Influencing is an important skill for anyone, especially people leaders. In this post, we continue our discussion on Influencing, focusing our attention on how best to address those with the personality style of ‘Feeler’. Let’s be clear again - this isn’t about manipulation. It’s about how delivery of a message is integral to how it’s received. To influence someone with a predominant decision-making style, we can message our communication in a certain way to influence the outcome for a win win. You can listen to us discuss this on our podcast here and/or read more about it below.
Feelers have a preference for basing decisions on their feelings, their values and seeking harmony with others. They’re generally empathetic people who often go along with others for the sake of maintaining the status quo. They appreciate support and encouragement. They like personal connection with co-workers (more so than Thinkers who are all about the task).
You can also refer to our blog post, How To Use The MBTI In Your Professional Development for more on this.
Successful managers don’t just have their own habitual way of operating. Managers looking to expand their skills and repertoire know there are other approaches available to them to use in the right circumstances. Different approaches bring out the best in different individuals. Diversity is important and you must meet people where they are.
People with a preference for Feeling bring out their best work in a harmonious environment. Some personality types can work with dysfunction. However, for Feeling types, it's important for managers to be aware that they won’t get the best out of them until harmony is restored.
Managers who are aware of personality styles and the differences between them, are much better able to deal well with people who think differently. In this way, they can achieve a much better outcome. We tend to assume that because we think something’s a great idea, if we present it in our own way, others will too. However, strategic leaders look at alternative ways to present an argument or an idea so they can draw the broadest buy-in from their audience.
As we mentioned above, harmony is really important for Feelers who want to keep the peace amongst everyone involved in a decision. Sometimes when Feelers are unsure, they understate their position in order to maintain group cohesion. It's important to listen closely for hesitancies or cushioning terms. Feelers use softening objections which may indicate more dislike of an option than they are comfortable communicating openly in the group.
Feelers are ‘people people’ who feel deeply about the impact decisions will have on others. This is front and centre in their mind and this must be considered when trying to influence them. Work out in advance what the ‘people impact’ might be and address the questions Feelers have inside their head. This will put you in a better position to cover off their concerns and gain their support. As soon as you see them nodding, it’s a good indication you're on a similar wavelength. Then you can move through a process a lot more effortlessly.
Because Feelers are values driven, it's important for you going in to understand their non-negotiables. Make sure you’re explicit in articulating your consideration of them and make their values an integral part of your process.
Ensuring you've got buy-in from everyone concerned is key to a happy and successful team. If yours is a group of Thinkers and Feelers and you're not sure who’s who, one strategy is to go around the room inviting everyone for input before closing things off.
As you do this, be aware that harmony-seeking Feelers may not be prepared to fully share the concerns. Feelers dislike letting people down and can avoid telling people unpleasant things. Be mindful of this in a group setting as look for subtle signs. Following up with a private meeting is a good idea and will allow Feelers to air their concerns.
This tip is really important where this personality type is concerned. Feelers crave connection, consensus and collaboration. Using inclusive language like ‘we,’ ‘our’ and ‘us’ will bring them on board. Take time to get to know them and develop rapport because social interaction is an important priority and value for Feelers. People with a preference for Feeling like to be appreciated and love to receive validation for a job well done. Acknowledging and appreciating their ideas will go a long way. Feelers like to know they’ve been heard.
There are lots of instances where we have to influence people’s decisions. Taking into account that people differ in personality type and using different approaches will help you reach consensus much more quickly. Our call to action is to ask you to start to noticing this. We don’t advocate ‘typing’ people but do encourage people leaders to expand their repertoire so that no matter who comes into the room, they’re communicating in a way that has that breadth and depth.
We invite you to pick one tip we've offered here and bring a little bit more focus and awareness into your behavioural style around it. You'll be surprised at what opens up for you. We're really interested in your feedback - it makes our day. So let us know how you go.
Principles take precedence over purpose for a ‘Feeler.’ So how can you influence them effectively?