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Thinking and Feeling: “Flash, I love you… but “

This was the dilemma that Dale Arden has in the 1980 film Flash Gordon. It may not sound like this line from the cult movie has relevance to our everyday work, but guess what… it does.


And so we discuss here; when we need to make a decision do we focus on human relationships and feelings, or do we focus on the task at hand and objective reasoning?


For some the rationale behind a decision lies in the objective fact, asking “does it do the job”, “is this the best formal and mathematically or scientifically correct answer”.

Jung's Thinking decision making style

Jung’s Thinking decision making style

These people have what Jung called a thinking preference and often appear to be formal, analytical, strong-minded and detached.

In the Insights Discovery ® colour terms they have high Fiery RED and/or Cool BLUE energy and are at their best when able to critique and discuss from an impersonal stance.


Jung's Feeling decision making style

Jung’s Feeling decision making style

For others the rationale behind decisions lies in subjective criteria, asking “do I like it”, “how does this affect people’s feeling and emotions”, “does it comply with my/our value structure”.

These people have what Jung called a feeling preference and often appear to be informal, caring, accommodating, and harmonious.

In the Insights colour terms they have high Earth GREEN and/or Sunshine YELLOW energy and are at their best when able to critique and discuss socially and in a way that creates bridges with other people.


Jung said, “Thinking, roughly speaking, tells us what is. Feeling tells you whether it is agreeable or not, to be accepted or not.” (Jung on Elementary Psychology Richard Evans, 1964)


We all access these conflicting elements when we make decisions. For some we instinctively balance the two styles skillfully, although most of us are perhaps more one sided than we care to admit; especially under stress!

These different approaches cause misunderstanding and splits between people and teams. Judgments about others’ thinking and behaviour are made. For example, again quoting Flash Gordon…

Zarkov: We are only interested in friendship. Why do you attack us?


Ming: Why not??










Seen by the opposite those with a thinking preference are seen as; cold, calculating, mercenary, up-tight, uncaring, and un-emotional. And those with a feeling preference as; soft, weak-willed, not serious, woolly, and emotional.

More positively we can list the characteristics as follows:

  • Thinking: Formal, detached, objective, task focused
  • Feeling: Informal, involved, subjective, relationship focused

Whatever the preference within teams, as within ourselves, we need to be mindful of both.

Thinking drives our task achievement while feeling directs our moral compass. Obviously in Dale’s situation time was short and the task pretty compelling, and this can be the case at work. But similarly the relationship approach may be more effective. The situation, the bigger context, and the people involved should all be considered.
So our advice is to understand, value and use the strengths of the different approaches, be aware of your own and others’ preferences and do your best to meet the needs of both types at work.


If your colleagues and/or situation need more Thinking (Blue/ Red)

  • Stick to the facts
  • Keep emotions out of the issue
  • Don’t exaggerate
  • Only say things that you can prove

If your colleagues and/or situation need more Feeling (Green/ Yellow)

  • Ask don’t tell
  • Use names and refer to people
  • Say why; put facts in a context
  •  Show you are listening and be open in words and gestures

In conclusion; always seek to understand and not judge. Take responsibility for your own reaction to situations and behaviour and try to affect it positively!

From the MRD Team


“It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves.”
Carl G Jung

“I got different strokes for different folks”
Cassius Clay, 1966


M R Dynamics is licensed to work with the Insights Discovery ® Portfolio; helping our clients achieve their goals for over 15 years with fantastic results.

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