T and F: Understanding how Personality Types Influence Decision-Making

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a widely recognised and utilised personality assessment tool that categorises individuals into different personality types based on four key dimensions:

  • Extraversion (E) vs. Introversion (I) - Where do you focus your attention?
  • Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N) - How do you take in information?
  • Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F) - How do you make decisions and evaluate information?
  • Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P) - How do you orientate to the Outer world?

In this article, we explore the F (Feeling) and T (Thinking) preferences. These preferences refer to how individuals make decisions and evaluate information. Our personality shapes our decisions.

It’s worth noting here that although many people refer to the “F-Type” and the “T-Type”, the terms "F-Type" and "T-Type" are not widely used or recognised within the MBTI framework. The correct terminology used in the MBTI is "Feeling" (F) and "Thinking" (T) preferences.

Individuals with a preference for Feeling (F) place a strong emphasis on personal values, emotions, and interpersonal harmony in their decision-making processes. They tend to prioritise the impact their choices have on others and value maintaining positive relationships. Empathy, compassion, and understanding are key aspects of their interactions. Individuals with a Feeling preference are more likely to make decisions based on their subjective evaluations and consider the potential impact of their decision on the emotional well-being of those involved.

Individuals with a preference for Thinking (T) approach decision-making from a more analytical and logical standpoint, valuing objectivity and rationality. They prioritise critical thinking, evidence-based reasoning, and factual accuracy. Individuals with a Thinking preference tend to detach themselves from emotions when making decisions and focus on the most efficient and effective solutions.

It is important to note that having a preference for Feeling (F) or Thinking (T) does not imply that individuals exclusively use one approach over the other. Everyone possesses both feeling and thinking capacities, but individuals have a natural inclination toward one preference or the other.

Why is it Useful to Understand the T and F Personality Preferences?

Understanding the Thinking and Feeling personality preferences, as described in the MBTI framework, can be highly beneficial for several reasons:

  • Self-Awareness: Recognising and understanding your own thinking or feeling preference can enhance self-awareness. It allows you to gain insights into how you make decisions, process information, and interact with others. This self-awareness can help you leverage your strengths, identify areas for personal growth, and make more informed choices aligned with your values and preferences.
  • Communication and Relationships: Understanding Thinking and Feeling preferences can improve communication and relationships with others. When you understand that individuals have different approaches to decision-making, you can better appreciate their perspectives and adapt your communication style to effectively convey your thoughts and understand theirs. It promotes empathy, reduces misunderstandings, and fosters positive and harmonious relationships.
  • Collaboration and Teamwork: In group settings, such as workplaces or collaborative projects, recognising Thinking and Feeling preferences among team members is invaluable. It allows for a more balanced and inclusive approach to problem-solving and decision-making. Teams can leverage the strengths of both Thinking and Feeling types to ensure thorough analysis, while also considering the emotional impact and values of individuals involved. This leads to better collaboration, increased creativity, and improved outcomes.
  • Conflict Resolution: Understanding Thinking and Feeling preferences can facilitate conflict resolution. By recognising that individuals may prioritise different factors when making decisions, such as logic or personal values, it becomes easier to find common ground and reach mutually satisfactory resolutions. It encourages open dialogue, empathy, and compromise, fostering a more constructive approach to conflict resolution.
  • Leadership and Management: Leaders who understand the Thinking and Feeling preferences can adapt their leadership styles accordingly. They can recognise the need to balance rational analysis with emotional intelligence, creating an inclusive and supportive work environment. Leaders who value both logical decision-making and interpersonal dynamics can inspire trust, motivate their team, and make more well-rounded and effective decisions.
  • Personal Growth and Development: Being aware of the F and T preferences can inspire personal growth and development. It encourages individuals to explore and embrace the opposite preference, helping them develop a more well-rounded approach to decision-making and problem-solving.

In summary, understanding the F and T preferences promotes self-awareness, improves communication and relationships, facilitates conflict resolution, enhances teamwork, and fosters personal growth. It equips individuals with valuable tools to navigate various social and professional contexts with greater effectiveness and empathy.

Now we know why it is useful to understand the T and F preferences, let's delve deeper into the characteristics and traits of the MBTI Thinking (T) and Feeling (F) preferences.

Strengths and Characteristics of Individuals With the Thinking (T) Preference

  • Logical and Analytical Thinkers: T’s excel in using logical reasoning and objective analysis to evaluate information and make decisions. They prioritise facts, evidence, and rationality in their thought processes.
  • Detached from Emotions: T’s tend to detach themselves from personal emotions when making decisions. They value objectivity and strive to eliminate biases, making them adept at evaluating situations impartially.
  • Systematic Problem-Solvers: T’s approach problem-solving by breaking down complex issues into smaller components, analysing data, and applying systematic approaches to find effective solutions. They excel in identifying patterns and logical connections.
  • Rational Decision-Makers: T’s prioritise efficiency and effectiveness in decision-making. They weigh pros and cons, consider long-term consequences, and strive for the most logical and practical choices.
  • Clear and Precise Communication: T’s focus on clarity and precision in their communication. They strive to articulate their thoughts and ideas in a structured manner, emphasising logical coherence.

Challenges for T’s

  • Emotional Consideration: T’s may overlook the emotional impact of their decisions on others, leading to potential misunderstandings or strained relationships.
  • Subjective Decision Making: T’s might struggle with understanding the emotional or value-based motivations of others, potentially causing them to be perceived as cold or detached.
  • Dealing with Ambiguity: Situations that lack clear data or require subjective evaluation can pose challenges for T-Types who prefer objective analysis.

Strengths and Characteristics of Individuals With the Feeling (F) Preference

  • Empathetic and Compassionate: F’s possess a high degree of emotional intelligence and are attuned to the feelings and needs of others. They genuinely care about the well-being and emotions of those around them.
  • Values-Driven Decision-Making: F’s prioritise personal values and ethics when making choices. They consider the moral and ethical implications of their decisions, and their actions align with their internal sense of right and wrong.
  • Harmonious Relationship Builders: F’s excel in creating and nurturing positive relationships. They prioritise interpersonal harmony, collaborate effectively, and strive to create an inclusive and supportive environment.
  • Subjective Evaluation: F’s rely on their subjective evaluations and personal feelings when making decisions. They consider the emotional impact their choices have on themselves and others, valuing the well-being of individuals involved.
  • Conflict Avoidance: F’s tend to avoid conflict and seek resolution through compromise and understanding. They strive to maintain positive relationships, sometimes at the expense of their own needs or desires.

Challenges for F’s

  • Difficulty with Objective Analysis: F’s may struggle with impartial decision-making, as they tend to prioritise personal feelings and values over logical analysis.
  • Balancing Personal and Collective Needs: Striking a balance between personal well-being and the needs of others can be challenging for F’s, potentially leading to self-neglect or difficulty asserting personal boundaries.
  • Conflict Management: Due to their aversion to conflict, F’s may find it challenging to address and resolve interpersonal disagreements directly.

NB: These descriptions provide a general overview of Thinking (T) and Feeling (F) personalities based on the MBTI framework. Individual variations within each personality type can exist, and people may exhibit traits from both preferences to varying degrees.

"T-types offer the clarity of analysis, while F-types offer the richness of emotional resonance, resulting in a world where intellectual depth and heartfelt understanding coexist."

Mark Thompson, Leadership Expert and Author

Summary of Characteristics

The terms “Feeling” and “Thinking” answer the questions:

How do you make decisions?

How do you evaluate information? 

Thinking (T) PreferenceFeeling (F) Preference
Detached from emotions: They prioritise rationality and may appear less emotionally expressive. Emotionally driven: They make decisions based on their feelings and personal values.
Problem solvers: They are good at analysing data, identifying patterns, and finding efficient solutions. Values-focused: They consider moral and ethical implications when making choices.
Logic and fact-oriented: They make decisions based on objective analysis and evidence. Empathetic and caring: They are good at understanding and considering the emotions of others.
Impartial decision-makers: They can make choices without being overly influenced by personal emotions or biases. Relationship-oriented: They prioritise maintaining harmonious and positive relationships.
Direct and precise communicators: They value clarity and accuracy in their communication. Conflict-averse: They prefer to avoid conflict and seek compromise to maintain peace

Remember that these simplified characteristics provide a general understanding of the F and T preferences. Individual variations exist, and people may exhibit traits from both preferences to varying degrees.

Bridging the Gap and Achieving Balance

Recognising and appreciating the strengths of both Feeling and Thinking preferences is important for better communication and collaboration. Understanding these differences helps individuals find a balance between emotions and logic when making decisions. People with a Feeling preference can benefit from considering logical analysis, while those with a Thinking preference can acknowledge the importance of emotional intelligence in relationships.

This understanding improves self-awareness and interactions with others, promoting effective collaboration and understanding. Striving for a balanced approach that combines rationality and empathy leads to well-rounded outcomes in decision-making.

"T-types and F-types, two sides of the same coin, reminding us that the power of reason and the power of emotions can dance together in perfect harmony."

Emily Davis, Psychologist and Author

If you would like to find out more about another MBTI dimension - the Extravert and Introvert preferences, please read: