Understanding Behavioral Styles

The search for understanding regarding our distinct personalities and the nature of human interaction is as old as humanity itself. The age-old question is, "Why do people do what they do?" The ancients asked that question. Empodocies (444 BC), the founder of the school of medicine in Sicily, postulated that everything was made of four "roots" or elements.

The Greek philosopher, Hippocrates (400 BC), believed in three distinct personality styles choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic, and melancholy. Although Hypocrites' theory has no medical validity, it was the first substantial method for categorizing types of behavior.

Hippocrates' theory was expanded upon at the turn of the 20th century by a number of behavioral scientists. Carl Gustav Jung (1921), a Swiss psychologist, was one of the most influential modern behavioral theorist. In 1921 he published "Psychological Types" which described four psychological functions: thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition. Jung also classified these four types further by calling them either "introverted" or "extroverted."

The development of the DISC behavioral profile as we know it was primarily due to the work of the American psychologist, Dr. William Moulton Marston. He was an expert in behavioral understanding. In 1926 he published "The Emotions of Normal People" in which he outlined the essence of the modern DISC behavioral model. Until that time, this type of work was confined to all criminally insane and mentally ill people.

Marston grouped people along two axis: either active or passive tendencies dependent upon their either antagonistic or favorable view of the environment. From this, the four styles were formed: Dominance (D), Inducement (I), Steadiness (S), and Compliance (C).

Since Marston, many individuals have contributed to the maturation of the DISC. It became a common tool for the US military's recruiting process before the second World War. Today companies frequently use it to choose the most appropriate candidate for their employment, sifting out countless other applicants.

Many Frontline Learning Product incorporate the DISC behavioral mode, promoting a greater understanding of interpersonal influences and tendencies to enhance sales productivity, customer service effectiveness and general personal competency.

Click on any of the following links for more details on each of the primary behavioral tendencies: Dominant (D), Interactive (I), Supportive (S), and Compliant (C).

The following Frontline Learning products incorporate some form of the DISC behavioral profile:

  • Professional Selling SkillMap™

  • Customer Service SkillMap™

  • Emotional Effectiveness SkillMap™

  • REAL Selling™

  • REAL Coaching™

  • REAL Marketing™


Whether your training need is small and focused, or enterprise-wide, you can count of Frontline Learning to deliver. For more than 20 years we have been helping organizations achieve their business objectives with targeted training initiatives.