Everyone fits into one or more of the four basic temperament (personality) groups. To understand the people you work and live with, you must understand how God has “wired” them. The first of these are called Phlegmatics, or people who are peace-oriented. These people tend to be introverts and process their thoughts inwardly. Peaceful Phlegmatics are great peace-makers and can see both sides of an issue, making them great negotiators. They would rather follow the rules than make the rules. They tend to be soft-spoken but very relational. They are loyal to the end, so to have others be loyal to them is crucial, and betrayal is devastating. They tend to be very sensitive to these issues.
Their greatest strength is that they are peace-makers and hate to fight. Their greatest weakness is that they hate to fight, and therefore avoid conflict to the point that they do not express their true feelings, and do not resolve any ongoing problem. Don’t get me wrong, when the pressure finally gets great enough, they do explode, and often do great damage when they do so!
Prominent Phlegmatics in our church would be people like Dorothy Lockwood, Dan Hurraw, and myself. You probably know some primary or secondary Phlegmatics, because there are more of them than the other three, which we’ll discuss tomorrow.
How do you talk to a Phlegmatic? Don’t press them. They process their thoughts inwardly and need time to think it through. The more you press them the more they stonewall because once they speak their thoughts, they are in stone. So they carefully choose their words and hold to them. Give them your side and ask them to get back with you in a day or so. Us Phlegmatics just take too long!
What have you learned about working with Peaceful Phlegmatics?