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Personality Types at Work: How Thinkers and Feelers Can Get Along

In every relationship, whether personal or business, there is often a clash of logic and emotion. Most people tend toward one side or the other, and that can affect their approach to their studies and their career.

Thinking personalities are those that prefer rational arguments above all else. Feeling personalities want to talk things through and be diplomatic. A thinker tells it like it is, while a feeler deals a gentle blow. The thinker takes very few things personally, while the feeler tends to take almost everything personally.

Put the two together in a work or school environment and watch the sparks fly! Learning to respect the differences and respond to them appropriately is the key to harmony.

'Present rational arguments, people!'

Thinkers are the cool, calm and collected types. They are often reserved to the point of appearing aloof. They make decisions based on objective reasons and prefer to be convinced by rational arguments. In fact, they will often debate and argue just for fun.

The thinking personality is honest, fair and direct, and values the same from others. Thinkers take few things personally, so when they point out flaws, they can be very direct, sometimes to the point of bluntness. The "tell it like it is" attitude of a thinker can be both a blessing and a curse.

'Let's be diplomatic about this.'

Feelers are warm, friendly and approachable. They tend to go out of their way to make others feel welcome. The fact that they are quick to compliment others can make them seem even friendlier. They prefer to go with their gut feeling, and trust their emotions. They avoid arguments and try to promote harmony and compassion.

The feeling personality is very tactful and diplomatic, and they prefer the same. Values and feelings can trump rational arguments. They tend to take most things personally, which can make them very sensitive to the needs of others but overly sensitive to criticism.

How thinkers and feelers handle the classroom

Thinkers are motivated by achievement, and to that end, are often great at setting goals and pursuing them with vigor. They prefer to see tangible rewards for their efforts, such as the bright red "A" at the top of the essay assignment or the great grade at the end of the semester.

Thinkers thrive in an environment that clearly moves them toward their goal. A thinking personality might chafe at general prerequisite courses because they are seen as stepping stones to the more targeted courses for a degree. They might also have trouble with courses that don't offer much in the way of discourse, such as a lecture class.

Thinkers can overcome this by opting for courses that provide hands-on training and clear results. Science lab or an engineering course could be perfect options. Though other courses are required, thinkers can make them easier by setting their own milestones for outside study and working toward the goal of an excellent grade.

Feelers need words of encouragement and affirmation to feel as though they have achieved something. They want to win praise, and that often matters more than the perfect grade. Feelers prefer to focus on emotions, circumstances, and people involved before making a decision.

Feelers do best in an environment that lets them be diplomatic and think things through. However, they tend to not like conflict, so a debate course might not be the best place for them to thrive. Feelers can do very well in an essay course that requires them to voice an opinion, rather than a class that requires cut-and-dried analytical thinking.

Those with feeling personalities can overcome the tight structure of some college courses by forming their own study groups with creative ways of memorizing data. They could focus on courses in the arts rather than those in the more structured disciplines.

Moving into the workplace

In the workplace, thinkers and feelers sometimes clash. The feeler can see the thinker as cold and distant, interested only in results. The thinker can see the feeler as being illogical and emotional, trying too hard to please.

The two personality types can peacefully coexist with a few simple accommodations. Feelers can keep their workspace organized, be ready to focus on both cons and pros of a situation, and appeal to the fair nature of the thinker. Thinkers can focus on points of agreement, offer praise for contributions, and keep the debates as friendly as possible.

The best careers for thinkers include those that require analytical thought, such as science, engineering and legal professions. Feelers do well in jobs that allow them to take care of others, such as medicine, education or the arts. Thinkers and feelers in the same job environment can use each other's strengths to help create a well-rounded experience and harmonious atmosphere.