The Idealist Temperament

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‘Idealist’ is one of the four temperaments introduced in Kiersey’s personality model. Characterized by those who are giving, trusting and spiritual, the idealist temperaments often demonstrate similar behaviors and, as result, look for similar things in a career. However, there are, of course, difference between each of the four idealist types too.

In this article, we will explore the common characteristics shared by all four of the idealist types. We will then also explore how each idealist type behaves differently, and what this might mean for their career considerations.

Overview of the Idealist Temperament

The idealist temperament is comprised of those with an iNtuitive and feeling (N-F) preference. Idealists make up around 15% of the total population, making it one of the smaller temperaments. In general, people who fall into this temperament are trusting, generous, spiritual, kind-hearted and authentic. The idealist temperament is comprised of four personality types, namely:

  • The ENFJ (or otherwise known as the ‘mentor’) is empathetic, welcoming, patient and tolerant. They are forward-thinking and often have the ability to see potential in others. Due to their community minded nature, ENFJs are often seen helping and motivating others!
  • The INFJ (or otherwise known as the ‘counselor’) is typically very compassionate and caring. They seek to wholly understand the people around them and want to help better humanity, in their own introverted way.
  • The ENFP (or otherwise known as the ‘social butterfly’) has an infectious energy and positive attitude. They are typically charming, warm, have a happy-go-lucky attitude and are most at home in sociable and enthusiastic environments!
  • The INFP (or otherwise known as the ‘healer’) is deeply in-tune with their emotions. They have the ability to understand and relate to others and genuinely care about others. They are also profusely creative and artistic.

Similarities of the Idealist Types

Including Career Choice Differences

All of the four idealist types share many of the same core characteristics – their caring nature, desire to follow their values and improve themselves, to name a few.

The Idealist’s iNtuitive Preference

The ENFP, INFP, INFJ and ENFJ are grouped together because they share the same preferences for processing information and making decisions. For a start, they all share an intuitive (N) preference. This describes how idealists see the world around them and process information.

Their intuitiveness makes them imaginative, open-minded and understanding. Often, they seek novelty over stability. As a result, lots of idealist can be found in creative careers, for example acting or filmmaking, that promote individuality. Similarly, an idealist intuition allows them to be understanding and tolerant of others. Their ability to always look for future possibilities means that idealists can be found in careers where they can help others to become the best versions of themselves.

The Idealist’s Feeling Preference

The idealists also all share a ‘feeling’ preference. This means that they make their decisions based on emotions and values – idealists tend to follow their heart, not their head. Due to this, idealists are often always drawn to careers that align with their values. These types tend to be naturally drawn to people and are gifted at helping others find their way.

The ‘Identity-Seeking’ Temperament

Idealists are often called the ‘identity-seeking’ temperament because they are concerned with personal growth and development. They tend to strive to discover who they are and are always on the quest for self-knowledge and self-improvement so that they can become the best possible version of themselves

Differences Between The Guardian Types

Including Career Choice Differences!

Each of the 16 personality types is unique in their own way – and guardians are no different! Although all four types share many core characteristics, they also behave differently too.

Advocates Versus Mentors

Within each temperament, there are two roles that the personality types can either fall into. These roles differentiate how each type solves problems and communicates. In the guardian temperament, each type is either an advocate or a mentor.

  • ENFJs and INFJs are mentors. They are the directive and proactive idealists. They tend to work to spot problems before they occur and have the ability act in advance. When they communicate with others, they tend to focus on developing them.
  • ENFPs and INFPs are advocates. They are informative and reactive. This means that they are less likely to think in advance and are more likely to think on the spot in order to solve problems. When the communicate with others, they tend to be very good at mediating conflicts.

Idealists and Leadership

One distinguishing characteristic that sets idealists apart is whether they are energized by spending time alone (introversion) or with others (extraversion). Although all idealists care deeply about others, their introversion or extraversion preference is likely to determine their career choice or job role.

Take ENFJs, for example. Labelled as the ‘mentor’, they thrive off encouraging others to be the best versions of themselves. Typically, these types end up in positions where they can inspire and motivate others, particularly in the education sector. However, ENFJs can sometimes become overpowering with their visions due to their passion.

On the contrary to ENFJs, the INFP is far more reserved. Although they are concerned about others, they tend to be private. They often feel ‘different’ to others and like to work alone. As a result, INFPs are far less likely to strive for (or thrive in) leadership positions. Furthermore, INFPs tend to show perfectionistic qualities. In order to achieve perfection, they tend to be quite hard on themselves, hard on others and can be overly controlling.

Idealists and Stress

Every single one us experiences stress, regardless of what type we fall under. All idealists tend to experience stress when their desire for cooperation and harmony is not met. However, different types of idealist are likely to experience additional stress in response to different things.

The two mentoring types (ENFJs and INFJs) go to great lengths to ensure that everyones needs are met. By nature, these two types of people are more likely to try to develop and encourage others. When working in a team, these types are more likely to become frustrated when others fail to ensure everyones needs are met. Due to this, it is advisable that these types seek careers in teams/environments that are supportive.

The two advocating types (ENFPs and INFPs) want to be be allowed to work for the betterment of the group or organization they work for. These two types, more so than other idealist types, are likely to become frustrated and stress if they feel like they are losing their identity if stuck in an environment that requires conformity. As a result, they may want to consider careers in companies or fields that promote individuality and want to progress!

Wrapping Up: Best Careers for Idealists

Often thought to be in their own world, idealists are caring, thoughtful and are always seeking personal development. They often seek uniqueness, freedom and novelty, which is why many idealists are found in creative careers. At work, their differences can be seen in their desirability to work with others. The extraverted idealists are likely to feel far more confident in roles where they work closely with other people.

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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