The Basic 4 Personality or Behavior Types

The four basic personality or behavior types have been around since the birth of psychological thought. Hippocrates (450 B.C.) had his version of the four as did Plato (429 B.C.), Galen (190 A.D.) and Wilhelm Wundt (1879 A.D.). Wundt was the first to make it clear that the basic four temperaments; sanguine, phlegm, cholera and melancholy are four dimensions of the human personality.

Modern personality analysis tends to categorize people into one of four main types. Although each of us are unique and form different combinations of these types, we all have one dominant personality type that characterizes us most accurately.

Four Quadrant Model

There are many different schools of thought extending from ancient times to the present that use four main groupings or categories of personalities. This is often called a "four-quadrant model" we call it THE BASIC 4, and is used in many different psychological and employment contexts.

Since the turn of the 20th century there has been a long list of psychologists who have contributed in the personality or behavior assessment methods. Among them are Adicke (1905), Henry Link (1919), Ernst Kretchmer (1920), Erich Fromm (1921), Carl Jung (1922) and Myers Briggs (1958). Many more have develop assessment programs. The Basic 4 was developed by Professional Speaker & Author Jeff Compton, ACB, CL, CMCP, CCP. Jeff, using the metaphor of driving in a car, he equates the basic four temperaments to: the driver, the cruiser, the navigator and the rider.

Personality Categories

Jeff Compton developed the method used by management training workshops and employers called The Basic 4, which categorizes personality types into:

  • The Driver
  • The Cruiser
  • The Rider
  • The Navigator

Characteristics of Personality Categories


  • Objective-focused
  • Know what they want and how to get there!
  • Communicates quickly, gets to the point
  • Sometimes tactless and brusque
  • Can be an "ends justify the means" type of person
  • Hardworking, high energy ?Does not shy away from conflict


  • Natural salesmen or story-tellers
  • Warm and enthusiastic
  • Good motivators, communicators
  • Can be competitive
  • Can tend to exaggerate, leave out facts and details
  • Sometimes would rather talk about things than do them!


  • Kind-hearted people who avoid conflict
  • Can blend into any situation well
  • Can appear wishy-washy Has difficulty with firm decisions
  • Often loves art, music and poetry Highly sensitive
  • Can be quiet and soft-spoken


  • Highly detail oriented people
  • Can have a difficult time making decisions without ALL the facts
  • Make great accounts and engineers
  • Tend to be highly critical people
  • Can tend to be pessimistic in nature
  • Very perceptive

No one personality type outshines the other or is preferable to the other - but all complement each other in different ways. If you are choosing a team for a difficult task, it is a good idea to have representation for each on your team for a balanced approach to the task at hand.

The Driving Force in Communication?

Jeff takes “the basic 4” a step further in explaining how we are motivated. All four groups have a different method of gathering the energy they need to accomplish tasks. What drives you to go to work? Some mistakenly think that we all work for money. Though a paycheck does help us fulfill our needs on a material level, psychologically the reasons we do the things we do at work are because of the way we gather our energy.