Working with thinking and feeling types

This post follows on from our previous post about working with sensing and intuitive personalities. It’s the third in a series of posts about the use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) in the workplace.

The third dimension in the MBTI identifies our preferred style for making decisions. On one hand, there are people who use logic as the basis of their decision making. They weigh up the pros and cons objectively, and choose the course of action that will best help them achieve their goals. The MBTI describes these people as thinking. Then there are those who use values as the basis for their decision making. They consider how their decisions might affect other people, and choose the course of action that best aligns with their moral principles. The MBTI describes them as feeling.

Obviously, the thinking/feeling dichotomy can lead to intense disagreements at work. Because personal values are involved, these clashes can be unusually intense. All businesses have to work within financial constraints, so it’s easy for thinking types to point to the bottom line. In their minds, that alone should be enough to clinch the argument. Feeling types might respond by arguing that some things–caring for the elderly, for example, or investing in R&D–are beyond mere considerations of price.

What is interesting here is that both types are heavily invested in their respective values, and both types follow their own form of logic! Confused? Some people value a balanced set of books and a solid return on investment above all else. Others follow their own logic–the logic of human emotion. To make decisions without considering their impact on individuals and the community is to court disaster. To make decisions that are financially unsound is equally disastrous. If an organisation is to make wise decisions, thinking and feeling types both need to contribute. Talking through and understanding the personal values and logic of all involved is essential. To better understand each other, here are some key points of difference:


  • You may open a conversation or meeting by setting goals and objectives
  • You like to hear the arguments for and against each proposal
  • Your objective style of reasoning may seem cool and impersonal to feeling types
  • You are unlikely to be persuaded by an emotive arguments that does not meet your standards of objectivity
  • Be careful not to overlook the needs and interests of people when evaluating ideas.


  • You may open a conversation or meeting by looking for points of agreement
  • You consider the effect each proposal will have on people
  • Unless you can present your values rationally, they may not be understood by thinking types
  • You are unlikely to be persuaded by a logical arguments which infringe your deeply-held values
  • Be careful not to acquiesce to others simply to maintain harmony within the team.

There’s enough here to start some intriguing conversations at work! Next week, we’ll look at the final dimension of the MBTI–whether we prefer to make decisions, or take in further information. See you then.



Leave a reply