AMC’s Mad Men is one of the most popular and critically-acclaimed shows on television. A large part of the show’s success can be credited to the way the main characters are written. Surprisingly complex, unpredictable, and nuanced, the characters of Man Men feel startlingly real. Their motivations, fears, aspirations, and weaknesses are both recognizable and relatable. In fact, the characters are so lifelike they can easily be seen as reflections real-world DISC patterns of behavior.   

D Personality: Don Draper

“People want to be told what to do so badly that they’ll listen to anyone.”

Don Draper is the quintessential “D” personality type. Dominant and driven, he’s an unquestioned take-charge force both at the office and at home. Don is goal-oriented, innovative, and quick to action. He insists on results, and is impatient when others don’t deliver. Although gruff and unemotional, he is a naturally charismatic leader. Despite his flaws, he is respected and admired. Anywhere he leads, others will follow.

Don has an uncanny knack for seeing the whole picture and understanding the motivations of others. He always seems one step ahead of everyone else, which makes him incredibly good at his job in advertising. Don is a risk taker, and takes what he wants with confidence. This quality serves him well in business, but in his personal life he’s prone to making impulsive decisions that threaten to destroy his relationships. Though surrounded by people, he often seems alone.

I Personality: Roger Sterling

“I’ve been living the last twenty years like I’m on shore leave.”

Witty, extraverted, and charismatic, Roger Sterling is the life of the party. There’s no better person to take to a client meeting than Roger.  He can charm almost anyone, and is a terrific companion in any setting. Energetic and engaging, he seems comfortable talking to everyone he meets.

Roger lives in the moment, and never hesitates to speak his mind. Because he hates to be bored, he has committed himself to the constant pursuit of pleasure. He values pleasure over work, pleasure over responsibility, pleasure over almost everything.  Sadly, his desire to always keep things light causes him to have mostly surface-level relationships.

S Personality: Betty Francis (Draper) 

“Go bang your head against the wall. Only boring people are bored.”

Betty Francis (formally Draper) is steady and consistent. She doesn’t display the sort of swings in temperament that Don might. She is predictable in her routines and behavior. Betty internalizes a great deal, and can be a bit passive/aggressive when crossed.

Betty desires security above all else, and tried very hard to make her marriage to Don work. Resistant to change and respectful of her husband’s authority, she turned a blind eye to Don’s infidelity rather than face direct conflict.

Committed to keeping her home life stable, Betty stayed in her troubled marriage with Don much longer than was healthy. It is only when she learns that Don has lied about his entire identity that she feels her sense of stability shattered enough to push for divorce. Betty is now married to Henry Francis, and was drawn to Henry because he offered a steadiness and dependability that Don never could.

C Personality: Peggy Olson 

Peggy Olson: “I thought we were doing this at 9. It’s 11:15.”
Don Draper: “I’m late, but you’re not. Good work so far.”

Although Don Draper was Peggy’s mentor in advertising, the two are very different. Peggy is eager to please, while Don doesn’t care a bit what others think of him. Like most C personalities, Peggy Olson is a perfectionist. She follows the rules, and is very precise and accurate. Peggy prefers work to socialization, and spends a lot of time at her desk. She meets all of her deadlines, is always on time, and tends to focus on projects long after the work day has ended.

Both creative and organized, Peggy can always be counted on to deliver high-quality work for her clients. She doesn’t like to be criticized, and prevents that from happening by putting her all into everything she does. Though excellent at her job, Peggy is very analytical and tends to over-think things (especially when it comes to interpersonal relationships).

Of course, DISC Personality Styles are reflected in other characters besides Don, Roger, Betty, and Peggy. What about Joan Harris? Pete Campbell? How do you see some of the other characters on the show measuring up with their DISC personality types?


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