Developing Thinking

Type develops. Like a tree grows, so does our awareness of and comfort with all of the mental functions (Sensing, iNtuition, Thinking and Feeling). And while growth and development can happen organically—at their own pace, we can also approach our Type development with some intention and design. So how (and why) would you go about developing Thinking (objective decision-making)?

The Thinking function helps us to impersonally analyze cause and effect, including all the consequences of alternative solutions. The Thinking function helps us to calculate the full cost of actions or options and to examine the misgivings we may have suppressed because of loyalties, personal attachments, or reluctance to change a stance. Thinking is logical, reasonable, critical and impersonal.

Individuals with well-developed Thinking tend to be:

  • Problem-solvers who readily analyze issues for solutions
  • Consistent, logical and objective
  • Effective conflict managers, expecting or even inviting conflict but harnessing its power and learning from it
  • Clear and organized decision-makers
  • Driven to be right

Organizations with well-developed Thinking tend to have:

  • Efficient processes and controlled work flows
  • Fair and consistent client and personnel policies
  • Clear communication of decisions and procedures
  • A shared intellectual drive—a striving to know the answer and be “right”
  • A rewards structure emphasizing clear, objective decision making, intellectual achievement and accountability
  • A focus on task and results

Individuals with under-developed Thinking tend to be:

  • Overly or arbitrarily critical
  • Indecisive
  • Unconcerned with their own ignorance
  • Unable or reluctant to weigh and analyze data
  • Disorganized in their thinking and problem solving
  • Unable or unwilling to disassociate issues or problems from self

Organizations with under-developed Thinking tend to have:

  • Illogical, inconsistent decisions, policies, and/or product decisions
  • No reward/punishment system that emphasizes accountability
  • General task accomplishment and business system disorganization
  • Wrong, ineffective, or unintelligent solutions to client needs or product and service offerings
  • Inability or unwillingness to learn from feedback, experiences or mistakes, seeing all as reminders of shame rather than opportunities to learn and develop

How to access or exercise the Thinking function:

  • Weigh the costs and benefits of possible actions in a detached, objective manner.
  • Play the scientist who examines the consequences of behavior without any personal attachment to the outcome.
  • Critique or edit an article, email or letter for precision and clarity.
  • Solve a word or numbers puzzle.
  • Think through the logical steps of an argument.
  • Develop a hypothesis for how something (machine, system, process) works.
  • Logically argue or debate a point with someone.
  • Organize (bring order and control to) something.
  • Critique someone to make their effort more clear, effective, and precise.


Type Development WorkbookThe material in this blog are excerpted from OKA’s Type Development Workbook, by Hile Rutledge. For more information on this and other OKA Type resources, click the workbook image to visit OKA’s online store.

Also, consider OKA’s newest Type course, Using Type in Coaching and Development, a two-day, experiential deep dive into Type Dynamics, balance, and Type Development. Designed and delivered by Hile Rutledge, this latest Type offering from OKA will update and revitalize your use of Type and the MBTI assessment. Click the class image to learn more about this workshop.

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