Type Four: The Individualist

Fours believe that the individual, and one’s individual ability to express oneself in a personally authentic way, is of the utmost importance. In the workplace, the Four believes that an organization’s success depends on its ability to foster the unique, creative contributions of the individuals in its workplace. Correspondingly, they believe that:

  • the human side of an organization should have the highest priority
  • individuality should be encouraged and respected
  • self-expression will enrich the workplace

These beliefs reflect an underlying set of values that focus on creative expression, authenticity, individuality, and beauty. At high functioning levels, they are very attuned to their own and others’ feelings and inner impulses. This sensitivity to other people’s feelings guides them to be gentle, compassionate and tactful in all situations. They are highly intuitive and insightful about other people’s motives and authenticity. They are emotionally open and honest, and have an ironic view of themselves and of life. This is expressed sometimes seriously, and oftentimes humorously, but always with honesty. It is important to the Four that he or she be unique, and it’s in the Four’s search for discovery of that uniqueness that their creative self-expression becomes a real contribution and a highly developed gift.

As sensitive, “heart” people who strive for originality, Fours will tend to avoid the ordinary, and may react to what they see as ordinary or plebeian in rather unorthodox ways. They tend to exhibit behaviors that express their feelings in aesthetic or dramatic ways. The various arts, poetry, writing, or mode of dress become vehicles of self-expression. Fantasy and reality may tend to overlap. Like Shakespeare’s line, “The play is the thing”, a metaphor can become more real to a Four than that thing which it represents. Feelings are a primary focus, and Fours are often accused of being hypersensitive to others. This happens most frequently when innocuous comments by others may be misinterpreted by the Four as a personal attack. Fours are subjective types who tend to interiorize things; they will often withdraw into themselves to sort out their feelings about an issue. They begin to see themselves as different from others and feel that nobody understands them.

Fours grow when they shift their focus from within to look outside themselves with a more objective view. When they learn to appreciate the beauty in commonplace things, their appreciation is deeper and longer lasting. Shifting from their heart to their objective head allows them to focus more on physical tasks, rather than emotional issues.

At their best, Fours are extremely creative and have a sense for beauty and an original view that is profound. They see and develop creative possibilities that others would pass over. They encourage individual contribution so that creative solutions can emerge from the most complex problems.

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