Who in the workplace can be diplomatic, diligent, and sometimes lazy? It’s the phlegmatic.
What makes this personality soar or crash in the workplace is their ability to operate in their strengths. Let’s explore the interesting phenomenon that is a phlegmatic at work.
Phlegmatic people are natural diplomats. That stems from their dislike of conflict – they are the peacemakers. More so than the other three personality types, they are able to see the merit in opposite sides of a dispute. Their easy-going manner allows them to mediate well when two or more parties are tearing at each others throats.
Several years ago when I worked at my college friend’s dry cleaner we had a former scientist (I live in the place where the atomic bomb was developed and we have lots of older scientist walking around our community) as a customer. He was a tad eccentric and brought some rather odd requests into the shop. He was never satisfied with the finished product and came in regularly to rant, rave, and yell at employees . . . that is, all except me. He like me because I chatted with him and talked about his old days at the national lab. Needless to say I was the only phlegmatic employee and my natural inclination to slow down and take time with him touched his crusty old, scientific heart.
Talk about a diligent heart. That is the phlegmatic. If they say they are going to do something, they WILL get it done. But here lays the problem:
- They will not get it done with the fanfare and flamboyance of a sanguine.
- They will not get it done with the intensity and speed of the choleric.
- They will not get it done with the meticulous precision of a melancholy.
- They WILL get it done in their time and in the their no-frills way.
In college I worked at a book and music store. My co-workers included a sanguine and a choleric. One day the boss came in and sat behind the counter and watched us go about our typical duties. At the end of the day he commented to me, “Hmm, I guess you DO do work around here after all. You’re a good little worker.” In this case I was easily overlooked because I went about my responsibilities without any fanfare.
I hate to admit it, but, yes, sometimes a phlegmatic worker can be lazy on the job. This usually happens when they are operating in their weakness. In most personalities, strengths carried to the extreme become weaknesses. A lazy worker comes when a phlegmatic takes their laid-back nature to the extreme and they don’t do anything. This is no good in the workplace and makes extra work for others.
A Good Leader?
There is an interesting phenomenon that follows some phlegmatic employees: because they are so inoffensive and easy to get along with, they sometimes end up in managerial positions when they are not always the best match. Supervisors and managers need to be good decision makers. Phlegmatic people don’t come by that skill naturally. People in elevated positions of responsibility have more tasks . . . phlegmatic personalities tend not to be task oriented unless they have a melancholy blend. When a phlegmatic ends up in a role with more responsibilities than they are equipped for, they are often unhappy and ineffective.
However, a phlegmatic operating in his or her strengths brings diplomacy and an nonabrasive style to leadership roles. They work will under pressure and their warm, comfortable demeanor often makes them a beloved boss. They also have a knack of turning chaos into a manageable project.
Good Career Matches
- Support Roles like assistant
- School Administrators
- Being an entrepreneur
- Leadership positions in areas you are not passionate or experienced in
- Positions that are consistently high-pressure
Phlegmatic personalities thrive in a variety of positions, but the key is that they operate in their natural strengths and choose a career that ignites their passions.
©2012 Shona Neff