Using MBTI to Great Advantage – Deciding

by Ron Potter

Using MBTI to Great Advantage is a blog series in which I’ll do an overview of each of the four Myers-Briggs (MBTI) functions and then in subsequent blogs will dig into each one in more depth with some practical applications for creating better dynamics and better decisions making. Click here to read the Series Introduction.

Deciding Overview: Thinking vs. Feeling

MBTI series header

Now that you’ve “perceived” (the first decision making function) the world around you (see previous MBTI blog), how do you then finally decide (the 2nd decision making function)?

As we work our way through the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), we once again encounter two words that carry a lot of pre-conceived baggage. Most business leaders assume (incorrectly) that business decisions should be made on a purely logical, fact based, “thinking” basis. There isn’t any room for touchy-feely in business decision making.

Well, the Feeling side of this function isn’t necessarily touchy-feely and in fact some of the most hard-nosed leaders I’ve met actually fall on the Feeling side of this equation. It’s not about emotion it’s about values and the “right” thing to do. Our Thinking types can lay out an argument that is purely logical, based on facts, and structured top to bottom building a clear argument for their case. Our Feeling types may look at all those facts and logic and actually agree with the conclusion but at the same time say “Who cares? Is this the right thing to do for our employees, customers, shareholders?”

Emotional Thought. This balancing act is often referred to as “Emotional Thought.” In his book Learn or Die: Using Science to Build a Leading-Edge Learning Organization, Edward Hess says”

 “Neurobiological research has shown that certain aspects of cognition, such as learning, attention, memory, decision making, and social functioning, are ‘both profoundly affected by emotion and in fact subsumed within the processes of emotion.’” (Bolds are mine)

This one is tough. Balancing this one becomes particularly tricky but has profound impact if we achieve the right balance. Also, all of the latest brain research that has been exploding over the last ten to fifteen years points to the fact that we as human beings actually make our decisions based on the Feelings side of this equation and then justify our decision based on logic (Thinking). We’ll have a lot more to learn about this one in coming blogs.

But, once again, the three rules for being more effective at decision making are:
1. Balance
2. Balance
3. Balance

This one may be the more difficult one to personally balance. What have some of your experiences been either successful or unsuccessful?

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1 comment

Four Functions, Three Rules – Using MBTI to Great Advantage - Team Leadership Culture February 2, 2015 - 5:05 pm

[…] the Four Functions are: 1. Energizing 2. Perceiving 3. Deciding 4. Work […]


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