Myers-Briggs Under Pressure: Feeling

by Ron

“Let’s change the topic, I don’t want to deal with this at the moment.”

“Look, it’s your fault that we’re in this mess anyway. If you had made arrangements for this while you were on vacation it wouldn’t have happened in the first place.”

“I just don’t want to hear it any more, this is the way it’s going to happen!”

(If you didn’t start with the introduction to this “Myers-Briggs Under Pressure” series, I suggest you make a quick review  because it will help you better understand these subsequent blogs.)

Brenda is stuck! Her dominant function is Feeling which helps her know what’s really important in most situations and appreciate input from just about anyone. And normally, she’ll balance these great skills with either a good conceptual view of the world or a great grasp of the data, depending on her complete type.

There are four types that have this particular combination, the Introverted ISFP, INFP and the Extraverted ESFJ, ENFJ. As noted above the dominant in all four cases is Feeling and the inferior in all four cases is Thinking. These are what’s known as our Deciding functions, how do we decide what to do after we have taken in the data through our Perceiving functions of Sensing and iNtuition.

In a healthy state, these Deciding functions would then work in tandem with the “perceiving” functions of Sensing or iNtuition depending type. But, under pressure or stress, Brenda begins to lose this natural balance, falling back to her dominant function which will expose her feelings, no matter how raw they may be. Brenda will either become hypercritical or hypersensitive or both under pressure.

Balance, Balance, Balance

This is where team members and colleagues come into play. It’s difficult for any one of us to break out of these pressure packed situations. As colleagues, we want to help Brenda back into a balanced state by asking and sometimes even forcing her to use his auxiliary function. Notice that Brenda’s auxiliary function could be either Sensing or iNtuition depending on type. Let’s start with the Sensing balance.

“Brenda, we can’t ignore the topic right now, we need to make a decision this week.”

“I’m sorry I just can’t deal with it right now, there are just too many things this could impact.”

“Can we take a look at the data and see where that might be leading us and then discuss how that might impact the values of the company, if at all?”

“Yes, if you guarantee that we’ll see how these figures will impact the way we’re going to work this out with the people.”

As we begin to force Brenda to try a little balancing act, she’ll begin to regain her footing. Note that we can’t tell Brenda that his data problem doesn’t impact our overall values. Brenda has to come to grips with that through balancing her own natural Feeling and Sensing functions.

If we’re dealing with either the INFP or ENFJ than iNtuition is the auxiliary function, not Sensing. The approach is similar, but focused more on the conceptual or future view (iNtuition) rather than the data (Sensing).

“Brenda, we really don’t think this new direction will impact our care and concern for the employees but let’s see if we can see a way through this.”

“I just don’t see how it’s going to happen. I’m concerned we’ll end up in a very bad place.”

“We’ll, let’s talk through that. Describe for me the outcome you see as most likely in this case.”

“It’s just not going to end well.”

“Well, let’s get a grip on the possible outcomes and then really talk through the good and bad of the situation and see how we could mitigate any negative outcomes.”

“OK, I guess we’re just talking anyway. We can make the decisions as we figure out the best path.”

As we begin to force Brenda to try a little balancing act, she’ll begin to regain her footing. Note that we can’t tell her where the scenarios will lead. Brenda has to come to grips with that through balancing her own natural Feeling and iNtuition functions.

Stay tuned. We’ll continue to explore other ways to conduct your own “balancing” act. The best leaders have learned to balance their natural temperament functions with those of the people and teams around them. It’s when the functions get out of balance or opposed to each other that we get stuck as individuals and teams.

When it comes to your temperament, balance, balance, balance is the key to success.

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