The Artisan Personality

More than forty percent of all men and women are artisan personalities. They are bold, empirical, do what works rather than what is socially acceptable, sensitive to what sounds good, always on the lookout for advantage and opportunity, perfecting their technique no matter the cost, and rolling with the punches.

Artisans are unplanned, undiplomatic, and cynical. They do not easily learn from errors and they impulsively abandon activities and relationships without regret. They are playmates as spouses, liberators as parents, and negotiators as leaders. Presidents Jackson, Reagan, and Clinton and Prime Minister Churchill possessed artisan personalities.

No doubt you know many that fit this description. The bully next door who works in a metal working plant, the smooth talking car sales rep who sold you your last car, or the audacious rescue coordinator being interviewed on national television who led a diverse team and saved thousands during a terrorist attack.

We mainly associate this personality with men. Bold and empirical rarely was applied to women. However, now-a-days, women like Ronda Rousey, Ashley Force Hood, or Carly Fiorina have stepped out into prominence in their fields.

This is one of the personalities that is especially important for writers to recognize and portray. David Keirsey’s book Please Understand Me is a useful reference for writers who want to fully flesh out their characters.

Keirsey says Hippocrates and Galen observed that there are four personality types. Later scientists refined their observations by identifying four distinctions within each type.

Keirsey defines the artisan personality as concrete in their word use and utilitarian in their tool use. Their language sounds good, it points to things seen or felt, it’s devoid of interpretation, and it incorporates slang and catchy turns of phrase.

Artisans fall into four subcategories, each containing approximately 10 percent of the population. Two are characterized as directive: the expressive promoter and the reserved crafter. The promoter is smooth, able to gain other’s confidence. The crafter is quiet, skillful at using equipment, and sometimes insubordinate.

The two other subtypes are informative: expressive performers and reserved composers. The performer is outgoing, skillful at handling an audience, and outwardly showing social concern while doing what they deem expedient. The composer skillfully blends what excites the five senses, whether music, art, or food.

Artisans are interested in anything requiring skillful practice. They will perfect their technique no matter the cost and employ whatever equipment necessary.

They live each day for maximum payoff. The past is water under the bridge. The future is far off so why plan. Wherever the action is that’s where they want to be. They seize the day but do not learn easily from errors.

They see themselves as artistic, taking pride in their performance; audacious, risking it all fearlessly; and adaptable, altering and shaping their behavior moment by moment according to circumstances in order to be effective.

They value excitement and are easily bored. Artisans are spontaneous, intense, and free; abandoning commitments without regret. They exert a strong presence in events for social impact, seek sensation to liven up dull times, and are impulsively extravagant gift givers. They are relentless in pursuit of artistic execution.

They are devoted to giving pleasure and excitement to mates. A friend but no more. They will leave if they feel trapped. Artisans encourage children to test the limits of their surroundings and do things on their own as early as possible. They easily spot the edge that gives them leverage over people and circumstances.

As we wrote in “Why Are There Four Gospel Accounts?,” an earlier blog posting, these traits describe some peoples’ predispositions. Their experiences can mold them, as far as they are willing and able, so that they acquire attributes of the other personality types. These attributes in sum could be said to be their overall dispositions.

If you are a writer, I heartily recommend reading Keirsey’s book for yourself. I created detailed outlines for my personal use. You may profit from the same effort. We’ll review Keirsey’s take on the Guardian, Idealist, and Rational personality types via several posts over the next few weeks.

Kardinal - Hybrid tea rose

Kardinal – Hybrid tea rose, Raised by R. Kordes, Germany. 1986 (reg.), 26 May 2013, Photo by Laitche, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.