Whereas in the last group (intuition vs sensing), we discovered how people take in and interpret information from their surroundings, in this dichotomy we begin to understand how we make decisions based on that information.
Thinkers want their decision to be based solely on the facts, with no interference from emotions. For instance, in a position of authority in a business organization, thinkers will have much less difficulty making reductions to staffing and resources if it can be shown that the decision makes economic or strategic sense.
Feelers, on the other hand, will struggle with a similar decision, often to the point of not making the necessary reductions and hurting the business’ bottom line, all because the feeler doesn’t want to hurt people’s feelings.
As with the other two continuums that we’ve already discussed, there are very few people who are totally at one end of the scale or the other. It’s merely a matter of toward which end you lean. Likewise, different situations or topics may cause you to lean more one way or the other than what you would normally.
As far as examples of how one would “style switch”, or attempt to work on an issue from their non-preferred end of the spectrum, I think that this dichotomy may be the hardest of the four in which to attempt to do that. Because emotions are such powerful influences, people who have developed a tendency to ignore them have built up massive defenses to them. Likewise, those who are used to listening to them may find it very hard to tune them out.
Your best bet is to simply be able to identify a person who has the opposite tendency that you have and ask them how they would make a decision on the situation you are facing. You may not be able to truly internalize this decision, but at least you will know what the other side thinks of it.
Perhaps, if a “thinker” gives you a rational decision that strains against your normal “feeler” tendencies, you can look for aspects of the decision that can be implemented while still maintaining a decision you can live with.
Likewise, thinkers should look for ways to incorporate feeler tendencies, especially in situations where tough decisions are going to be made and feelings hurt. The same end result can be accomplished, while also being sensitive to other’s feelings. As Mary Poppins said, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down”.