The Choleric Personality 

While the Sanguine personality type is the most obvious to identify and the Melancholy is the second most obvious, being the Sanguines stark opposite, we find ourselves taking a different approach to determine the Choleric

As you read, try to identify the choleric in your life, understanding that you cannot change them.  However, you can change your approach to them in order to improve or save this intense relationship.  

If you identify yourself as Choleric, please slow down and hear me today.  You posses a tremendous amount of potential.  However, you are the most unlikely to reach your full potential because you are, by nature, not teachable.  I’m not asking you to agree; I am simply asking you to read the entire thing and hear me out.  Fair enough?  Please consider how you can best live in the avenue of your strengths and what steps you need to take to overcome and break through your weaknesses.  Don’t be fooled, your weaknesses will stop you from reaching your greatest potential.  The worst thing you can do is conclude, “Well, that’s just the way I am,” — that is, unless, you are willing to give that courtesy to everyone else including employees, coworkers and family. We are ALL a work in progress.    

Here are 7 main points for you to know and expect about the Powerful Choleric personality:

1) Shift in Atmospheric Pressure.  I have found the best way to determine if someone is Powerful Choleric, is not by the way they dress or the volume of their voice, but by the shift in the atmosphere when they enter a room.  They never enter a room unnoticed.  If they are a positive force in your life, they bring with them a sense of energy and excitement. You brace for a new adventure and see them as someone to follow.  If they are a negative force in your life, they bring with them a feeling of stress and tension that could be sliced with a knife.  You know what I mean. 

2) Likeness to the energizer bunny.  The choleric person is highly productive and project focused.  They always have a TO DO list much longer than is humanly possible.  This is the person you look at and think, “Do they ever stop?”  The answer is no.  Even in their sleep, they are thinking of what is next.  They often find it difficult to rest.  However, they do understand that sleep and rest are necessary for production and so, once they decide to stop for the day, they stop.  Compared to the other personality types, Cholerics have the highest energy level and are re-energized by activity.  As long as there are things that need done, they seem to muster the energy and effort it takes to make it happen.  And then, they strongly desire credit and recognition for their achievements.

If you are not Choleric, you may find it difficult to keep up with this person.  You may find you are exhausted by all their projects and wild ideas.  Set clear boundaries with them.  They need to understand what you are willing to help do and not do.  They need to know how much is too much.  Otherwise, they will drive you right over the edge.  I assure you, nothing will seem like too much to them.

3) A love for being challenged.  The choleric is a thrill seeker who thrives under pressure.  They continuously challenge themselves to take things to the next level. Even when a new challenge is not required or necessary, they will make one up.  Often, this tendency results in the choleric making normal, routine activities and conversations more difficult.  Many people struggle in relationships with a choleric because it seems nothing is ever simple.  The choleric makes things harder and more complicated than is necessary.  

Cholerics are problem fixers who are quick to jump on rescue missions or to throw out options for solving problems unless they perceive a winning solution is not possible.  

You see, if the choleric can’t win, they won’t play.

4) Not a democracy.  Passionate about their business, family and causes, Cholerics are natural born leaders whose basic desire in life is having their way. And they will figure out how to have it.  In fact, my Choleric, entrepreneur father loves to say, “He who signs the check has the last say.” Truly, they innately believe they are right and the best person for the job, often convincing them-self they are the only one capable.  Usually, this personality type is the fastest to see the end, or big picture, which gives them tremendous decision making ability.  The problem is, they lack patience and communication skills to help everyone else see things from their perspective.  They are too busy to slow down and explain.  They will remove whatever or whomever is hindering progress rather than waste time helping them get on the same page.  They tend to lead like dictators with an inner, or perhaps vocal, attitude that screams “I’m driving the bus.  I know where we are going and I know how to get there.  Get on or get off, but I’m pulling out now.”  

When Cholerics are living in their leadership strengths, the bus will be full of loyal and devoted followers.  People are drawn to ambition and the ability to truly get a job done and done well.  However, what people won’t tolerate long is being made to feel like they are stupid, replaceable or not important.  Cholerics in leadership positions — which I am confident to assume are all cholerics — must remember these truths: people are more important than projects, people are not projects, and the kind of success that leaves a legacy is not possible without a team.  

Leaders need loyal followers.  Loyal followers need honest, compassionate and thoughtful leaders who are willing to listen, ask questions and consider other points of view.  

5) Respect redefined.  Because the choleric is so task focused, they define respect in terms of accomplishment and the ability to make decisions.  Without realizing it, most cholerics withhold admiration and respect for others until they have witnessed them succeed.  Respect is earned.  This explains why cholerics usurp authority and have a hard time submitting to someone who they view as incompetent or who has not rightly earned their way.  

I must express a word of caution as a choleric who desires to develop into a woman of unshakable character.  Being a person who can claim to be respectful means, that even when it is difficult, you choose to show and give respect regardless of whether someone has earned it.  Respect does not mean you agree, it means you treat others with the same kindness and courtesy you expect, no strings attached.

6) Controlling or just right?  I already noted the Choleric’s basic desire to have their own way.  They desire control of people, situations, finances, projects, etc.  What I need every reader to understand is that the Choleric’s desire for control is not a choice or an attempt to drive you completely nuts, it is a need.  They need control like they need oxygen.  The good news, is that they are designed for it and they can handle it.  A choleric, living in their strengths, has an ability unlike the other personality types to do well under extreme pressure.  They can think clearly and make the right decisions under difficult circumstances without falling apart or worrying about what others will think.  I hope you can recognize the blessing of such a person!  The warning to the choleric is in the approach.  The most important thing for a choleric to control is self.  You cannot just take over as you wish, say what you want, to whomever you want and when you want.  Just because you can, does not mean you should.  Not every project, person and situation needs to be rescued.  Use discernment and consideration as you seek to help.  The cholerics desire for control often leads them down a path where they are involved in so many things, they lose their ability to manage time wisely and wind up failing in most everything rather than being extremely successful in a few.

7) Powerful emotions.  The choleric is often the most easy to identify when their emotional needs are not being met.  They become impulsive, overbearing, impatient and angry.  To obtain and maintain emotional health, Cholerics need loyalty from the troops, a sense of control, appreciation for service and accomplishment.  

In the simplest terms, the choleric in your life needs four things from you;

1) to know, without a doubt, you are on their side,

2) to be able to make some decisions to which you submit and enthusiastically agree,

3) to hear you say ‘thank you’ for all of their hard work and efforts,

4) time to get things done.  

I have found that the best thing you can say to fill the cholerics emotional cup is something along the lines of, “I don’t know how you do all you do.”  Watch the resolve on their face lighten.  Express gratitude to them often and your relationship will soar.

My challenge to you this month is that you take these seven things, one for each day of each week this month, and think about how you can use the information to build up your Choleric relationships.  The key will be actually doing something with the information.  Perhaps you need to have a conversation laced with appreciation, offer to physically help get a project finished, promote your Choleric to a role that better suits them, or simply get out of their way and watch them go.   

Or, if you are Choleric, consider how you can make better decisions to change your bad habits, attitudes and communication style for a better you this month. 

Remember, healthy relationships make for a happier, healthier more productive life.  And besides that, people are worth it.