Uniting School Administrators to Create a Better World

Keirsey Temperament Sorter For School Administrators

Hello again,

As I travel on my journey toward School Administration Mastery, I have to take two more university courses to receive the final credentials necessary to become an assistant principal or principal. I would like to use this blog to share what I’m learning as I complete the course work.

I would appreciate any feedback from any of those experienced school administrators who happen to take the time to read my posts. I know you’re busy, but I really do value the experience and expertise of veteran administrators.

So here’s my first “Going Back to School” post:

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter

As part of my continuing education to become a school administrator, I was asked to take a personality test of sorts. The goal of the assignment is to find out what kind of personality or temperament I have, and how understanding this will help me in becoming an effective school administrator.

You can find the test here:


According to Keirsey, there are four personality or temperament types. They are the Guardians, the Idealists, the Artisans, and the Rationals.

After taking the exam, it was determined that I was an Idealist.

At first, I was unsure if being an idealist was a good personality to have if I was going to be a school administrator, but as I read how Keirsey described the traits of an idealist, I was encouraged.

According to Keirsey, “idealists are highly ethical and hold themselves to a strict standard of personal integrity.”

Character is what I have always tried to maintain as well as teach in my classes. Although I know I am not a perfect example integrity, I do hold myself to a strict standard. I have a hard time with breaking rules, even if everybody else does. School administrators, whether they like it or not, have to maintain a certain level of integrity and character. They represent the school, and are automatically held to a higher standard. Some administrators may find that responsibility difficult to carry, because it is not in their character. I believe, however, that I will find it easier to maintain that level of integrity, at least that is what I hope.

They have the “very soul of kindness” and are “filled with love and goodwill.”

Is this a good thing for an administrator? I believe that people will be more loyal to a kind administrator than to an administrator who is unkind. I’ve been told that I’m too nice. I’m not so quick to assume the worst in students, faculty, or parents. I want to believe that people are not so selfish or conspiring. I have a hard time believing that people will actually lie to me to get what they want from me, even though I see it on a daily basis. Still, I refuse to become cynical or vindictive. I want to make people happy. I want to help people out. I want to be known as a kind person. As an administrator, this “soul of kindness” will keep me busy making sure my staff is supplied with what they need to make their day a happy one. Unfortunately, there will be tough decisions that I will have to make that will portray me as an unkind leader. Hopefully, I will be able to communicate the reasons behind my decisions in a way that won’t tarnish that image.

 “Conflict and confrontation upset them.”

I don’t believe anybody enjoys conflict or the idea of having to confront someone. Unfortunately, as I’m finding out more often lately, confrontation and conflict are part of the administrator’s daily experience. I’m also finding out that I’m not too crazy about the idea of having to confront someone about an issue. Keirsey has pegged me right on this one. I am beginning to understand, however, that part of growing and improving requires conflict and confrontation. You have to be able to debate differences of opinion if there is going to be growth. It would be easy to just avoid conflict by hoping the problem goes away or by keeping the status quo, even if it isn’t working. To move to the next level, however, there needs to be change, and change often times will require conflict and confrontation. I need to learn to focus on the benefits of conflict, so it won’t upset me as much.

Idealists, according to Keirsey, “dream of creating harmonious, even caring personal relations, and they have a unique talent for helping people get along with each other and work together for the good of all.”

As a school administrator, you want your staff to like each other so much that they will want to collaborate with each other. Wouldn’t it be great if teachers could observe each other and share their observations, critiques, advice, etc.? Imagine if teachers were willing not only to share best practices, but use other teachers’ lessons and strategies? Some schools are working on creating an environment where this is part of a normal way of life. My school is creating such a Professional Learning Community (PLC). The toughest part of making this share-each-other’s-expertise idea is creating this harmonious environment, because teachers aren’t used to collaborating in any kind of systematic way. They are accustomed to hiding in their classrooms, and doing their own thing. Sharing ideas, strategies, successes and failures is not something they have been taught to do. Slowly, but surely, with enough support from the administration, teachers are beginning to see the benefit of working together. Personality conflicts can get in the way at times, and we find ourselves mediating personal issues, which seems like a trivial task, but in order to get teachers to collaborate, they have to get along… “for the good of all.”

Idealists have the “ability to inspire people with their enthusiasm and their idealism has given them influence far beyond their numbers.”

I hope this part is true. I would love to be able to have a positive influence on my staff. It would be great to be able to convert some of the negative teachers into teachers who see value in their job and in their students.

Idealists are “drawn to working with people and are gifted with helping others find their way in life, often inspiring them to grow as individuals and to fulfill their potential both on and off the job.”

I’m not too sure about being drawn to working with people. I am pretty withdrawn, and I’ve never been the life of the party. I do like to help people, however. That’s probably why I enjoy sharing my experiences on my blog. If I have some expertise that I can offer to help other people do their job better, I enjoy to opportunity to do so. I have to be careful that I’m not offering help that is unwanted. As a school administrator, I am in the unique position to help teachers become better teachers. I can use my position as evaluator to offer strategies to polish their abilities. The evaluation meeting shouldn’t be a checklist of criticism of a teacher’s lesson, but an opportunity to offer advice on how to better reach students. What I’ve also learned is that as an administrator, I can help facilitate a system where teacher leaders can serve as mentors to newer teachers, allowing the flow of experience and expertise to spread among all the staff. I would like to think that I have a “gift” for “helping others find their way in life.” The key is that the person is finding their own way, and not just following my way. As a school administrator, I have to offer them the incentives to want to grow, and then provide the necessary resources for them to grow.

Overall, I guess I am an Idealist. I choose to accept this label as a positive description of myself and not as something that I have to overcome to be an effective school administrator. I guess only time will tell if my “idealistic” temperament will serve me well as I take on the responsibilities of an assistant principal or principal. I look forward to discovering the answer to this question.

Again, if you happened to read this entire post, I would welcome any feedback from any school administrators who can contribute to my education.

Also, I would be interested to  know if any other administrators have taken the test and what their results were.

Again, you can take the test here:




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