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