The Guardian Temperament

The ‘guardian’ is one of the four temperaments in the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, which groups together personality types of the 16 personalities model based on behavior and action.

Like each of the four of the temperaments, it is composed of four of the 16 personality types which share many similarities. In the case of guardians, each of the four types shares a sense of dutifulness, a strong work-ethic and a moral compass.

In this article, we will explore each guardian type. We will explore what core characteristics make them similar, and what characteristics differentiate them. We’ll then apply this information to the subject of work and career selection to learn what careers are best for Guardian temperament types.

Overview of the Guardian Temperament

The guardian temperament is comprised of those with Sensing and Judging (S-J) preferences. Guardians make up around 45% of the population, making them the largest temperament. In general, they are factual, steady, dependable, law-abiding, logistical and dutiful. The guardian temperament is comprised of four of the 16 personality types, namely:

  • The ESTJ (or otherwise known as the ‘executive’) is decisive and firm. They tend to be incredibly conscientious and hard-working. The ESTJ is likely to have a commanding presences, exert social dominance and have no issues taking charge!
  • The ISTJ (or otherwise known as the ‘inspector’) is responsible, reserved, organized and reliable. They tend to have incredibly high standards and seek predictability, stability and comfort. At work, they tend to prefer environments with no surprises and where rules and regulations are established and adhered to!
  • The ESFJ (or otherwise known as ‘the provider’) are gregarious and welcoming. They tend to have high levels of emotional intelligence and have a genuine interest in caring for others! They are passionate team leaders and tend to excel in sociable roles.
  • The ISFJ (or otherwise known as the ‘protector’) are loyal, patient and gentle. They are often the glue that holds a team together as they seek to nurture and support others. They are incredibly compassionate, caring and they enjoy looking after others to ensure their safety.

Similarities of the Guardian Types
(Including Career Choice Commonalities)

The ESTJ, ISTJ, ESFJ and ISFJ are all grouped as guardians because they share many similarities. Their desire to protect their community, their dutifulness and factual nature are a few of the key characteristics all guardian types share.

The Guardian’s Sensing Preference

For a start, all guardians share a ‘sensing’ preference. This means they tend to focus on facts and details, rather than ideas and concepts. Due to this, all guardians tend not to be attracted to idle speculations and are most at home in the real world. At work, they have an eye toward practical applications in managing material things.

The Guardian’s Judging Preference

Similarly, all guardians share a judging preference. This means that they tend to prefer to be planned and organized, opposed to spontaneous and flexible. This is why we find many of the guardian types in stable and predictable careers (e.g., as a claims adjuster or controller) and careers where they can use their organizational skills and follow procedures (e.g., nursing).

The ‘Security-Seeking’ Temperament

Guardians are often referred to as the ‘security-seeking‘ temperament because of their desire for stability.

They are the cornerstone of society, using their loyal, law-abiding and dutiful nature to serve and preserve the most important institutions (e.g., schools, churches and hospitals). They seek consistent and calm environments where authority is valued and they feel like they belong. In many circumstances, all four guardian types tend to prefer comfort, predictability and a place where they can focus on protecting the well-being of others. 

Differences Between The Guardian Types

(Including Career Choice Differences)

Although there are many similar characteristics of the four guardian types, they also have differences that set them apart. In this section, we will explore those differences and highlight how this may impact a guardians career choices.

Conservators Versus Administrators

Within each of the four temperaments, there are two roles that the personality types can either fall into. These roles differentiate how each type solves problems and communicates with others. In the guardian temperament, each type is either an conservator or an administrator:

  • ESFJs and ISFJs are conservators. They are informative and reactive. When they communicate with others, they tend to be informing and supportive.
  • ESTJ and ISTJs are administrators. These two types tend to be directive and proactive. They tend to work to spot problems before they occur and act in advance. When they communicate with others, they tend to do direct them.

Guardians and Leadership

All guardians are concerned with the well-being of others. However, one major difference that can be seen in guardians is their desirability to take leadership roles. As extraverts are energized by spending time with others, and introverts are not, it is of no surprise that the extraverted guardian types (ESTJs and ESFJs) are more likely to excel to leadership positions.

One particular type, the ESTJ, is the one of the most talkative types out of all 16. People who fall into the ESTJ category are likely to feel confident taking charge. More so than other guardian types, they thrive leadership positions  – as long as these leadership positions are sociable, valuable and their efforts are recognized. Similarly, the ESFJ is the most sociable guardian. They too are suited to leadership roles, where they can work closely with others in stable and organized environments.

Guardians and Stress

All personality types, whether they are guardians, rationals or artisans, will experience stress. Guardians are likely to experience the most stress when rules, expectations and structure are not clear and/or followed. They may also experience high levels of stress when their hard work and dedication isn’t recognized or appreciated. However, not all guardians will react to stress the same.

The extraverted types (ESTJs and ESFJs) are more likely to be expressive of their stress. Although they are often attentive and dedicated team leaders, when stressed they may become critical of and blame others. Whereas the introverted guardians (ISTJs and ISFJs) are more likely to criticize themselves. Unlike their extraverted cousins, they tend to place the blame internally and believe they were the cause of the issue.

Wrapping Up: Best Careers for Guardians

Guardians are dutiful, law-abiding and community-minded. In general, they are likely to thrive in stable and organized environments that focus on the ‘real world’. Their most obvious difference is in their desirability to strive for leadership roles. Notably, guardians with an extraversion preferences are more likely to feel confident taking charge. These types of guardians are also more likely to be expressive with their stress.

If you’re looking for more information, check out our detail descriptions of each type:

If you’re not sure of your personality type, head over to this page to learn more. Enjoy!

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