Thinking – Feeling

How we make decisions

This section Thinking-Feeling Preferences will delve deeper into the two different ways people make decisions according to Type Theory.

The differences in decision making processes have a profound impact on our lives, leading to different conclusions and therefore difference choices.

This section will educate you on these differences and hopefully help you understand why people make decisions differently from you.

Judging and the Thinking-Feeling Preferences

The Thinking-Feeling dichotomy is known as the Judging function: i.e the process by which we make decisions and come to conclusions.

A Feeling individual prefers to make decisions by their personal values and considers the human impact of decisions. This process is subjective in the sense that it is personal; as different people do hold different values. Yet, it is not irrational as sometimes claimed by Thinkers; it is in fact just as rational to consider human impact to your decisions.

A Thinking type individual prefers to make decisions by a logical, objective and detached manner, putting the task ahead of any individual’s thoughts or feelings. This process is objective as the logical process usually involves the weighing of pros and cons.

Such a different decision making or judging process often leads to different decisions and sometimes lead to conflict between the two types as well.

Thinking - Feeling

P.S There has been a popular misconception in culture that all men are Thinkers and all women are Feelers, popularized by famous relationship books. Such stereotypes are incorrect, and will only lead to cultural pressures on Feeling men and Thinking women on how they should behave.

It is much more accurate to classify them into Thinking and Feeling preference types (i.e it’s an individual’s choice for Feeling or Thinking) rather than using a gender bias.

Behavioural Traits

Thinkers tend to be straightforward and blunt while Feelers tend to be tactful with their words.

Thinkers tend to be objective and logical in their analysis and prefer to say things as they are, so they come across as frank and even blunt at times.

The good thing is you never have to second guess a Thinker, what they say is usually what they mean. They do not see a need to mince their words or try to be diplomatic.

Feelers, however, tend to be tactful with their words. They are keenly aware of the feelings of others and the impact of their words on others. Hence, they often come across as diplomatic, sensitive and encouraging.

In the same vein, Feelers have trouble trying to speak uncomfortable truths or confront others. They often prefer to keep their resentment to themselves, preferring to preserve the harmony. Thinkers often cannot get their head around this; finding Feelers to be highly complex creatures.

For Thinkers to get through to Feelers, they should consider the Sandwich Principle, putting negative feedback in between two positive ones.

Thinkers are more task-oriented, Feelers more people-oriented.

Thinkers have no problem in making difficult decisions that affect people like hiring and firing staff in an organization. To the Thinkers, they are working for the company and therefore the most important task for them is to maximize benefit and productivity for the organization.

It is not that Thinkers do not have compassion; they simply use a logical, objective process in coming to that conclusion. To them, feelings, relationships and values should not come in to interfere with the logical process.

Feelers tend to be more people-oriented in their decision-making. Before coming to a decision, they tend to think about the impact on individuals involved. As such, they tend to be warm, friendly and sympathetic co-workers.

This is why Feelers may have a harder time firing staff; they find it hard to be the bearer bad news, much less the cause. This applies to other areas at work as well: they find it hard to confront their co-workers to give negative feedback.

Thinkers may appear more detached in decisions while Feelers appear more involved.

Thinkers take a third-party, detached point of view when making a decision and hence they may appear impersonal and detached. When observing a situation, even if the situation is affecting them personally, Thinkers will take a step back and view it objectively as a third party would.

Thinkers are therefore perceived to be calm, composed and tough-minded.

Feelers often take an involved, personal approach in decision making. When observing a situation, Feelers will take an emphatic approach, putting themselves in the shoes of others, even if the situation does not affect them personally.

Feelers are therefore perceived to be compassionate, caring and sensitive.

Thinkers find it uncomfortable to deal with the emotions of others while Feelers may find it hard to make objective decisions, especially when their personal feelings are involved.

Thinkers may find it hard to deal with the emotions of others. When a friend or loved one comes to them sharing their woes or trouble, Thinkers often are at a loss as to what to say or do. They may offer a solution as a result, which is not what the other party needs.

The other party really just needs a listening ear. The Feelers understand this, and often naturally offer their presence, attention and a listening ear. They are comfortable when others come to them in distress, knowing that their presence and empathy are all that is needed.

The Thinkers find it especially uncomfortable when personal feelings are brought into the workplace. To them, personal feelings and work should be kept separate, and should not interfere with decision making.

Feelers have a challenge staying objective especially when they get slighted or offended at the workplace. Negative criticism can affect them adversely, leading to negative spillovers into their personal life as well.

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