Thinking vs. Feeling: Personality Traits in the Workplace

Updated February 3, 2023

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality test that tells people which of 16 provided personality types they possess and how their personalities assist them in making decisions. People who take the MBTI assessment can determine whether they’re more likely to use thinking or feeling preferences and how to best apply their personality type when making choices in their personal and work lives.

In this article, we compare thinking versus feeling personality types and provide tips on how to work with thinkers and feelers in the workplace.

Thinking personality type

Thinking (T) is one of the four categories that form the 16 overall personalities of the MBTI assessment. The test is a self-completed inventory that assesses what type of personality you have and how you perceive the world around you.

People with the thinking trait, or thinkers, heavily rely on objective information in all areas of their life. They are critical thinkers who evaluate situations and people based on logic and facts and focus on problem-solving when confronted with personal or work challenges.

There are many personality traits common to thinkers. Some of them include:

  • Rational

  • Critical

  • Objective

  • Inquisitive

  • Introspective

  • Analytical

Related: 13 Jobs for Intuitive Thinkers To Explore

Feeling personality type

Feeling (F) is another trait found in the MBTI assessment. People with the feeling trait, or feelers, are typically aware of not only their own emotions but the emotions of others around them, too.

They are protective of those they value, which affects endeavors they conduct both personally and professionally. They focus on their emotions, and they may exhibit emotionally motivated responses rather than objective decision-making that thinkers might emphasize.

Feelers possess many personality traits, such as:

  • Gentleness

  • Caring

  • Compassion

  • Empathy

  • Helpfulness

  • Nurturing capabilities

Related: The ISFJ Personality Type: Introverted, Sensitive, Feeling and Judging

Thinking vs. feeling in the workplace

While working, you may interact with both thinkers and feelers. People with thinking traits interact and visualize the world differently than those with feeling traits. Here is a list of differences between thinkers and feelers in the workplace:

1. Career choices

Because of their analytical nature, thinkers excel in rational and systematic career paths. Some of these include jobs related to computer science, business, mathematics and engineering. A few careers that thinkers may enjoy based on their personality and work expertise include:

  • Attorney

  • Surgeon

  • Mathematician

  • Software developer

  • Mechanic

  • Sales manager

  • School administrator

  • Insurance agent

Feelers, conversely, enjoy caring for others and excel at maintaining people's comfort and connectedness with one another. They excel in jobs where they can use their skills to be nurturers and caregivers or project their emotions through art. A few jobs that may be suitable matches for feelers based on their personality and skill sets include:

  • Teacher

  • Writer

  • Pediatrician

  • Artist

  • Psychologist

  • Social worker

  • Veterinary technician

  • Home health aide

Related: Using Your Myers-Briggs Type to Advance Your Career

2. Communication style

Thinkers often communicate by analyzing conversations before responding. They explore different ways they could reply and focus their responses on accurately conveying their perspectives on a certain topic. They are goal-oriented when communicating and maintain a conversation's objectivity while also shifting its focus toward fixing a problem, if possible.

Contrary to thinkers, feelers prioritize emotions over objectivity and focus their discussions on the emotions and opinions of participants in the conversation. They often try to make everyone in a conversation feel comfortable and understood. They also use nonverbal cues to communicate, mimicking others in a conversation to understand and empathize with how others feel.

Related: The 4 Main Communication Styles You’ll Find in the Workplace

3. Motivations

In every workplace, there are particular motivators that inspire employees to continually optimize their performances while working. Feelers often prefer extrinsic motivators, such as a raise or promotion within the company.

Something a thinker can visualize and attain in their near future inspires them to work hard, whereas feelers prefer intrinsic motivators. Feelers typically appreciate the knowledge that the work they do helps people and positively affects the long-term goals of their company.

Related: Types of Motivation in the Workplace (With Examples)

4. Handling confrontations

Thinkers often confront conflicts directly. They notice external signals of an impending conflict and contact an aggrieved party directly to discuss particular obstacles from a rational, objective viewpoint. They use logic and provide multiple facts to prove their point.

In contrast, because feelers are empathetic, they tend to avoid conflict when possible. Although they can generally observe changes in the nonverbal communication of an aggrieved person who has differing thoughts than themselves, feelers may remain silent rather than say something that affects another person's feelings or creates an uncomfortable work environment.

Related: How To Resolve Employee Conflict: 5 Steps to Resolution

Tips for interacting with thinkers

Here are some helpful tips for managers or fellow employees on how to successfully engage in conversations with thinkers:

  • Try to begin a conversation with a list of logical points. This can be a more helpful foundation for discussion.

  • Keep the language as objective as possible and be brief when discussing your points. Thinkers are rational and are more likely to actively listen to a conversation if you refrain from including emotional reasoning in your points.

  • Try to be calm and reasonable as you continue a discussion. Thinkers are often more comfortable with reason than with discussions that focus on emotion.

  • Consider a thinker's opinion to ensure that a discussion remains logical and factual.

Tips for interacting with feelers

Try employing some of these tips to engage in meaningful discussion with a feeler:

  • Try to begin a conversation with points you both agree on. This allows a feeler to understand that you're willing to collaborate on a topic.

  • Focus on a feeler's concerns. A conversation is more likely to progress positively if a feeler knows you understand their opinions.

  • Consider letting a feeler speak uninterrupted about their opinions. They often want to feel valued in a conversation rather than transitioning directly toward the problem-solving portion of a discussion.

Please note that the company mentioned in the article is not affiliated with Indeed.

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