Provider (role variant)
The Provider Guardian is one of the 16 role variants identified in the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, a self-assessed personality questionnaire designed to help people better understand themselves. David Keirsey originally described the Provider role variant; however, a brief summary of the personality types described by Isabel Myers contributed to its development. Providers correlate with the ESFJ Myers-Briggs type.
Providers are observant, cooperative, informative, and expressive. They are greatly concerned with the health and welfare of those under their care and they are the nurturers of established social institutions such as businesses, churches, social clubs, and schools. Providers are the most sociable of the Guardians and they strive to provide friendly social service. They spend a lot of their energy making sure social functions are successful, traditions are upheld, and the needs of others are met.
Providers are excellent masters of ceremonies or chairpersons of social events. Highly cooperative, Providers are very capable of maintaining teamwork among their workers. They are attentive to details of the goods and services they provide. During social events, they are often able to remember their guests' names after one introduction, and they may appear to be aware of what everyone has been doing.
Providers are friendly, outgoing, and gregarious. They love to talk and they can become quite agitated when they are isolated from others. Providers are fascinated about news concerning their friends, neighbors, and local community. They will often strike up conversations with strangers and will talk about anything that comes to mind. If someone wants to know what has been going on in the community, Providers are often happy to provide the details.
Providers are often attracted to the sales and service occupations. They are usually good sales representatives as they are visibly and honestly interested in the customer’s welfare. They are also skilled in other people-to-people careers such as social workers, clergy and teachers. Their personal loyalty to their superiors often makes them valuable secretaries.
Providers may be the most sympathetic of the role variants as they are highly sensitive to the feelings of others. This sensitivity can leave them self-conscious as they care about what others think of them. Providers are affectionate and they feel a need to be loved in return. They can be easily crushed by criticism directed towards them and they strongly desire to be appreciated for who they are and for the service they provide to others.
For illustrative purposes, Keirsey and his son, David M. Keirsey, have identified well-known individuals whose behavior is consistent with a specific type. Unless otherwise noted, the categorization of the individuals below, whether living or dead, as Providers is a matter of expert opinion rather than the result of actual testing of the named individual.
- Ray Kroc
- Dolley Madison
- Louis B. Mayer
- James Cash (J.C.) Penney
- William Howard Taft
- Dave Thomas
- Barbara Walters
- Sam Walton