2 scale personality profile

Daves and Holland (1981) categorize people based on two scales - dominance and sociability. The "dominance" scale measures how strongly a person is driven to influence the thinking and actions of others. The "sociability" scale is a measure of a person’s tendency to be extroverted and open with others.

You can get a good gauge of someone's personality by asking two questions:

How dominant are they?

High dominance personalities:

  • make emphatic statements,

  • make quick decisions.

Low dominance personalities:

  • make tentative statements,

  • ask many questions.

How sociable are they?

High sociable personalities:

  • are talkative,

  • enjoy social gatherings.

Low sociable personalities:

  • only speak if needed,

  • prefer quiet and solitude.

Based on the answers, people fall in to one of four main personality profiles:

  • Emotive,

  • Directive,

  • Reflective,

  • Supportive.

High Sociability









Low Sociability

Emotive personalities are high in sociability and high in dominance. Directive personalities are low in sociability and high in dominance. Reflective personalities are low in sociability and low in dominance. Supportive personalities are high in sociability and low in dominance.


Emotive personalities are high in dominance and high in sociability.

Emotives are known for being extroverted and displaying emotion. They love people and are often the center of attention. They tend to be more informal. Their high dominance means they can seem overbearing and they are always happy to share their opinion.

When working with Emotives be stimulating and positive. Be supportive of their ideas. Avoid overwhelming them with details. Be subordinate, flexible and unrestrained.


Directive personalities are high in dominance and low in sociability.

Directives often come across as serious and direct. They are also known for their determination. They can be very frank and task-oriented and like to maintain control. They don’t particularly care for small talk. They can come across as cold and uncaring. They prefer talking to listening.

When working with Directives minimize social aspects. Appeal to their need for action and problem-solving. Focus on facts, exploring solutions and possible outcomes. Be clear, concise, and goal-oriented. Avoid being too directive or forceful.


Reflective personalities are low in dominance and low in sociability.

Reflectives are generally more introverted, which means they are quiet and more restrained emotionally. They spend a lot of time thinking which can make them seem distant. They prefer formality in their social relationships. They like order and organization. They also take a long time to make a decision.

When working with Reflectives supply information to support their need for detail. Establish credibility with research and supporting facts. Provide consistent, accurate follow-ups. Be well-prepared, detail-oriented, and organized.


Supportive personalities are low in dominance and high in sociability.

Their high sociability means they tend to be more cooperative, and combined with their low dominance, they are usually more empathetic than the other types. They are great listeners, and very patient. Their personality is much more warm and friendly, and they prefer to use these traits rather than power to gain agreement.

When working with Supportives build trust and confidence through personal support and concern. Move carefully into the planning and action stages, informing them that all possible options have been explored and risks minimized. Be candid, open and patient, personally interested and supportive.