The Rational Temperament

Characterized by independent problem solvers, ‘rationals’ is one of the four temperaments introduced by David Keirsey in his Keirsey Temperament Sorter.  Like each of Keirsey’s temperaments, the Rationals temperament is comprised of four of the 16 personality types (outlined below) and groups these types together based on behavior and actions.

In this article, we will explore the similarities of the four rational types. We will also explore what makes each type different and discuss how this may impact career choices.

Overview of the Rational Temperament

The rational temperament is comprised of those with iNtuitive (N) and Thinking (T) preferences. Rationals make up around 10% of the population, making them the smallest temperament. In general, they are pragmatic, independent, strong willed and natural problem solvers. The rational temperament is comprised of four of the 16 personality types, namely:

  • The ENTJ (or otherwise known as ‘the commander’) is decisive and daring. They are motivated and ambitious and will work tirelessly to meet their goals. ENTJs typically take charge and pave the way for others, making them natural leaders.
  • The INTJ (or otherwise known as ‘the mastermind’) are strategic and calculating. Their organized nature gives them the ability to plan ahead and work steadily towards goals. They are independent and seek to build relations with those who they find intellectually stimulating.
  • The ENTP (or otherwise known as ‘the visionary’) is optimistic, energetic and passionate. They tend to have a strong passion for new ideas and innovation. ENTPs enjoy interacting with others and are charming, motivating and inspiring.
  • The INTP (or otherwise known as ‘the architect’) is level-headed and thoughtful. They are incredibly analytical and have the desire to have an in-depth understanding of the world. Typically, INTPs are reserved and may shy away from social situations.

Similarities of the Rational Types

(Including Career Choice Differences)

All of the four rational types share many common characteristics – hence why they are grouped together.

The Rational’s iNtuitive Preference

The four personality types grouped within the rational temperament all share an iNtuitive (N) when they process the world around them and make decisions. This means that all of the four types in this temperament will focus on ideas and concepts, rather than facts and details.

As a result, rationals seek to understand the world around them. They are natural problem solvers and are always exploring how their own ideas may produce logical solutions. This is why rationals are typically found thriving in positions where they are free to explore their ideas independently and use these ideas to solve complexed problems.

The Rational’s Thinking Preference

All four rationals share a thinking preference. Typically, this implies that all of these types will all make decisions based on logic and reason, opposed to emotions and values. Rationals tend to be decisive, having the ability to make effective and logical decisions. They dream of understanding the world around them, and once they have a detailed knowledge and understanding, only then will they make their decisions.

The ‘Knowledge-Seeking’ Temperament

All rationals share the same tendency to be results-driven. They are ambitious and, as a result, have been labelled as the ‘knowledge-seeking’ temperament. They try to gather as much information as possible to develop long-term plans and the steps to achieving these goals. Rationals are tough-minded and strong-willed, and they stand out at work for their ability to work hard in pursuit of achieving their goals.

Differences Between The Rational Types

(Including Career Choice Differences)

Although all rational types share many common characteristics, they are all unique and behave in individual ways too. Let’s explore their differences.

Engineers Versus Coordinators

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 rational temperament, each type is either an engineer or a coordinator:

  • ENTJs and INTPs are coordinators. They tend to be more arranging and when they communicate with others, they tend to direct them.
  • ENTPs and INTPs are engineers. When the communicate with others, they tend to be informing.

Rationals and Leadership

All rationals seek to solve problems. However, a huge difference between each type is what problems they seek to solve.

Extroverted rationals, such as ENTJs are more sociable. In comparison to introverted rationals, they are more likely to seek to solve social problems (e.g., employee relations, recruitment or family issues). Similarly, although all types of rationals are capable leaders, due to their result-driven and ambitious nature, these types of rationals are eager to lead and take charge. They tend to gravitate towards positions of power, where they can work closely with others and use their knowledge and understanding to influence others. Such positions include as an executive, human resources manager or logistics manager.

Rationals with an introverted preferences tend to not be such eager leaders. At work, you tend to find them in more independent roles that avoid the spotlight. INTJs, for example, are introverted rationals. Their key characteristics is that they are decisive and want to get things done. As leaders, however, their introverted nature may cause them to focus too much on their own pursuits and ignore the views and wishes of others. Therefore, in the workplace, it is common to see these introverted rationals in more solo positions, such as computing or IT roles.

Rationals and Stress

Rationals are constantly seeking to understand the world around them. When this becomes blocked and they cannot interpret their surrounding, rationals may become stressed. However, each rational reacts to stress slightly differently.

For instance, the ENTP tends to be very positive and will laugh off and avoid negativity. Yet, when these types get stressed they can become obsessive over the problem. Their brain will work overtime, causing them to seek additional sleep and to withdraw from their friends. Other types, such as INTJs become stressed when they are forced to deal with too many unexpected events. Unlike ENTPs, they will feel like the world is against them, but tend to recover quite well from stress when left alone to process their thoughts.

Wrapping Up: Best Careers for Rational Types

Rationals are pragmatic and independent problem solvers. They seek to understand the world around them, and as a result are often found thriving in careers where they are left to independently solve problems. One major difference seen between rationals is they type of problems they seek to solve. Extraverted rationals are likely to thrive of solving ‘people-oriented’ problems. Whereas introverted rationals seek to solve technical problems.

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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