Understanding Thinking vs. Feeling in the Workplace

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 29, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

People are typically either thinking or feeling orientated. Understanding these two orientations can help maintain a productive workplace and engaged workforce. Learning about the two types of orientations can also help individuals develop the skills necessary to be effective in a workplace. In this article, we discuss the importance of thinking vs. feeling, define what the thinking and feeling judgment types are, discover the role thinking and feeling judgment types play in the workplace, and provide tips for communicating with the two judgment types.

The importance of thinking vs. feeling

The Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, proposed the thinking vs. feeling dichotomy to explain how individuals make decisions and judgments. Jung argued that the processes associated with organizing information and its subsequent evaluation as a basis for a decision or judgment had their foundation in either thinking or feeling. There are quite distinct personality traits associated with these two kinds of judgment.

Understanding these two judgment types and which you favour can help you make sense of your motivations and behaviours. Once you know the judgment type you favour, you can better equip yourself to address any shortcomings associated with that type. This approach can also help you understand the processes, decisions, and motivations of others in both a professional and personal context. This level of awareness is especially significant to those in supervisory or managerial roles, where it can improve the performance and motivation of employees.

What is the thinking judgment type?

Thinkers are individuals who typically base their decisions on objective principles or criteria. The foundation of a thinker's decisions is typically empirical data, evidence, and rational thought. Emotion is unlikely to move thinkers. Instead, dispassionate objectivity is at the centre of their thought processes. A thinker often adopts a logical approach to decision making. When making decisions, thinkers determine the appropriate weight to give the facts and base their decision on this determination.

There are a number of common personality traits among thinkers, including:

  • Rational

  • Critical

  • Objective

  • Inquisitive

  • Introspective

  • Analytical

  • Pragmatic

  • Logical

  • Value truth

Related: What Is a Logical Thinker? (With Definition and Examples)

What is the feeling judgment type?

Feelers base their decisions on emotional, personal, and interpersonal factors. They're likely to be less logical than thinkers when making decisions. Feelers may be protective of the things and people that they value. This typically informs their decision-making process, and the impact that the decision may have on themselves and those around them plays a key part in this process. Their decisions are more likely to be subjective and based on emotions instead of logic.

There are a number of common personality traits among feelers, including:

  • Kindness

  • Caring

  • Compassion

  • Empathy

  • Helpfulness

  • Nurturing

Related: 17 Best Jobs for Empaths (With Salaries and Duties)

Thinking vs. feeling in the workplace

Thinking and feeling judgment types can be relevant at work because judgment type is likely to influence an employee's behaviour and attitude and the career path they choose. By understanding their judgment type, you can gain a unique insight into why team members or employees act the way they do.

These are some of the ways that judgment type is relevant in the workplace:

Motivation

When looking for ways to improve efficiency, productivity, and performance in the workplace, employers often look at what motivates employees. Understanding whether an employee is a thinker or a feeler is a good place to start when attempting to understand their motivations, because different motivators drive thinkers and feelers.

Extrinsic factors, such as pay raises or personal promotions, are most likely to motivate thinkers. Visualizing the results of their labour is important to these employees. They're likely to become inspired if they understand the rewards of tasks and see a clear path to achieving these rewards. Intrinsic factors are more likely to motivate feelers. They may be more focused on understanding how they positively impact the lives of others or the knowledge that their work contributes to the company's overall success. Feeling that they're doing good typically motivates these employees.

Conflict and confrontation

Conflict in the workplace is often the result of different personalities and contrasting opinions. Understanding judgment types can help those in supervisory or management positions find solutions and de-escalate tensions. For instance, feelers may try to avoid disagreements whenever possible. They're likely to notice changes in body language or tone. Feelers are insightful and generally notice if individuals they interact with have different views from their own.

It's common for feelers to remain quiet rather than react or cause another person to feel uncomfortable. This may sometimes lead to a tense work environment. Thinkers are more likely to confront challenges. They may be aware that there is a difference in thinking or views between themselves and others. When this occurs, they tend to approach the other person, seeking resolution. They adopt a logical and rational standpoint and attempt to use this to persuade the other party. This may escalate the disagreement, which might adversely impact the workplace.

Career choices

Personality traits can sometimes determine the career that an individual pursues and the success that they experience within that career. This doesn't mean that only certain judgment types are successful in specific careers. It just means that some jobs are better suited to certain judgment types because they can use the particular personality traits associated with that type.

For instance, thinkers tend to excel in careers that involve rational thought processes and systemic career pathways due to their analytical mindset. They may pursue careers in the sciences, computer technology, mathematics, engineering, business, or finance. Other career choices for thinkers might include:

  • Attorney

  • Surgeon

  • Mathematician

  • Software developer

  • Mechanic

  • Sales manager

  • School administrator

  • Insurance agent

Feelers are more likely to thrive in careers that involve connecting with, caring for, and supporting others. These careers typically involve empathy and the ability to help others. Some examples of careers most suited to feelers include:

  • Teacher

  • Writer

  • Pediatrician

  • Artist

  • Psychologist

  • Social services counsellor

  • Veterinary technician

  • Home health aide

Communication style

Communication is a fundamental part of many jobs. How an employee communicates can have far-reaching effects on overall morale, team dynamics, and the overall success of an organization. Thinkers analyze the response of the other party to the discussion before communicating their response. They typically focus on communicating relevant information that provides a basis for their viewpoint. Throughout a conversation, a thinker may look for ways to resolve the topic under discussion while maintaining an objective outlook.

Feelers can sometimes be less objective when communicating their emotions. They may focus on exploring the feelings of those involved in the conversation and ensuring that each participant understands the other's viewpoint. Body language is a feature of the feeler's communication. For a manager, knowing the style associated with a judgment type can help them identify individual strengths and weaknesses and provide targeted support to overcome any potential improvement needs. It's also helpful if the employees are aware that how they communicate can impact others.

Related: Key Differences: Analytical Thinking vs. Critical Thinking

Tips for interacting with thinkers

The following tips may be helpful when interacting with thinkers:

  • Consider beginning the conversation with a list of logical points, as this provides a solid foundation that focuses on their analytical nature.

  • Try to avoid emotional points.

  • Detail your viewpoint clearly and concisely.

  • Remain calm throughout the conversation and practise active listening.

  • Try to avoid showing emotion, as thinkers are more likely to disengage from a conversation that becomes overly emotional.

  • Aim for brevity when expressing your opinion since thinkers are active listeners who perform best when the conversation is rational and logical.

Tips for interacting with feelers

The following tips can help you communicate with feelers:

  • Encourage the feeler to understand that you're willing to share.

  • Start the conversation with the points that both parties agree on mutually.

  • Focus the conversation on the feeler's point of view to demonstrate that you understand.

  • Allow the feeler to communicate their specific viewpoint without interrupting them.

  • Try to avoid criticizing or speaking negatively about individual opinions.


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