Thanksgiving 2020

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So. Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving celebrations this year are going to be different for many of us. The bigger the celebration in the past, the more different it is going to be.

The pandemic has forced us to do many things differently. For example, I no longer facilitate leadership workshops in person. I am now fluent in Zoom.

I am grateful that many of my clients have decided to move to a virtual format because I like working, eating, and paying my electric bill. However, I resisted the idea at first. How could I possibly recreate the in-person experience?

News flash! I can’t. I cannot make it the same. However, I did make it good. Different isn’t always bad.

We still start with an ice breaker exercise to get everyone communicating and in a positive mood. Now we answer questions using markers and blank paper. We hold up our answers for everyone to see. It’s fun! I love reading everyone’s responses and learning more about each person.

The group doesn’t get to visit at breaks the way that they did when we met in person, but they still get lots of opportunities to talk with one another. I talk less and let them talk in breakout rooms a lot more.

One of my most brilliant ideas was to send each participant a welcome box that contains the handouts and other items they need for the exercises that we do. They get Play-Doh and kazoos because there is no reason why we can’t continue to learn and have fun.

Some things I do the same. Others, I adjust. Some are newly created. The change in format motivated me to evaluate things I’ve done for more than a decade. It was a gift that got me to be more creative than I’ve been in years.

We can look at Thanksgiving in the same way. It’s not going to be the same, but it can still be good! With a little creativity and the wonders of modern technology, we can still celebrate and be grateful.

College kids and grandparents can read stories via Zoom, Skype or FaceTime to children whose parents are busy fixing a meal.

Taking turns sharing stories on various topics would be fun. I’d like to hear stories from my sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren about the time that they had the most fun in water, what skills they are proud of, and the most memorable trip they ever took.

If memorable doesn’t have to mean fun, I’m pretty sure my sons would tell about the time they went to sleep on a sofa bed that was covered with hundreds of ticks. That was memorable – and funny now that enough time has passed.

A family show-and-tell or art show would also be fun!

I’d also like the chance to tell people what I appreciate about them. I’d like to hear what they appreciate about me. Deeper conversations can happen with a little prompting. It’s an easier thing to manage when it’s done in a virtual format.

We just have to let go of insisting that Thanksgiving must be the same in order to be good. In fact, it can be different – and wonderful.


For a little bit of fun leadership development, join 53 Leadership Challenges at KathyStoddardTorrey.com.

Want to go further with your professional development? Check out the courses offered at PositiveEffectLeadership.com.

If you are interested in taking your career to the next level quickly, contact me for a sample coaching session at KSTorrey@tapferconsulting.com.

 

Kindness Matters

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November 13 was World Kindness Day. The various posts about kindness reminded me that kindness is an essential leadership quality.

Leaders often push back at the idea that kindness matters. They say, “I don’t have to be kind. I’m not their best friend!” True, we definitely should not be an employee’s best friend.

However, we don’t have to be someone’s friend to be kind to them. Holding high standards for someone while being respectful is expecting excellence while showing kindness.

Parenting is a good example. As children grow up, parents maintain high expectations and standards for them. There are consequences if the children don’t live up to those standards. The parents aren’t helping the children by letting them get away with less than their best. Parents deeply want their children to be successful.

That’s the same perspective we want to have with employees. We care about them and their success, so we set clear expectations and standards. Then we hold them to those standards. Being kind doesn’t make us a pushover.

Sometimes it helps to imagine how we would want someone to talk to us about one of our mistakes or less-than-perfect performance. Would we respond best to someone intent on making us feel bad about our poor performance?

We would not. Shaming can be an effective short-term motivator, but it doesn’t inspire ongoing excellence. We want our employees to be successful. Our success as leaders depends on the success of the people who work with us.

One of our primary goals as leaders is to create positive relationships and create personal influence. Both of those things are really impossible to create unless we are kind to people.


For a little bit of fun leadership development, join 53 Leadership Challenges at KathyStoddardTorrey.com.

Want to go further with your professional development? Check out the courses offered at PositiveEffectLeadership.com.

If you are interested in taking your career to the next level quickly, contact me for a sample coaching session at KSTorrey@tapferconsulting.com.

 

State a Positive Need

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It’s not uncommon for us to complain about things. Humans are hardwired to notice and remember things that they see as wrong.

Sometimes we see something that isn’t efficient enough or an action that challenges our value system. Maybe someone’s thoughtlessness sets us off.

Complaining is natural – and not terribly useful.

If we are having a disagreement and I only tell you what’s annoying me, you have to guess at what would make me happy. It’s not the most efficient way to resolve a disagreement.

Most of life works better if we state a positive need, rather than just our complaint. For example, we can complain about the way someone writes a report or loads the dishwasher – or we can show an example of a well-written report or demonstrate the way we’d like the dishwasher loaded.

In workshops, I give the group a simple map and then tell them which turns not to take as they plot a course. They rarely get from the start to the finish when I only tell them what not to do.

Once I give explicit directions, tell them exactly when to turn and in which direction, they get to the finish easily. We can’t just tell people what not to do; we must tell them what “right” looks like.

In fact, many leaders insist that employees state a positive need. When someone comes into their office complaining about something, the leader asks for a solution. Everyone learns to create a possible solution before lodging a complaint.

It’s also important for leaders to model the behavior. Unfortunately, many leaders don’t take the time to figure out and share what the ideal situation looks like.

They just tell their employees when they aren’t doing it right, which leads to frustration on both sides. We must clearly define what success looks like and then help people achieve it.


For a little bit of fun leadership development, join 53 Leadership Challenges at KathyStoddardTorrey.com.

Want to go further with your professional development? Check out the courses offered at PositiveEffectLeadership.com.

If you are interested in taking your career to the next level quickly, contact me for a sample coaching session at KSTorrey@tapferconsulting.com.

 

Remember the Feeling

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It seems that motivation is pretty thin on the ground for a lot of people right now – myself included! It’s time to pull out a trick from the leadership bag.

One of my goals is to clean the kitchen each evening before I go to bed. Lately, I haven’t been doing such a great job.

I just can’t find the motivation to get myself up off the sofa and do the dinner dishes. It really doesn’t take very long, but it’s the starting that seems beyond me.

When I do get the kitchen sink shiny in the evening, it’s great to walk into the kitchen in the morning. It’s all clean, and everything is ready to go. I don’t have to clear the sink or move things around. I can hit the ground running.

Walking into a clean and orderly kitchen is wonderful. I feel like I’m already winning the day. I am proud of myself for doing the hard task the night before, and I save a lot of time. The first task of the day isn’t an uphill climb to the coffee maker.

It’s important to fully embody the fabulous feeling of being greeted by a sparkling kitchen – really pay attention to where I feel it in my body. The goal is to be able to recreate it on command.

The trick is to call up the feeling when I’m sitting on the sofa in the evening and inertia has me in its grip. I close my eyes and remember the feeling I get when I walk into a clean and shiny kitchen in the morning.

That feeling of accomplishment is very strong. I want to recreate it. It’s such a great way to start the day. Remembering the feeling is a great motivator.

Running can create a runner’s high that the runner wants to experience again and again. In the same way, the positive feeling that Future Kathy gets when Past Kathy does the dishes can be a little addictive – and something we can use to our advantage.

Waking to a clean kitchen is just one example. It could be the great feeling of getting a report in on time or being fully prepared for a negotiation. It could be the awesome freedom during the weekend if you get your blog written early.

The trick is to remember the feeling of success and focus on it fully. If the feeling is strong enough, motivation to do the task will follow.


For a little bit of fun leadership development, join 53 Leadership Challenges at KathyStoddardTorrey.com.

Want to go further with your professional development? Check out the courses offered at PositiveEffectLeadership.com.

If you are interested in taking your career to the next level quickly, contact me for a sample coaching session at KSTorrey@tapferconsulting.com.

 

Absolute Candor

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I’ve been rewatching the new Picard series – which will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me. I am a Star Trek: The Next Generation fan, and I love Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

In this new series, I am particularly taken by a group of Romulan warrior nuns called the Qowat Milat. Don’t worry! You don’t have to understand anything in the last sentence to get value from the rest of the blog. (But how awesome is a group of Romulan warrior nuns who only bind their sword to lost causes?!)

What I really like about the Qowat Milat is that they live “The Way of Absolute Candor.” They believe in “total communication of emotion without filter between thought and word.” Wow! Can you imagine what life would be like if we all practiced absolute candor?

We wouldn’t have to guess any more about whether or not someone was angry with us. If they were upset, they’d just say, “I’m upset about this.” We’d know immediately if it was something that we said or the fact that we are out of orange juice.

If we were hurt by someone’s comment, we’d just tell them. I recently had someone that I pay money to for consulting say to me, “I don’t know why you’d ask that question.” I did not tell this person that they had pissed me off, were not fostering psychological safety, and needed a refresher course in delivering customer service that delights.

I swallowed my anger and went on with the discussion. In truth, I didn’t do either of us any favors in the long run. We continue to work together, and I do not like this person. I did not give them a chance to see how their behavior was perceived. I never opened the door to the opportunity of repairing the relationship because the other person had no idea that there was a problem.

How one practices absolute candor would be key. In Picard, two members of a small crew hook up one night. There is some awkward tension between them the next morning. The character who practices absolute candor said, “The obvious tension between you makes me uneasy.” It was said in a calm and nonjudgmental way. Brilliant!

In systems coaching, we call that “naming the emotional field.” As a coach, we name the emotions that we sense are present during a discussion or workshop.

I had a difficult time with this technique in the beginning because I had never paid attention to the emotional field before – or my own feelings. I just kind of kept going a step at a time, relying on logic alone.

Naming the emotional field is a powerful tool. During a discussion, it gets everyone to pause and check in with how they are feeling about what is going on.

The feeling part of a discussion is just as critical as the fact part. When we all start to ask why we feel a certain way, we generally open the vault on a bunch of new and relevant facts.

When first hearing about the Qowat Milat, one of the characters says, “Anyone else think the Way of Absolute Candor sounds potentially annoying?” I agree.

If we all ran around commenting on every feeling, the world could become an annoying place. I’m not sure I want to hear everyone’s emotions about the food they eat, the clothes someone is wearing, or my love of Star Trek: The Next Generation characters.

However, the world would be a less tentative and tension-filled place if we calmy shared how we feel in situations that are important and with people who matter.


For a little bit of fun leadership development, join 53 Leadership Challenges at KathyStoddardTorrey.com.

Want to go further with your professional development? Check out the courses offered at PositiveEffectLeadership.com.

If you are interested in taking your career to the next level quickly, contact me for a sample coaching session at KSTorrey@tapferconsulting.com.

 

Find the Bright Spots

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“Finding the Bright Spots” is one of my favorite concepts, and it comes from the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Dan and Chip Heath. In one chapter, the authors tell the story of a young man charged with reducing the number of malnourished children in Vietnam.

The young man had little money and no power to deal with things like poor sanitation and poverty. Instead, he looked for the Bright Spots; he looked for children who weren’t malnourished.

He found some! Those children’s mothers served the children’s daily allotment of rice in smaller portions. When a person is malnourished, they digest smaller amounts of food better than larger servings. They also added a bit of protein by seining for brine shrimp in the rice paddies. Finally, they included the leaves of sweet potatoes in their children’s diet.

These were easy things that most parents could do. He then had the moms teach each other these techniques. At the end of six months, 65% of the children were better nourished.

We don’t need to start from scratch very often to solve a problem. Most of the time, someone has already solved it for us.

Is one team having a problem keeping up with reporting requirements? Find the team that isn’t struggling, and see how they do it. Are you having trouble motivating your employees? Locate someone who has an enthusiastic team, and find out why.

Bright Spots are proven methods. We know that they work and that they can be done.

If you think about it, hunting for a recipe online is looking for a Bright Spot! Someone else has already figured out how to cook spaghetti squash, and you benefit from his or her experience. Parenting, communication, conflict, and motivating others have all been figured out by someone else.

Heck! There are YouTube videos that will show you how to put on tights and trim your beard, although not at the same time.

There is usually a variety of solutions to choose from. We can pick and choose which appeals to us the most and give it a shot. Even if the Bright Spot isn’t exactly what we need, it gives us a good place to start.


For a little bit of fun leadership development, join 53 Leadership Challenges at KathyStoddardTorrey.com.

Want to go further with your professional development? Check out the courses offered at PositiveEffectLeadership.com.

If you are interested in taking your career to the next level quickly, contact me for a sample coaching session at KSTorrey@tapferconsulting.com.

 

Do One Thing

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When I was a young mom with young children, I struggled to keep our home neat and clean. The sinks in the bathrooms would get mold of some color or scale around the base of the faucets. I hated to drop anything around the toilet. Yuk! The kitchen was usually cleaner but very cluttered. And there were toys everywhere.

When I did clean, it was with fervor. When I cleaned the bathroom it was an event – and exhausting. I used an arsenal of chemicals, brushes, sponges, and even toothpicks. When I was done the entire thing sparkled.

I finally got things under control by following the advice of FlyLady and using a system to get the kids’ help in The Messies Manual: The Procrastinator’s Guide to Good Housekeeping. However, there is one practice I use now that I don’t think I got from either of them.

I honestly don’t remember when I started doing this one thing or where I got the idea. If you recognize it as someone’s signature concept, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.

The one thing is to do one thing. If I see one thing that needs to be done, I just take a minute and do that one thing. For example, if I notice that a windowsill is dusty, I grab a damp paper towel and wipe it off.

In the past, I’d have seen the dusty windowsill, been bothered by it, but ignored it until I found the time to clean the window, the blinds, and the windowsill. Everything was a project in my mind that had to be done to perfection. If I didn’t have time to do it all perfectly, it went on the rather long list of projects.

The idea is to Do One Thing that needs to be done. If you see it, take care of it. If you see three, do the one that bugs you the most, and come back to the others later. The key is that the worst things are getting taken care of immediately and quickly. It’s easy! It’s amazing what you can get done in less than five minutes.

Now if I see one dusty baseboard, I wipe off that one. I don’t run through the house cleaning them all. If a blind looks dirty, I do a few slats at a time when I take work breaks. Nothing is ever perfect all at the same time, but everything is pretty good most of the time.

Of course, if we Do One Thing all the time and ignore the strategic actions that move us toward big goals, we’ve missed the point. It’s about doing small things that need to be done in small amounts of time between the bigger actions with deadlines that support big successes.

So what are the leadership lessons here? For you knew there must be one if I’m writing about it in my blog.

Actually, there are a couple of ideas to take away from the concept of Do One Thing. First, perfection is an enemy. You can read about that here.

Second, leaders often step over small things that need to be done because they are pushed for time or think it’s not that important. I’m not talking about things like ordering paper for the copier. That is not generally a leader’s job. However, noticing that paper is low and sending the person in charge of paper a note is a hugely important small task.

(As I wrote out that example, I realized that it’s a pre-COVID-19 concept. Many of us are not in offices, and paper isn’t the essential item that it used to be, but you get the idea.)

The one thing that leaders could do in a moment or two – and get a huge benefit from – is connecting with the people that they work with. Many leaders feel that “chit chat” is a waste of time. It absolutely is not.

We need relationships to reach our most productive autonomic nervous state, the ventral vagal state. You can read about it here. That means that if we want everyone on our team to be creative, positive, and broad-minded, we want to ensure that they have some positive human interaction.

We also need to ensure that we, as leaders, have the relationships and connections that help us stay open-minded and good at problem-solving.

Small conversations also help to build the trust necessary for psychological safety, which is the essential ingredient for exceptional teams and performance. You can read about psychological safety here.

The biggest bang for a leader’s time buck is actively listening to someone for a few minutes – asking how things are going and paying attention to the answer.

Of course, it never hurts to take a minute and organize our workspaces or do a bit of stretching. The main thing to remember about Do One Thing is that it moves us forward, toward goals both big and small – even if it is a tiny baby step forward.


For a little bit of fun leadership development, join 53 Leadership Challenges at KathyStoddardTorrey.com.

Want to go further with your professional development? Check out the courses offered at PositiveEffectLeadership.com.

If you are interested in taking your career to the next level quickly, contact me for a sample coaching session at KSTorrey@tapferconsulting.com.

 

Behavior Is a Form of Communication

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In leadership seminars, I talk about the three types of communication – verbal, nonverbal, and symbolic. You can read about these three types here. I am ready to add another category.

My daughter-in-law and I are both working from home and hear snippets of each other’s Zoom meetings as we both care for my grandson. She works with special needs kids and talks to their parents regularly. One day she explained to a parent of a nonverbal child that behavior is communication.

Of course, it makes total sense. If any child is unhappy, they have a myriad of ways to let us know. My grandson is about seven months old. Although he doesn’t talk yet, we get clear indicators of how he feels about things.

He can’t tell us exactly what is bothering him, but we know something is! And we are pretty good at figuring out what that is.

I started thinking about how the concept applies to adults and leadership. Adults also communicate with their behavior. Nonverbal signals like eye-rolling and heavy sighs tell us how someone feels. However, I’m talking about actions – things that we do.

I’ve never been one to trust the words that someone says right off the bat. I learned as a young woman talking to hormone-ravaged males that some of them could talk a really good game in an effort to reach their end goals. I recognized them for what they were – words. They were saying things that they didn’t really mean.

It’s hard to know if someone means what they say. The only way I’ve figured out is to watch their actions. And not just what they do in the short term. I like to pay attention to what someone does for a significant period of time.

In my youth, I had a six-month watching period. If a suitor publicly announced his undying devotion and stuck with it for six months, he was due serious consideration. Not many passed the test.

Consciously or not, we put leaders through the same sort of scrutiny. We watch to see if they walk the talk. If they say something is important, do their actions back that up?

Unfortunately, many leaders and cultures say one thing is important, but they reward a different behavior. For example, many organizations talk about teamwork and the importance of being truthful with customers about expectations. In truth, they reward money-making efforts – even if they damage team morale or include undoable promises to customers.

As leaders, we must be aware that our behavior is communicating information to others. If I am chronically late to meetings, I am telling you that my time is more valuable than yours. If I say that employees are our most important resource but don’t listen to them when they try to share an idea, I am negating the verbal message.

When a nonverbal and verbal message do not match, we go with the nonverbal message. For example, if I sigh heavily and look bored while saying, “This is so much fun,” you are going to ignore the words and know that I’m not really enjoying myself.

It’s similar with behaviors, although it might not happen as quickly. We immediately know when a verbal and nonverbal message don’t match. Figuring out that someone is not behaving in alignment with their words can take longer because we normally give people the benefit of the doubt for a bit.

However, there comes a point when we have to ask ourselves if the words are just a smokescreen for behavior that sends an entirely different message. If a leader says that values are important, but they cut corners or lie, we must question how serious they truly are about the values thing.

As leaders, in order to build the trust necessary for psychological safety (which is a necessary ingredient for exceptional team performance) we must ensure that what we do consistently lines up with what we say.


For a little bit of fun leadership development, join 53 Leadership Challenges at KathyStoddardTorrey.com.

Want to go further with your professional development? Check out the courses offered at PositiveEffectLeadership.com.

If you are interested in taking your career to the next level quickly, contact me for a sample coaching session at KSTorrey@tapferconsulting.com.

 

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Judging-Perceiving Scale

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We’ve been discussing the MBTI. We talked about the history and overview of the instrument and then the important considerations of the Extrovert-Introvert scale, which describes how we get our energy. We talked about the Sensing-Intuitive scale, which describes how we perceive the world. Last week, we discussed the Thinking-Feeling scale, which describes the values that we use to judge the world. Now let’s talk about the Judging-Perceiving scale, which is the final defining dichotomy of the MBTI. The J-P scale describes how we deal with the outside world.

Perceiving Types (P’s) like to keep their options open. Appointment times are windows of opportunity. Flexibility and spontaneity are the watchwords of the Perceiving types. They like to start projects and explore options but aren’t fired up about making a final decision. They like to go with the flow and change plans as the situation changes. Time is a fluid concept, and deadlines are elastic.

Unless P’s are careful, they can find themselves trapped under piles of unfinished projects. One can only research and explore options for so long before they have to move forward and make a decision. P’s don’t like to finish because then they’ve lost all their options. The hallmark of a P is continuing to think about other ways a thing could be done after they have submitted their final answer.

P’s have a tendency to procrastinate. Procrastination is a form of last-minute motivation that doesn’t always allow P’s time to put their best foot forward. However, it’s just a preference, not a label for all eternity. P’s can adopt behavior outside their preference and use it when it is appropriate. Society expects a lot of Judging Type behavior – especially at work.

J’s like order and are punctual. Predictability and order are the Judging type’s code. They like to finish projects. J’s like lists and like to check things off of their lists. If a J does something that is not on their list, they will write it on the list so they can then check it off. J’s get a sense of relief when a project is complete, and once it is complete they don’t think about it anymore.

J’s sock drawers are often organized in some way. J’s plan ahead so that they don’t have to experience the stress of accomplishing something at the last minute.

P’s and J’s can drive each other crazy. P’s feel tension as their options become more limited and they have to make a decision. J’s feel tension until the decision is made. So, in effect, the two types fight against each other. The Judging types want the decision over and done with. The Perceiving types don’t want to decide because then they are out of options.

Actually, the two styles can complement each other in the same way that S-N and T-F do. When the two types work together, they make better and/or quicker decisions than they would make on their own. P’s ensure that all options are explored, and J’s ensure that a decision is made in a reasonable amount of time. Of course, there is a certain amount of tension, but we all just have to keep reminding ourselves of the value of two perspectives.


For a little bit of fun leadership development, join 53 Leadership Challenges at KathyStoddardTorrey.com.

Want to go further with your professional development? Check out the courses offered at PositiveEffectLeadership.com.

If you are interested in taking your career to the next level quickly, contact me for a sample coaching session at KSTorrey@tapferconsulting.com.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Thinking-Feeling Scale

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We’ve been discussing the MBTI. We talked about the history and overview of the instrument and then the important considerations of the Extrovert-Introvert scale. Last week, we talked about the Sensing-Intuitive scale, which describes how we perceive the world. Now, let’s discuss the Thinking-Feeling scale, which describes the values that we use to judge the world.

Thinking types (T’s) are rational and logical. In their minds, fair decisions are consistent and take the circumstances into account. T’s will maintain principles of fairness, even if it means losing a relationship. T’s believe that it’s important to be honest and aren’t always tactful.

T’s are logical and fair-minded. They value consistency and consider it more important to be truthful than tactful. T’s tend to discount someone’s feelings if they can’t back them up with logic. They like to be known for their accomplishments.

Feeling types (F’s) place emphasis on harmony and relationships. A person’s individual situation must be taken into account when making a decision. F’s feel that harmony and relationships are more important than arbitrary judgments of what is “right.”

F’s always consider the effect of an action on others. They are empathetic and value harmony. They like to please others, and they show their appreciation easily. F’s believe that feelings are valid; it doesn’t matter if they make sense or not. Relationships are more important than rules.

F’s can bring some important insights to a decision. It is okay to sometimes bend the rules for someone. Showing mercy and humanity can go a long way to create efficient working relationships.

Differences in the T-F scale can lead to serious disagreements. T’s and F’s use completely different criteria to make decisions.

F’s sometimes see T’s as heartless freight trains roaring down on them. A T’s blunt style can seem rude and hurtful to an F. An F can see a T as insensitive and uncaring. It’s important for leaders with a Thinking preference to remember how their actions and decisions might look from an F perspective. Although it will feel uncomfortable for them, T’s also need to address the feeling part of the situations that they face with others.

T’s sometimes see F’s as overemotional and illogical. The fact that F’s take everyone’s needs into account can make them look weak to a T. T’s feel strongly that being fair and following the rules is the best way for them to help people. It’s important for leaders with a Feeling preference to remember that T’s aren’t callously ignoring individual needs.

F’s also need to maintain some consistency around rules. I had a boss once who could not take any sort of discord. As a result, he told each person exactly what they wanted to hear, even if the requests conflicted. It made for a very confusing work environment because the way we did things was constantly changing.

Neither preference is right or wrong. They are just different. Good leaders can use both Thinking and Feeling skills.

In workshops, I split the group into T’s and F’s. I give them the following challenge and ask them to come up with solutions: Your child is on a Little League baseball team. They’ve won the championship and are going to Japan for the next level of competition. The problem is that there are 15 kids on the team and only 12 can go.

The T’s generally come up with very objective, measurable criteria. They list things like highest earned run average, fewest errors, least number of missed practices. They set fair criteria and are ready to let the three who come out on the bottom of the list stay at home.

The F’s, on the other hand, cannot stand to leave anyone out. I haven’t had a group yet that didn’t decide to have fundraisers to ensure that everyone gets to go. Harmony and relationships are what is important to most Feeling types.

The T-F scale is the only one that can be predicted by gender. There are more female F’s and more male T’s. We are socialized that way. Females are brought up to be nurturing and to maintain harmony. I am one of the minority. I am a female T, and that often results in me being labeled a big “B,” if you know what I mean.

Here is a good place to point out that it isn’t always easy to decide on someone’s type by watching their actions. I am a Thinking type, and I was a volunteer leader in the military community for about 20 years. My first inclination, as a T, is to go into a meeting, state what needs to be done, and dismiss everyone. My mostly female volunteer cohorts didn’t take kindly to that kind of behavior. If Feeling type volunteers don’t get the relationships and harmony that they crave, they tend to leave.

So I learned to leave some time at the beginning and end of the meeting for some chatting. I would introduce a topic and then ask each person how they felt about it. After that, we would compromise our way to a decision. Everyone bought into the end result because they were a part of the process. It was a way better way to interact with the group that required me to move away from my Thinking preference and toward a more Feeling approach.

Great leaders can move up and down the scale as needed to bring out the best in their team or organization.


For a little bit of fun leadership development, join 53 Leadership Challenges at KathyStoddardTorrey.com.

Want to go further with your professional development? Check out the courses offered at PositiveEffectLeadership.com.

If you are interested in taking your career to the next level quickly, contact me for a sample coaching session at KSTorrey@tapferconsulting.com.