Behavioral Science

Who is he/she?


Sociability and dominance are the two most important behavioral traits that impact one’s communication style. You sociability and dominance scores calculated from the previous post (if you have not read it click here)  help to decide which segment of people you belong to.

There are five different kinds of people based on sociability and dominance scores. Based on your scores from the previous post find out which category do you belong to.

But how will you know which category does the other person belong to? Don’t worry, I have listed down a few traits that will help you identify any person’s category.

Emotive (sociability > 8; Dominance > 8)

Film Fall Preview
Jordon Belfort played by Dicaprio is the best example of Emotive category (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures and Red Granite Pictures, Mary Cybulski)


  • Informal
  • Take initiative to introduce themselves first
  • Very persuasive when you say ‘no’
  • Talks a “lot” to influence you

Emotive people are heavily energetic always bubbling with enthusiasm. They tend to assume and create interest in their ideas from listeners, they tend to stand out with their long speeches and theories which are broad. But emotive people tend to ignore details, so if you were to convince an emotive person:

  • Build a rapport with them first
  • Your pitch should be focused on the big picture
  • Show genuine interest in their ideas
  •  Make them feel like the decision maker


Supportive (Sociability > 8; Dominance < 6)

Marshall Eriksen and Ted Mosby of HIMYM for some reason pop-up into my head when it comes to Supportive


  • Soft and friendly expression
  • Best listeners ever
  • Very nice to people
  • Often let people take the lead and are happy following
  • Shower warmth with no agenda

These are the nicer brothers of emotive category. While they are also very social in nature they tend to do it out of genuine interest. They tend to be very relationship oriented and are very easy going. One of the most important thing you should keep in mind is that a supportive person does not like to be pushed. Any situation that pushes one into doing something makes him/her go into his shell. When you are dealing with a supportive person:

  • Invest time in getting to know them (takes you a long way)
  • Find common interests to discuss
  • Structure your proposal in a mutually beneficial manner
  • Never ever ever ever push them!


Reflective (Sociability < 6; Dominance < 6)

/*Can’t think of a popular TV character to fit this. Welcome suggestions.*/


  • Pre-Occupied in their head
  • Well organized
  • Formal
  • Straightforward & direct
  • Accurate and realistic

Reflective people are the polar opposite of Emotives. They are introvert and often take a lot of time in making a decision. Often they want other people to decide for them based on good facts. They are very particular about detail and need all the data before coming to a conclusion. They do not like grand schemes in the air and are very realistic in their view of the world. If you are dealing with a reflective person:

  • Have your facts grounded
  • Give estimates based on realistic expectations
  • Provide all the data you have and more
  • Aid them in the decision making


Director (Sociability < 6; Dominance > 8)

Tywin Lannister from GoT series fits Directive Category like a charm.[Image Source: Buzzfeed]

  • Appear serious/silent
  • Non-diplomatic
  • Straight shooters
  • Thorough and determined

These are no-nonsense people around whom you cannot fool around. They are very authoritative and assume a seat of power. To the point is a phrase that defines them. They expect people to come and introduce themselves if they have some business with him/her. The want no room for error and very determined in anything they set out to do. If you are dealing with a directive type keep the following in mind:

  • Be brief and specific
  • Make sure your logic is in order (no BS for your own good!)
  • Take an issue to their notice only with ‘Facts

The unnamed fifth category

These are people with scores of both sociability and dominance in the 6 to 8 range. The best thing about these people are that they can relate with all the four categories. They get well with all categories and style-flexing is a natural attribute for them.

At this point I must however point out that no category is better or worse than the other. Great leaders can come from any of the four categories and no category is a reflection of caliber.

Style – Flexing

So among these four categories the diagonally opposite pairs supportive-directive & reflective-emotive are often prone to misunderstanding each other and hence do not make a good pair. Of all the combinations the a emotive-supportive relationship is the best possible one with respect to compatibility.

Style-Flexing is the act of trying to empathize with the opposite person’s type and shaping your communication accordingly. If you are following any of the above tips I specified to deal with each category you are Style Flexing. The advantage with style-flexing is its very visible to the other person as well, once noticed it is also appreciated.

So, next time you are facing trouble understanding / communicating with someone, you know what to do.



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