OKA’s Focus is Type Development
Too much energy is devoted to simple MBTI testing and not enough to individual Type validation—independent of what the assessment reports, what is your true Type? But less energy still is spent on the most important effort at hand, which is the development of my Type—in light of my preferences, how do I gain greater awareness and then even comfort and skill with all the functions—even those I don’t prefer?
OKA’s primary focus regarding Type has become training and supporting the development of Type—not only discovering what your Type is but how you can be more effective in your life, work and relationships using Type.
What is Type Development?
Jung said that Sensing tells us that something IS, Thinking tells us WHAT it is, Feeling gives it value, and iNtuition gives it meaning.
So much surrounding Type emphasizes the preference for one end of a dichotomy over its opposite, but Type theory is actually a holistic theory of human cognitive development that illuminates the path we are each most likely to follow as we experience, develop, and ultimately build toward comfort and skill with all four cognitive functions (S, N, T and F). Type theory suggests that our Type preferences are hard-wired and unchanging, but our Type development—the degree to which we can access and the skill with which we use all the elements of Type—is continually changing, and hopefully increasing.
Sometimes an individual or organization’s Type development—good or bad—leads to predictable outcomes and observable behaviors that can signify Type development successes and challenges. It is important to note the positive—indeed essential—qualities for effective individual and organizational life that each function provides. Sometimes the underdevelopment of a function can block us from even seeing the value or even the existence of that function. A great first step in any Type development effort is to establish the existence and the value of each of the functions and their respective, unique contributions.
What is the logic of Feeling?
The Feeling function helps us weigh how deeply we care about the things that will be gained or lost by each of the alternatives. Feeling seeks accord between our personal sense of values and our actions. Its personal nature helps us to focus on the relationships around us and how our decisions affect them. Feeling is empathic, values-focused, subjective and personal. Only the Feeling function can make decisions motivated by compassion and harmony.
Individuals with well-developed Feeling tend to be:
- Appreciative of others
- Sensitive conflict resolvers, disliking conflict and either avoiding it or diligently, even aggressively, working toward its resolution
- Quick to sympathize/empathize and stay personally connected to issues and people
- Gleaners of personal meaning from relationships and actions
- Builders of effective relationships
- In touch with his/her values and beliefs
Organizations with well-developed Feeling tend to have:
- A premium placed on loyalty
- Expressed concern and connection to work, colleagues, and outcomes
- An emphasis on having and fostering warm customer and co-worker relationships
- A familial and/or personal atmosphere
- A reward structure emphasizing kindness, personal connection, and team work
Individuals with under-developed Feeling tend to be:
- Insensitive, uncaring, and conflict-blind
- Disloyal, and perhaps even amoral
- Emotionally reactive in ways out of sync or proportion to the situation
- Selfish and/or self-satisfying
- Unable or unwilling to weigh impact on others
Organizations with under-developed Feeling tend to have:
- Little attention given to employee, client, co-worker and team needs
- A belief that conflict either does not exist or that conflict has no negative or toxic effect
- A mechanistic approach to work and the people who perform it
- Little loyalty to team, system or mission
- A caustic, abusive sense of humor
The following are ideas to use in helping individuals improve access and skill with the Feeling function:
- Reflect on how much you personally care about proposed actions, and the extent to which these actions fit your inner values—are the actions good or bad, and how will they impact you, your image, and those you care about
- Consider other people’s feelings—both reasonable and unreasonable. Remember when you felt a similar way and what your resulting needs or expectations were
- Reflect upon and journal (write down) the non-negotiables in your life. Statements like, “People should. . .” or “It is important that . . .” might help
- Express your feelings to someone you like, appreciate or care for (personally or professionally)
- Establish eye contact, smile, and tell someone “Good Morning,” or “Hello”
- Talk to someone about a value you feel strongly about. Statements like, “People should. . .” or “It is important that . . .” might help
To learn more about Type Development and the willful activation of all your type preferences, take OKA’s new course, Type Development for Professional Practitioners. OKA’s new experiential two-day course, designed and delivered by Hile Rutledge, is perfect for anyone interested in putting Type or the MBTI to practical use. In addition, in the spring of 2014 OKA will publish Hile Rutledge’s new Type Development Workbook, the latest in OKA’s series of trainer and practitioner support tools.