Blog Archives

The Four Temperaments of Leadership

Mt Rush

Revised for the Good Men Project:

Organizational cultures are shaped and shift depending on leadership.  The trickle-down impact is immediate, although it is typically reinforced by the feedback and performance reviews which elucidate expectations of behavior.  Oftentimes, Senior Management conflicts results with values and/or cultural preferences, and expects direct reports to behave similarly.  This is what is referred to as “a fit.” Variance is frequently considered, unfortunately, as a nuisance, rather than an asset.

One framework to consider in assessing the various leadership temperaments in the workplace is the instrument created by Bob Hill and Lisa Yankowitz (  Ntrinsx is a dynamic tool designed for understanding and leveraging differences into an organizational competitive advantage.  For example, it helps to establish a positive self-awareness of one’s communication style, which lends itself as to how to best deliver feedback — a critical component of every leader’s guidance and development of a team.  A lack of understanding how to best craft one’s message can lead to dissension in the ranks.  Gaining perspective of one’s team members’ behavior builds team rapport and creates a safe environment where teammates can feel free to be their authentic selves; their whole selves.


How It Works

Naturally, temperament is not fixed, and, therefore, can show up differently depending on the situation and the context. Ntrinsx uses four colors (i.e. Gold, Green, Orange; Blue) for simplification purposes, and we are typically a blend of all four, although the first one or two colors are most prominent in our daily activities, communication, and thought.

Allow me, if you will, to be a bit dramaturgical…every acclaimed play, script, film contains a representative of each of the Four Temperaments (as further shown below).  This is to create the connection between the audience and the story.  The connection exists because we as humans can identify most with those who behaviorally resemble ourselves.

This is the pathos, or EMOTION.  Their THOUGHTS is the logos; and what we think of their character is the ethos – which is what the audience casts upon the individual.  Together, they represent Artistotle’s three modes of persuasion.  And it is this diverse cast of characters which stimulates interest enough for hordes of audiences to follow the trailers into the movie theaters.  Conversely, when top, influential leaders leave organizations, so do a number of talented employees who resonated with that person’s leadership.

In an organization, great leaders are versatile, adaptable, and culturally competent.  Great leaders understand that the global market, through the touch of a keystroke, is no longer overseas, but at their doorstep and in their offices – either virtually or physically.  It is best for leaders to form a team which can identify its abilities and consider those abilities as strengths in a toolbox from which to draw when faced with workplace challenges and diverse clients.  Having the four temperaments present would contribute towards Cultural Competence, the key to organizational success.

Interrelatedness is a direct result of understanding and trust.  This is why it is imperative for leaders to raise their Emotional Intelligence and gain perspective.  Higher self-awareness can be achieved by gaining a better understanding as to how they show up to others, and by learning who the other “cast of characters” who work with them are.

The strongest, and most successful, organizations have leaders which represent all four temperaments.  This fosters an environment for healthy conflict, a diverse perspective, and a robust strategy…a recipe for organizational success.


American Presidents • Star Wars • Harry Potter • The Avengers • Lord of the Rings • Wizard of Oz

See below representations of the Four Temperaments; and decide which character(s) resonate(s) most with how you see yourself.

Gold (Process-oriented):


Characters: George Washington, C-3P0/R2-D2, Ronald Weasley, Captain America, Samwise Gamgee, Dorothy

Traits: Dependable, Guardian, Loyal, Procedures, Reliable, Duty, Thorough, Loves Details, Orderly, Organized, Trustworthy, Security, Rule-oriented


Green (Process-oriented):


Characters: Thomas Jefferson, Yoda, Hermoine Granger, Hulk, Gandalf, Scarecrow

Traits: Philosophical, Abstract, Independent, Logical, Critical, Strategic, Complex, Thinker, Big Picture, Inquisitive, Private, Knowledgeable, Rational


Orange (Relationship-oriented):


Characters: Theodore Roosevelt, Han Solo, Fred & George Weasley, Iron Man, Aragorn, Lion

Traits:  Action, Fun, Funny, Decisive, Practical, Spontaneous, Flexible, Good in a crisis, Direct, Needs Variety, Adventurous, Impulsive, Resists Authority, Quick


Blue (Relationship-oriented):


Characters: Abraham Lincoln, Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Thor, Frodo, Tin Man

Traits:  Nurturing, Passionate, Harmonious, Collaborative, Cooperative, Idealistic, Empathetic, Sociable, Inspires, Motivates, Sees Possibilities, Feeler, Sensitive, Optimistic


Intrinsically, we are drawn towards a sense of balance.  This is why I like using Mount Rushmore (or, as I like to call them, “The Dead Presidents”), because it symbolizes how recognized leaders with distinct temperaments have been immortalized in stone for doing what they do best…namely, being themselves.  George Washington (Gold) was the structured, military general who stayed true to the American principles established and refused to be king.  Thomas Jefferson (Green) was the creator of the system for the American institution of higher education.  Theodore Roosevelt (Orange) was the hunter, outdoorsman who said, “Walk softly, and carry a big stick.” And, Abraham Lincoln (Blue) was the compassionate diplomat who kept this nation indivisible and honored the civil rights of all citizens.  Each of the temperaments of these leaders shaped the USA to be strong.

Powerful leaders engage large populations when people sense passion and consistency of character.  That combination creates a strong, undeniable brand.

How do you lead?

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, Green/Blue, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.  We increase retention.  Visit

© Rossina Gil, 2015