The way you make decisions and come to conclusions generally reflects a preference for Thinking or Feeling. More importantly, how you make decisions may make you better suited for some jobs than others. That’s because Thinkers and Feelers have very different priorities.
How Thinkers and Feelers Make Decisions
Thinkers make decisions based on logic and on objective analysis of cause and effect. Click To Tweet Unlike Thinkers, Feelers make decisions based primarily on values and on subjective evaluation of person-centered concerns.
About two-thirds of men prefer Thinking; and about two-thirds of women prefer Feeling. If you prefer Thinking doesn’t mean you don’t have feelings. Likewise, if you prefer Feeling doesn’t mean you’re not rational. However, the criteria you use to make decisions varies greatly depending on your preference.
Two Steps Back or Two Steps Forward
Thinkers prefer to step back from the situation and apply impersonal analysis to problems. That’s because they make decisions by analyzing and weighing the evidence. Thinkers tend to stand by their decisions, even if that means coming to unpleasant conclusions.
Unlike Thinkers, Feelers prefer to step forward and consider the effect of actions on others. Feelers make decisions based on how much they care or what they feel is right. Click To Tweet That’s because Feelers pride themselves on their empathy and compassion.
Logic and Justice or Empathy and Harmony?
Thinkers value logic, justice, and fairness; simply put, they value one standard for all. Feelers, however, value empathy and harmony; unlike Thinkers, Feelers see the exception to the rule.
The truth is, Thinking and Feeling are both rational methods used to make decisions. Click To Tweet They just use different criteria to make decisions. What’s more, Thinkers do have emotions and personal values, and Feelers can be perfectly logical. That said, each of us uses one decision-making process more naturally, more often, and more successfully than the other.
Thinkers naturally see flaws and tend to be critical. That’s because Thinkers focus on facts and producing results. More importantly, they dislike challenges to their bottom-line approach.
Feelers naturally like to please others. More importantly, Feelers focus on changing things to benefit others. They offer support and show appreciation easily. Even so, they get discouraged and feel unappreciated when others don’t respond in like kind. For all these reasons, Feelers have difficulty accepting criticism.
How Thinkers and Feelers See Each Other
Unfortunately analytical Thinkers can come across as cold, heartless, insensitive, and uncaring; and compassionate Feelers can come across as overly emotional, illogical, and weak.
When Thinkers and Feelers clash over decisions, the Feeler usually ends up hurt and angry; meanwhile, the Thinker ends up confused about what went wrong.
Thinkers and Feelers also tend to communicate their decisions in very different ways. For example, Thinkers consider truth more important than tact. As a result, they tend to be very direct in their communication. On the other hand, Feelers insist on both truth and tact. As a result, Feelers tend to be diplomatic communicators.
Tough Decisions Ahead
The following case study from “Do What You Are” illustrates key differences between Thinkers and Feelers when making tough decisions. Here’s the scenario:
Tom must lay off one employee. The choice has come down to Ted or Alan. Ted is a fifty-seven year old with more than twenty years at the company; Alan is a thirty-six old who joined the firm two years ago. Both employees have satisfactory performance in similar jobs.
The Compassionate Choice
Tom explains why he would like to keep Ted and let Alan go.
“Ted has been a loyal employee; he always goes the extra mile to get a job done. Ted has one son in college and another starting next fall. His wife, Mary is in poor health. I’m concerned that a man his age would have a hard time finding a comparable job. Alan’s young, ambitious, and mobile; he’ll have no trouble finding a good job. Besides, by rewarding loyalty and hard work, we make all of our employees feel better about working here.”
The Logical Choice
Ernie sees the situation differently.
“No one’s saying that Ted isn’t a great guy and a good employee. Personally, I’ve always liked him. But we must decide based on what’s best for the company, not what’s best for one person. Ted’s best years are behind him, and it’s unlikely that he will ever move up. Alan’s best years are ahead of him. He is senior management material; with proper grooming, he could become a very important asset to the company. Also, because of his seniority, we pay Ted twenty thousand dollars more than we pay Alan; also, there’s a greater likelihood of significant health care costs down the road for Ted than for Alan.”
If you choose to keep Ted, you’re probably a Feeler. On the other hand, if you choose to keep Alan, you’re probably a Thinker.
Where You Might Like to Work
Feelers show how important it is to consider the impact our decisions have on people. Thinkers show how important it is to pay close attention to facts to avoid making mistakes in judgment.
Remember, they’re both rational approaches to decision-making with very different priorities. That said, Feelers are likely to enjoy career success in jobs where person-centered concerns are the top priority; and Thinkers are likely to excel in a results-oriented work environment.
Are you primarily a Thinker or a Feeler?
Not sure. I can help. Contact me to take your MBTI assessment online and discover your preference. You’ll learn what you might like to do; where you might like to work; and how you might like to work and learn. Best of all, you’ll learn how to appreciate the different decision-making processes of Thinkers and Feelers.
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- Do What You Are – For a deeper dive, check out the bestselling guide to finding career success and satisfaction through Personality Type. The book takes you step-by-step through the process of verifying your Personality Type. This is the source I used in this post to give you an overview of Thinkers and Feelers.