Four temperaments: Online Trustworthiness Course, Part 2
Ken Buist
Ken Buist

Article 1 of 12 in the
Trustworthiness series


Trust and temperament

Definition of trust


Trustworthiness Quotient








Four temperaments and trust

2,500 year-old model

This analysis is based upon the model of four temperaments first described by Hippocrates (and expanded by me to embrace trust).


People are bound to trust me because I have such strong principles

The adviser or consultant with the first of the four temperaments, "Dominant", would see themselves as trustworthy, being very principled in their approach. They can usually be relied upon to carry out their promises.

Others may be wary of trusting this temperament, however, because dominant people are not naturally warm, find it difficult to be vulnerable and are therefore not easy to get close to. Together with their natural force of personality this can lead to others feeling that the dominant person is not to be trusted because they may at times take advantage of you.

As far as trusting others is concerned, they have a natural fear of someone "getting one over" on them, and are inclined to be suspicious of others, in particular of their motives. As a result they may not find it easy to trust others.


Anyone can see that I'm a people person. They trust me instinctively because of that.

The adviser or consultant with the second of the four temperaments, "Influential", would see themselves as trustworthy, as they love people and freely make promises to others which at the time they have every intention of keeping.

However, they can easily become sidetracked and fail to deliver on the promises that they have made. Eventually this can lead to others not trusting them.

They can, on occasions, be indiscreet in their quest to be popular. This temperament can be overly trusting of other people, particularly of people they like and who are of similar temperaments. They can also overly trust as to the ability of other people, in some cases 'talking them up' into believing they can do a particular task well, even when it is totally unrealistic.


The reason people place their trust in me is that they can see I genuinely care about them

The adviser or consultant with the third of the four temperaments, "Steady, would see themselves as trustworthy as they are conscientious people.

Relationships are very important to them and they would not want to let other people down. However, in their quest to please everyone, they may not always be as honest with others as they should be, sometimes holding back painful truths. This can result in other people not trusting them as they are unsure if they are being told the full story.

They are by nature sceptical and would want to have developed a deep and meaningful relationship before they were prepared to trust completely. If trust is broken with this person, it is a long road back before they are willing to trust once again.


People like me do things properly, efficiently, thoroughly. That's why others put their trust in me.

The adviser or consultant with the last of the four temperaments, "Compliant", would see themselves as trustworthy, as they pride themselves on doing things 'correctly' - they feel duty bound to fulfil promises.

They are very discreet and will not readily betray a confidence. They can, however, be seen as aloof and can be make it difficult for others to trust this temperament.

People with this temperament tend to see everything that could go wrong first, and will need much reassurance and adequate data before they are prepared to trust. It takes a long time for this person to be prepared to share their inner selves with other people.

Next article: Definition of Trust

©2006 Ken Buist

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