Personality: Thinker & Feeler (Blog 3 of 5)

In this third blog of determining personality (using the MBTI standard) we discuss the next portion of personality, Thinker and Feeler. This round will determine the third letter of your 4-letter personality type.

To briefly recap, the MBTI measures across four categories (two possible personality factors per category) resulting in a four letter combination, or personality type, per person. There is a total of 16 personality types. The 16 personality types will be reviewed in the 5th Personality blog.

Category Three: Thinker vs Feeler*
(T) for Thinker and (F) for Feeler

*First, it is a common misunderstanding that the categories of Thinker and Feeler somehow have anything to do with gender assignments. They do not. Men and women alike have the potential to be a Thinker or a Feeler. (T) and (F) determination, however, is pretty straightforward so this will be a briefer blog. Second, (T) and (F) IS all about how an individual makes decisions and draws conclusions. In the second blog, we examined what kind of information a person naturally notices as an (S) or (N). Now we will see how the brain works with that information once it’s collected. How do we approach decision-making.*

More often than not, a (T) makes decisions objectively. A (T) can be susceptible to decision-making based on their present feeling or circumstance, but a T’s default method for decision-making will likely be based objectively, and on a set list of impersonal criteria. A (T) will often make conclusions based on an internal set of objective standards by which they operate.

– A (T) will make decisions on what is perceived as “making sense,” and impersonal criteria. A logical solution based objective observations. The decision-making process is not personal, it’s logical.

– As a result of this emotionally detached approach, T’s are often perceived as being cold, analytical, and reserved as their personal selves do not influence the decision-making process.

– T’s are often convinced of their own logical reasoning. All personality types have their pros and cons, as I’ve stated before, so while a (T) generally perceives themselves as confident in their approach to problem-solving, it can be done at the expense of input from others. A (T) is not as likely too see the value of personal perception to problem-solving.

– T’s value honesty, directness, and fairness. Feelings and personal opinions, by definition, cannot be fair or experienced by everyone at the same time. This also dampens a T’s view of an F’s ability to be honest as feelings are always subject to change. T’s want to be valued on a set list of criteria that everyone can qualify for.

– A (T) is less likely to take things personally. Critiques and feedback (including the negative as well as the positive) are welcome. How can you improve without it? A (T) is also comfortable providing critiques and feedback, and expects the receiving party not to take it personally just as (T) does not.

– T’s are comfortable arguing and debating for fun. Since a (T) does not take feedback and observations personally, T’s find value in a good debate. T’s are not going to get upset when confronted with conflict, but rather are likely to willingly engage in a verbal debate in order to practice their skills of argument and observation.

– T’s are motivated by achievement and reward.

– T’s are prone to overlook people in favor of completing a task or a job.

F’s will base their decisions on values and feelings. An (F) can incorporate data, facts, and objective observations into their decision-making process, but an F’s default method for drawing conclusions is to consult their feelings and values first, and the potential feelings and values of others, second. F’s are much more likely to consult others in their process for decision-making, more so if an (F) believes that another person or persons may be affected by the decision. In this way, F’s resemble an (E) as an (F) is much more likely than a (T) to air their thoughts aloud. But an (F) is not necessarily Extravert, it is simply a commonality.

– An F’s personal values and feelings on a subject will be consulted before making a decision. Also, an (F) is much more prone to make impulse decisions just by an immediate feeling: grumpy, sad, happy, ecstatic.

– Because F’s take into consideration the feelings, beliefs, and opinions of others, F’s are very much seen as open, warm, friendly, empathetic, and caring.

– F’s are much more likely to be convinced by extenuating circumstances rather than logical deduction. A quick example: An (F) would consider the reasons why a someone stole a loaf of bread and draw conclusions about the actions based on that person’s motivation for doing so. Perhaps this person is poor? Are they starving? Did they steal the loaf for someone else? Someone of need? A (T) would think that while the motivation may be sad, the actions of the theft doesn’t change the facts at hand, the law was broken and a conclusion is made.

– F’s are diplomatic and tactful, they do their best to take into consideration everyone’s point of view before reaching a decision. In this way, an (F) maintains harmony within a group context.

– Because F’s take into consideration the beliefs, feelings, and opinions of others, they expect the same in return, and therefore are much more likely to take critique and feedback personally. Critique is not a form of improvement, as a (T) is likely to see it, but an act of personal hurt. F’s are much more likely to compliment while excusing flaws and so expect the same in kind. T’s dislike this approach, and F’s dislike a T’s approach. This incompatibility is never so apparent as in the work place.

– Feelers are motivated by personal acknowledgement and appreciation.

– Where T’s enjoy debate, F’s are allergic to it. Debate and argument run counter to an F’s need to keep the peace and harmony. An (F) takes no pleasure in debate, it often causes anxiety.

– Overlooks tasks or a job in favor of people.

(T) and (F) is never so obvious in how they play out in reality than in the work place. I am a high-level (T) and I once had a boss who was a high-level (F). What I admired about this boss was her ability navigate a table of staff. She would give everyone time to speak about their current work, ideas, opinions, feelings about departmental activities and direction. She was amazing. But, one on one, my (F) boss was less cool in presentation. Making individual decisions with a staff member outside of a group meeting was difficult for her as she felt it necessary to consult with everyone in order to make a decision. Seeing as how staff meetings were held once a week, making decisions and gathering staff observations meant a great undertaking at any other time. She was not comfortable making a decided, independent decision as the consequence meant the potential to affect everyone. So that took some time, but no one really seemed to mind as she was a great boss who took the time to listen to everyone and compromised a lot without sacrificing the job.

I can only recall a few times our personalities clashed. As a starting out counselor (and a high-level T) I sought information daily regarding my performance. A comfortable (T) will ask for the good, the bad, and the ugly for the sake of improvement and I was no different. As it turns out, I was doing something consistently wrong in my reports that my boss never brought up. I had to find via other colleagues who showed me the correct way that the boss liked it. I later told my boss that I learned how to correctly report something in my report. Being the (T) I am, I asked her why she didn’t just correct me. It was important to me to get things right. Being the high-level (F) she was, she winced at my directness, as if I was reproving her. She said she didn’t want to shake my confidence, that I was new and all and doing so well. I said, “being corrected on how to do things the right way cannot shake my confidence, in fact it’s the opposite. Knowing I’m doing something right because my boss told me how to do it, or corrected me when I didn’t, is what gives me confidence. I can’t change what I don’t know to change.” She gave me a thoughtful look at that, and agreed.

I like being a (T) because I do feel confident in my decision-making process, I find the (F) style exhausting, just by description alone. And yet an (F) would be mortified by how people like me execute decisions. I’ve worked for T’s too and I can say I definitely prefer working for F’s. I like being a (T) but if I must have a boss or supervisor, I always keep my fingers crossed for an (F). My opposite helps me to see what I miss, especially in such a precarious place like the office. It’s a good balance when you can see the advantages of both sides. (T) bosses, from my experience, don’t check in so much as bark orders regarding expectations and why are they not being met. Anything personal should not come into that feedback. From my experience, it’s not healthy to ignore the human experience when humans are in fact present – office place or no. Real life spills into the office and vice versa. F’s have to know when to reign in it like T’s need to understand when to turn it down.

Make note of your letter. Are you a (T) or an (F)? You have one more letter to work out before you have your 4-letter code.
Austin, Texas