Developing Sensing

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 Sensing?

The Sensing function helps us face the facts and be realistic. It tells us exactly what the situation is and what is being done about it. Sensing works against wishful thinking or sentiment that may obscure what is. It can tell us what is happening right now or what has happened in the past. Sensing is concrete, realistic, practical, and experiential.

Individuals with well-developed Sensing tend to be:

  • Attentive to and energized by sensate, immediate experience
  • History-aware, data-rich, and informed
  • Curious about what has happened and what is going on now
  • Practical and realistic
  • Detailed, literal and specific when they speak

Organizations with well-developed Sensing tend to have:

  • Realistic, practical, and historically informed policies and procedures
  • A steadying sense of tradition (if introverted Sensing)
  • An attentive and adaptable, practical engagement to streaming problems and ever-changing client or project demands (if extraverted Sensing)
  • A concern for tactics and process (the detailed “how’s” of a project or effort)
  • Vision and strategy—assuming they have them at all—kept within the boundaries of reality and implementable check-lists

Individuals with under-developed Sensing tend to be:

  • Unobservant
  • Generally ignorant of detail, specifics, and chronology
  • Uncomfortable with real world, sensual experience
  • Unrealistic and impractical
  • Disconnected from their physical bodies and the realities of pain, discomfort, hunger, et cetera—unnecessarily diminishing or overplaying these experiences

Organizations with under-developed Sensing tend to have:

  • Decisions and policies ignorant—or even disdainful—of history, past experience and procedure
  • General inattention to detail
  • A lack of care or concern for the specifics of deals, agreements, and contracts
  • Unrealistic or impractical goals and strategies
  • An inability to shift from high level strategy and vision to tactical action

The following are ideas to use in helping individuals improve access and skill with the Sensing function:

  • Describe in detail the facts of various situations.
  • List the unshakable facts, the realities that are beyond dispute.
  • Be specific about the data you have, such as sales or production figures, costs, market share, verbal reports, and your own observations.
  • Balance you checkbook and/or pull a detailed report together.
  • Reflect on and record (write down) the chronology of an event or project.
  • Take a walk and focus specifically on the temperature, the smells in the air and the How many different nature sounds or machine sounds can you identify (the exercise is the experience, not the counting or cataloging).
  • Eat a meal and focus on the different tastes—push yourself to discern and identify the specific ingredients, spices and textures.


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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