strongest “people person.” They can forge friendships with all personality types, even with more introverted or reticent individuals. Because of their ability to sense what others feel and affect how people behave, they do have the ability to influence and even manipulate others. This is balanced by their strong value system and desire to help others be the best they can be. ENFJ is the opposite of the ISTP personality type.
- Architects (INTP) are master designers of everything from buildings to corporate systems.
INTP: Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving. People who score as INTP are often described as quiet and analytical. They enjoy spending time alone, thinking about how things work and coming up with solutions to problems. INTPs have a rich inner world and would rather focus their attention on their internal thoughts rather than the external world. They typically do not have a wide social circle, but they do tend to be close to a select group of people.
- Fieldmarshals (ENTJ) tend to take jobs as leaders and executives due to their ability to create well-oiled systems that meet both short and long-term goals.
ENTJ: Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging. According to psychologist David Keirsey, the ENTJ type is quite rare, accounting for a mere 2% of the population. People with this personality type enjoy spending time with other people. They have strong verbal skills and interacting with others helps them feel energized. These individuals prefer to think about the future rather than focus on the here-and-now. They usually find abstract and theoretical information more interesting than concrete details.
- Inventors (ENTP) are constantly using their talent to innovate and find better ways to do things.
ENTP: Extroverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving. People with this personality type are often described as innovative, clever, and expressive. ENTPs are also known for being idea-oriented, which is why this personality type has been described as “the innovator,” “the visionary,” and “the debater.” ENTPs are less interested in the here-and-now details than they are in generating ideas and theories. Because of this, they sometimes tend to come up with one idea after another without actually going forward with plans and actions to bring their creative notions into fruition.
- Masterminds (INTJ) are planners who understand complex systems and are able to plan for all contingencies.
INTJ: Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging. People with an INTJ personality are highly analytical, creative, and logical. Approximately 1% to 4% of the population has an INTJ personality type. INTJs tend to be introverted and prefer to work alone. They’re self-confident and hard-working, which is a strength. However, it can also be a weakness as they may come across as insensitive or callous. An INTJ looks at the big picture and likes to focus on abstract information rather than concrete details. They also tend to be a perfectionist.
Four interaction roles
In his book Brains and Careers (2008), Keirsey divided the role variants into groupings that he called “four differing roles that people play in face-to-face interaction with one another.”
There are two Proactive Enterprising Roles:
- Initiators (expressive and directive): Field Marshal (ENTJ), Supervisor (ESTJ), Promoter (ESTP), Teacher (ENFJ) – Preemptive
- Contenders (attentive and directive): Mastermind (INTJ), Inspector (ISTJ), Crafter (ISTP), Counselor (INFJ) – Competitive
There are two Reactive Inquiring Roles:
- Coworkers (expressive and informative): Inventor (ENTP), Provider (ESFJ), Performer (ESFP), Champion (ENFP) – Collaborative
- Responders (attentive and informative): Architect (INTP), Protector (ISFJ), Composer (ISFP), Healer (INFP) – Accommodative