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The Most Common Disparity in Difficult Conversations: Thinkers and Feelers

In the last newsletter (January), I alluded to the fact that over the years, I have developed an interactional process called, Facilitative Communication.

As shown in the Communication Process table below, facilitative communication simply means that when a leader or anyone for that matter “Hits a Speed Bump” and no longer has that comfortable and easy “Cruise Control” feeling that the savvy executive will consciously change her language in order to elevate the conversation, advance the relationship and create a transcendent resolution.

By transcendent resolution I mean  one that has the best of what you think; the best of what they think, but a solution that is better or superior to both.

Facilitative communication simply means that we know that we have communicated when we hear our thoughts, feelings and ideas coming out of the other person’s mouth, i.e., the words we initially wanted to say.

They tell you what you wanted to tell them.

They, then take you where you want them to go.

In other words, people generally are in love with the sound of their voice, not yours.

If you tell them they are “wrong”, in their mind you have suddenly become a “you-know-what”.

If you have a mindset that is genuinely curious and interested in them, that is to say, their point of view, and you know how to elevate the conversation that a very good thing will happen.

You will find that they will tell you what you wanted to tell them.

Their comment actually becomes for them the acknowledgement of a wise, judicious and rather mature person.

A positive conversation ensues and you both win.

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And How in the Name of Heaven does a Leader do That?

We do this by leveraging the fact that the human brain cannot multi-task but can only iterate.

In effect, people cannot see what is right about their idea(s) what might be wrong, (likely your idea) about their point of view until they have fully expiated their argument and can then and only then see the opposite or different perspective.

A smart leader never forgets that after food, shelter and clothing people want one thing.

People want to be right and they want the glory for being right.

That realization and knowing what to do about it, my fiends is the essence of a facilitative conversation.

 

The Communication Process

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The Thinker – Feeler Conflict

Carl Jung posited that the way people like to make decisions is the most impactful and salient factor with respect to determining the level of conflict people generally and business relationships specifically.

Jung used the terms, Thinking (T) and Feeling (F) to refer to rational methods each of the two styles uses to make decisions.

Generally, Thinkers are more inclined to want solutions and independence when making decisions.

Feelers want understanding and connection before they feel comfortable enough to proceed with further discussion and make a decision.

One of the theories advanced in this book is that the intrinsic conflict that exists between Thinkers and Feelers explicates much of the initial and ongoing friction in people’s overt and covert conflict.

Thinking types can become irritated when Feeling types appear to ignore the logic of a situation and come to a conclusion that seems illogical.

Feeling types often accuse Thinking types of being cold, uncaring, and hypercritical.

This of course gives rise to the classic communication issue:

What is the anatomy of an argument, “We are argue about my pen (any item at all really), then in two minutes, we argue about how we argue.”

 

Feelers want Understanding and Connection based on Shared Emotion

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I have found that the third prism, “How do you prefer to make decisions”, is the most impactful and salient factor with respect to determining the level of conflict people generally and business relationships specifically.

Jung used the terms, Thinking (T) and Feeling (F) to refer to rational methods each of the two styles uses to make decisions.

Generally, Thinkers are more inclined to want solutions and independence when making decisions.

Feelers want understanding and connection before they feel comfortable enough to proceed with further discussion and make a decision.

One of the theories advanced in this book is that the intrinsic conflict that exists between Thinkers and Feelers explicates much of the initial and ongoing friction in people’s overt and covert conflict.

Thinking types can become irritated when Feeling types appear to ignore the logic of a situation and come to a conclusion that seems illogical.

Feeling types often accuse Thinking types of being cold, uncaring, and hypercritical.

This of course gives rise to the classic communication issue:

What is the anatomy of an argument, “We are argue about my pen (any item at all really), then in two minutes, we argue about how we argue.”

 

Thinkers on the Other Hand Want Independence and Solutions based on Logic

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Mastering the facilitation process for these types will give you your greatest gains.

The third prism, How do you prefer to make decisions, is the most impactful and salient factor with respect to determining the level of conflict or quality of communication people experience?

According to studies, 50% of the general population Thinking Deciders and 50% are Feeling Deciders (Two thirds of males are T, while two thirds of females are F).

Both methods to decide are rational.

Thinking Deciders and Feeling Deciders are just coming from a different place to get to the same place.

 

Thinkers, Feelers and Gender

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The Center for the Advancement of Personality Type published a composite of data from eight major studies.

The studies included 101,890 (45,608 males; 56,282 females) people in 1996.

The Thinking – Feeling dimension stood at 50% of the general population as Thinking Deciders and 50% as Feeling Deciders.

Two thirds of males (65 – 70 %) were Thinkers, while two thirds (65 – 70%) of females were Feelers.

McIntyre (1991) examined conflict management style and found that the MBTI scales were better predictors of integrating and compromising strategies than was gender.

My own doctoral research suggested the same conclusion.

I was able to determine with subjects in my research that type is a more potent paradigm to understand human behaviour than gender.

Demarest (1997) findings also suggested that the T – F scale might be more influential than gender when responding to relational issues.

This disparity is very real; it is neurological.

In several of my books I have noted that you can see the places in a person’s brain, with resonant imaging, that Thinker (the left or right cortex) or the Feeler (the right limbic brain) experience as being dominant.

Dominant means it is their natural inclination and and biological predisposition; being that way is easy, preferable.

That part of their brain is where you will see the most electromagnetic activity while the other section are anywhere from less active to almost dormant.

Leaders who are serious about being effective communicators need to know how to facilitate, from the French, to render or bring about in an easy and rather elegant way, these very real differences in those they wish influence and inspire.

Today, we have looked at how to build a solid foundation to address the inbuilt disparity in conversational style between “Thinkers” and “Feelers”.

In the next newsletter we will explore the issue even further.

Beginning to facilitate the natural direct (Thinker) and indirect(Feeler) conversational styles is a big step to becoming a more complete and powerful leader.

Good luck with this.

For more on this topic, we recommend the following

Book

Execute Your Communication
Skills or They Will Die

The Key to Superior Personal and
Professional Communication

Click Here For Video and Full Description

 

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