MBTI Step II Questioning Facet: In-Preference and Out-of-Preference
If you missed the first blog in this series, check out the overview here. Or you can watch this video that covers all 20 MBTI Step II facets.
As I mentioned previously, we're going to cover the Thinking-Feeling facets first starting with Questioning and Accommodating. This facet in particular deals with how a person responds to differences in a point of view. Questioning in-preference can come off as a bit harsh at times. I tell a story in my MBTI® Certification Program about a participant who started every question with the phrase “But you said…” while holding up her index finger. When I brought this to her attention, she denied that she asked questions that way but then looked around the room to see others confirming that this was true. With some coaching from other participants, she learned to ask questions another way. She now starts them like this: “Help me understand….”
Another participant tapped—and at times pounded her fist—on the table as she asked questions (I learned to stop jumping after the first few times this happened). Again, this person was not even aware of it, but when we brought it up she caught herself as she asked her next question. Just bringing this behavior to her attention helped her see that asking questions this way may not be getting her the answers she wants and needs.
Out-of-preference Questioning behavior often looks a bit different. Have you ever noticed how some people ask a question in an apologetic way? They look like they’re sorry they’re asking the question but can’t help but ask it. I sometimes ask these people whether they have been given feedback from others that they ask too many questions and, if so, how that makes them feel. Typically, they say yes, and that they feel like they're being a burden. So for them, asking questions feels uncomfortable. And yet, they still need to ask their question.
I remind them that asking questions is a valuable way for them to make decisions but that this inconsistency in behavior (people with a preference for Feeling tend to report on the Accommodating side of the facet) can lead to confusion and even mistrust from others.
People with midzone results on Questioning–Accommodating tend to ask lots of questions on topics that are of particular interest to them but fewer to none in areas that are not as interesting. They might also ask their questions more carefully so as not to offend the other person, but have difficulty not asking if they need the information to make a decision. Data shows that these people in the midzone will likely move to the Accommodating side as they get older. (See MBTI® Step II™ User’s Guide, p. 18.)
Remember, Feeling behavior tends toward harmony and consideration of others. Colleagues and friends may feel like they have been set up when someone who reports Feeling starts coming at them with Questioning behavior.
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Next: I will share some thoughts on Accommodating—the other side of this interesting facet.