How to Maximize the Most Misunderstood and Underutilized Members of Your Team
Feelers are like Rodney Dangerfield. They get no respect.
Every team has Doers, Feelers, and Dreamers on it.
- Doers are driven to finish things.
- Dreamers are driven to start things.
- Feelers prioritize relationships over results.
Feelers don’t finish enough things for Doers and they don’t start enough things for Dreamers. At first blush, they seem weak, but they work hard and value loyalty.
4 ways to maximize the Feelers on your team:
#1 Get a Feeler’s input when forming teams.
Feelers understand what motivates and encourages others. A pure Feeler knows what makes others thrive. But they may not be aggressive enough to put their insights into practice.
Everyone has some insight into people, but feelers understand people best.
#2. Seek a Feeler’s advice when leading change.
Feelers understand the impact of your plans and behaviors on others. I’ll never forget the day a Feeler told me that I was pushy. My initial thought was, “I am not pushy!”
Feelers hate it when Dreamers and Doers say, “Just get it done.”
#3. Seek counsel from Feelers when building environments.
Tell feelers what you want work to feel like and they will help you get there.
#4. Include Feelers when hiring new people.
Feelers have a vision for how people might work together.
4 strengths of Feelers:
- Feelers work hard to meet pressing needs.
- Feelers work well in the moment.
- Feelers thrive when they have a sense of belonging.
- Feelers care how people relate to each other.
4 weaknesses of Feelers:
- Feelers over-commit and struggle to set priorities.
- Feelers want to receive help, but struggle to ask for it. Don’t expect Feelers to be good at delegating.
- Feelers tend to worry.
- Feelers won’t ask people to do hard things.
Tip: Give Feelers a place to belong and define work in terms of meeting needs.
What are some strengths and weaknesses of the Feelers on your team?
Where do Feelers thrive?
Most organisations don’t want feelers – the organisations don’t care what you want work to feel like. Feeling is seen to be a barrier to profit.
Thanks Mitch. I think you’re right. Of course there are many industries where feelers thrive. I wonder if one reason organizations are so stiff and cold is the voice of Feelers is devalued?
Dan, Good post! There is a feeler inside most of us and we tend to ignore that too. Your post is a reminder to not ignore feelers. I remember reading (can’t think of the author right now) that ignoring feelings inside your team is like ignoring music inside Opera. I have noticed feelers in my team to be in tune with the overall stress level on a project.
Thanks Niraj. We all have a Doer, Dreamer, and Feeler inside. We have a first motivation.
You reminded me that a Doer enhances their power by bringing a bit of heart/feeling into their leadership. 🙂
This is another great post. I must be a feeler! 😀 And I would really agree that we often think of them as weak but I think being to feel and relate to others are equally important to maintain a strong and steady team.
Is there an assessment of a doer, feeler, dreamer which is taking cognizance of context? I am a strong “dreamer” and almost as strong a “feeler”. As a “Feeler” , I am a good barometer for “Team Emotion” and “Team Mood”.
As you mentioned many are not good at all the above “Doer, Dreamer, Feeler”, the challenge is becoming good at all the above, having the right tools, mentors, time and effort to make it happen. If we as leaders strive to do your our best every time, “all the time” you can develop a great Team of “all the above”! granted there will always be exceptions, but I think we own this to all the members.
Dan–you mention a “Team of all…” and that is possible if you recognize the value of having individuals with strengths in each of these. I would disagree with your first sentence in that “becoming good at all” is the goal or desire. Of all the tests I’ve had done on myself, I always fall toward the center or balanced position–i.e. I have an X in my Myers-Briggs, I have learned that I have a comfort position though — and that is most evident during times of stress or when an automatic response is warranted. I have a developed ability in 2 of the 3, but for many reasons, I remain stronger in one and that is my “value” that I bring to a team.
Helpful, thank you Dan. Could you make your next two LF about Dreamers and Doers, show insight and helpful tips for all three types?
Thanks Kim, I’ll be exploring this topic in the future. Here are some initial posts that focus more on Doers and Dreamers.
Cracking the Doer-Dreamer-Feeler Code: bit.ly/2oan5QI
How Doers Derail Teams and Halt Progress: bit.ly/2p36h39
5 ways to hack the power triangle: bit.ly/2nYabpA
I value your insights on this topic.
OH! And I forgot this one: How Dreamers Drive Doers to Distraction! bit.ly/2nXtSQE
Is it uncommon to be a mixture of these three traits? I find myself to be, at minimum, a feeler and a dreamer (from my background in analytic philosophy). However, I have a dash of doer in me as well (from my military background). Interestingly, I feel like a powerful combination of these traits is the feeler/doer. Someone who can efficiently and effectively delegate to get the job done but, also cares about and strives to understand and respect each individual on the team.
Have you considered what mixtures of these traits would look like? Both the positive and negative impacts? Just curious 🙂
Thanks Frank. Yes!
I think we are great at one, average at a second, and weak at the third. But, everyone has all three. The possible combinations include:
The other consideration is the situation.
Depending on the situation, most of us are able to tap into the most applicable ability. When a friend is suffering, most of us are able to step into our ‘feeler’ shoes, even if we are primarily doers or dreamers.
It has been my experience that Feelers thrive in the Nonprofit sector. Imagine a volunteer director overseeing the staffing of program delivery with trained volunteers. Feelers are also intuitive and that lends to managing people and health and human service programs nicely. Albeit, Doers and Dreams in upper management guide the ship!
Good morning Dan,
I really enjoy reading your daily posts as they always get me thinking about how I can improve as a leader. When I first started reading your posts about doers / dreamers / feelers dynamics, I “knew” immediately that I was a doer. However, as I read more posts about the characteristics of these three that I am not so sure. Is there a “Myers-Briggs” type of survey / questionnaire that would help to categorize someone into these categories.
Thank you again for always being thought provoking with your posts!
Great post, Dan! I was instantly intrigued with the idea of using ‘feelers’ to help assess and build team culture. So many managers struggle with the act of deliberately creating culture and your post caused me to wonder about the possibility of identifying the feelers in a group and giving them the task of ‘official barometer’ of team culture.
Have you seen this done? Any thoughts on effectiveness?
Thanks Brilliant. The Feeler is, in my opinion, the most misunderstood and under utilized team member. I know a couple of leaders with global impact who are Feelers.
I haven’t thought about official barometers. I do consult Feelers when I’m interested in which people are thriving or struggling.
The other area I consult Feelers is on the impact of my decisions and behaviors.
You could approach one person and begin some unofficial conversations about culture, relationships, and what it takes to bring out the best in someone.
The weakness of many Feelers is they are very reluctant to confront tough issues. Candor isn’t their strong suit. However, transparency is.
The Feelers I’ve observed find it very difficult to ask people to do hard things.
I value any insights you might add to the conversation.
If you try an experiment, please let me know what you learn.
You might consider a one-on-one conversation with some Feelers. What if you ask, “How might you better utilize your skills in our organization?”
Just some thoughts.
With all the strengths and weaknesses this discribes me to a T