Improve Your Interactions With Your Work Colleagues By Understanding Their Temperaments #1 – Phlegmatic and Choleric Temperaments

Improving Interactions with Work Colleagues- The Four Temperaments #1 – Phlegmatic and Choleric Temperaments

It is important that we understand the temperaments of our colleagues because this will help us interact with them in the most suitable way possible. Often, we work with a wide range of personality types; from quiet people who rarely speak to the loudest, and most opinionated, people.

Although both are different, both have their ways and can still be effective members in any team if the best is being brought out of them.

The four temperaments date back to Ancient Greek medical theory, the theory suggests that there are four main bodily humours (blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm) if the four humours are unbalanced it will result in illness. The humour blood in excess was thought to be linked with the cheerful “sanguine” temperament. Black bile in excess was believed to be linked to the depressive “melancholic” temperament. Yellow bile in excess was believed to be linked with the angry “choleric” temperament. Finally, the excess humour of phlegm is linked with the calm “phlegmatic” temperament.

The four temperaments are sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic. These were used to describe the effect of the humours on human behaviour. This theory focuses on personality.

Today’s post will focus on choleric and phlegmatic temperaments, by the end of the article you will be able to better understand people who display these temperaments. Also, you will understand ways to navigate your interactions with them, to bring the best out of them.

What Is Temperament?

A person’s temperament is not the same as their character, temperament is formed from a young age and it usually does not change, but rather develops with time. Many studies have shown that your temperament will remain constant, this simple understanding will help you to understand the rationale behind your reactions to certain situations. Also, some people may have primary and secondary temperament types.

  1. Phlegmatic:

Phlegmatic temperaments focus on serving and helping others, phlegmatic temperaments are introverted with sharing ideas but extroverted in their service to others/ expressing their emotions. They will often work effectively in a team to achieve a common outcome. They can be passive which results in a lack of ambition/ a sense of urgency when they are working in a team.

Phlegmatic Characteristics:

  • They are easy-going, calm and unemotional
  • They can be indecisive and agreeable, and do not mind others making decisions for them
  • They are slow to warm up to others, but can make friends very easily
  • They are the easiest temperament types to get along with because of their patience
  • Often, they follow their routines and can be resistant to change

Phlegmatic Traits:

  • They live quiet lives that revolved around family and home
  • They do not get involved with the world surrounding them/ other people
  • They are loyal to their friends and will stick to a relationship no matter the circumstance


The choleric temperament is results-oriented, they set goals and always follow through with them. They are driven to succeed and often stay positive, they face challenges head-on with the mentality of seeing positive results.

Choleric Characteristics:

  • Choleric temperament people are extroverted with sharing their ideas but are introverted in the way they interact with people and the way they express their emotions.
  • They are very independent and strong-willed.
  • They are fast thinkers and love to solve problems, give a choleric person a problem to solve and you’ll see their passion shine right though!
  • Their communication style is assertive and direct, some may perceive this as them being rude
  • They enjoy taking risks and can get bored easily
  • They are opinionated and like to be in control
  • They require less sleep than other temperaments.

Choleric Traits:

  • People with a choleric temperament tend to be creative.
  • They always have a new idea they want to execute and they an extraordinarily strong-willed sense of self (if they are not well-grounded this can result in high levels of pride) and they do not give in to peer pressure.
  • Although they are passionate about their work and executing their ideas, they fall short in their personal lives in terms of building relationships. Often, they will only have a select number of friends, also they are not the best at demonstrating empathy because they like the idea of being in control. Because they are very logically the idea of emotions being displayed for them is a sign of vulnerability; a territory they do not like to enter because they like to be in control.

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