Myers Briggs Part 3 – Thinking versus Feeling

Myers Briggs Part 3 – Thinking versus Feeling

Have you ever had the opportunity to take a Myers Briggs evaluation?  It is a fairly commonly used tool to help identify peoples’ preferred behavior patterns.   I will stretch that to say it helps identify a person’s natural strengths and talents.  Personally, we have used Myers Briggs results to understand our teammates better, to learn how they reach decisions, and to help select teams that balance each other out – pairing complimentary strengths for a better product rather than a team that all approach things from the same angle.  For reference, I am an INTJ.

The first two indicators are discussed in Parts 1 and 2 of this Series:

Part 1 – Introvert or Extrovert – What’s the Difference?

Part 2 – Are you an Intuitive or Sensor?

This is a discussion of the 3rd set of indicators – Thinking versus Feeling – which is an indicator of how people make decisions.

Thinking

I am firmly planted in the Thinking side of the spectrum.  In fact, it is the strongest of my scores – meaning it is the category that is furthest from center.  Center being the dividing line between styles.   A Thinker looks at problems logically, weighing the pros and cons.  They intentionally remove emotion and feelings from the decision and evaluate the facts.  They may recognize how the decision will affect people, but are not swayed by the emotional impact on others.  This type is the one most likely to sacrifice 1 for the good of 1,000.  For them, it’s simply a numbers game and the decision is clear.  This is not to say they are cold hearted.   Although they convey a direct and decisive demeanor, they do care about people.    But, this directness and decisive quality can often be interpreted as hard or heartless because they rarely allow emotions to sway their decisions.

Feeling

As you can probably guess, this type will often base their decisions on how people will feel about it.   Does this feel like the right thing to do?  Forget the facts, what does my gut tell me?  A Feeling person likely has high empathy and outwardly expresses concern for their colleagues.  They will ask how you are and will be genuinely interested in the answer.   A person with this behavior style will appear warm and welcoming – the kind of person you can turn to for a hug when you’re having a bad day.    They easily convey that they care about people.

Decision Making Scenario to Highlight the Difference

A new person is hired (senior level) and needs an office.  The only empty space in the building is a cubicle and all the other staff have offices.   How do the T versus the F handle the decision about what to do?  Please note this is a gross stereotype and there are always exceptions.

Thinking – Who is the most junior person on the team?  Move them to the cubicle and give their office to the new senior person.   Easy decision.  Send an email out and make it happen.

Feeling – How will the new person feel if they have an inferior office?  How will the junior person feel if they are downgraded to the cubicle after having an office?  Can we turn the cubicle into an office so everyone is happy?  Maybe we should consider leasing a new office space.  This is a tough decision.  Let me go talk to everyone and see how they are feeling.

Likely the two come to the same decision, but the process to get there is different.  Neither approach is right or wrong – just different.   However, there are positions and careers that engage a Thinker’s natural strengths and talents and others that engage a Feeler’s natural strengths and talents.  Figuring out what those are can sometimes take time.

Can you think of a career choice that would be better suited for a Thinker?  What about a Feeler?

Final Post:

Myers Briggs Part 4:  Judging vs. Perceiving

20 Responses to Myers Briggs Part 3 – Thinking versus Feeling

  1. Y'vonne says:

    No wonder your successful. I’ve known a couple INTJs. I’m a strong believer in the MBTI and how it is broken down to individuals stregths, parenting, business styles and overall characteristics. I’ve used it many times over the years in team building activities and life. BTW I’m an INFJ.

  2. Daria says:

    Thanks! You have that great with people part that I’m lacking. :) If I could change mine, I’d prefer to be an extrovert and less of a Thinker – but I love the N. Thank you for commenting!

  3. I’m an INTP with a small preference for I (on an extended test I came out a garrulous I). Years ago I became certified in MyersBriggs and taught it to groups. I found there was value in it for getting a discussion going and depersonalizing certain behaviors. Sometimes people also became pigeon-holed, which wasn’t good. But, again to get communication rolling and feelings/thoughts out in the open, it was helpful.

    • Daria says:

      So true Cherry! That is the best part is creating conversation to get people talking and seeing where others come from…takes a few rungs out of the inference ladder. :)

    • Daria says:

      We are very similar! Just that P versus J indicator which I must admit is the one I least understand…but will tackle in part 4 regardless! :)

  4. Great post! I’m an INTJ. Looking forward to reading your posts!

    • Daria says:

      Glad to have you here Heather! Sorry your comment didn’t show up earlier, it was trapped in the spam filter for some reason. Go INTJ! :)

  5. Ratna says:

    Wow! This is great. I love this test and think more offices should actually use it to build relationships. Once you understand personality types it can really help folks understand each other… in the legal and management fields, it is the key to success: HARMONY :-)

    • Daria says:

      It helps, but personally I’ve still found that there are some styles with whom it is very difficult for me to work. MBTI may help me understand the whys of it, but not necessarily what to do about it to make it better. But it is a good starting point, for sure!

  6. I am an ENTJ. I took it 5 times. I think MBTI helps you in relating to people and seeing things from other people’s perspectives. I am quick to notice various personalities and tweak my expectations based on those traits. Schools and companies must utilize these tools to improve relationships and team efforts in their company.

    • Daria says:

      I was told that ENTJ is the best type for executive positions. I’ve taken it 3 times and always been the same, but my Introvert did move closer to center as I’ve gotten older.

  7. Dawn Lennon says:

    Fascinating post and a great Myers-Briggs refresher. I’m an INFP (only 2% of the population is or so I was told) and I worked in a world of ESTJs. I agree with Cherry that although these tools are really interesting and can be personally helpful, they can cause pigeonholing, excusing making, and discouragement. When we know how we approach things, it helps us adjust to others. However, we can all develop the behaviors that don’t come naturally. So we’ve always got a line on things. ~Dawn

    • Daria says:

      Absolutely Dawn! I do find that the Myers Briggs does a pretty good job of highlighting the things that come most easily to me – it is a self taken test after all, so it makes sense. Therefore, using it to identify behaviors that come the most easily to me (strength & talent) is pretty valuable. I find it less valuable when applied to predict another person’s behavior or strengths. Some people don’t have a good understanding of themselves, etc.

      Thank you for your insight!

  8. Miriam says:

    Your description of thinking made me think of a Star Fleet captain and it sounds like you’d make a great one! I know – goofy comment – but it’s what I thought about! :)

  9. Great post,
    Love Jung, but never really used the test or knew too much about it.

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