Thinking Style: What are the Five Thinking Styles?
Thinking style is the way of processing information. It involves organising thoughts, forming views and opinions and applying personal values to solve problems and make decisions to express oneself to others.
We employ different ways of thinking that range from some learners taking a creative approach and others adopting an analytical one. While all learners are different and have unique minds, our tendencies are summed up into five recognised thinking styles: synthesists, idealists, pragmatists, analysts or problem solvers.
- Synthesists: Creative thinkers who tend to be challenging and sceptical. They are able to juggle arguments and form new ideas from conflicts. Synthesists are largely defined by their creative and curious nature, they love to explore more ideas and consider a range of views and possibilities. However, some people perceive them as argumentative, but they can prevent the perception by acknowledging ideas before presenting alternatives. For example, To connect well with synthesists, listen appreciatively to them and do not confuse their argumentative nature with resistance. Once you sit through their theorising, they will sell themselves to you.
- Idealists: This may be a thinking style for you if you respond to others attentively, avoid conflict and focus on the whole. Idealists are goal-setters. Learn about SMART goal setting on our blog. Idealists always work hard toward life goals. And others might look at them as perfectionists but in their way, they simply put their best foot forward. These individuals are future-oriented and value teamwork. While they have their way of working with certain expectations and standards to maintain, others might not match up with their standards. For example, They will always strive for agreement and they feel disappointed when their team doesn’t agree. If you are a person who is unwilling to compromise with others’ perspectives, then they will be reluctant to grant you full authority.
- Pragmatists: These are logical thinkers who look for immediate results. Pragmatists like to experiment and brainstorm. They are also good at convincing others and have a willingness to agree with others’ ideas. They value creativeness and innovation hence don’t like to waste time. Their approach to problem-solving is logical and step-by-step. But they are not interested in the big picture, unlike idealists. While pragmatists get the work done, they can benefit more from reflecting on big ideas. For example, It is advised to emphasise short-term objectives to communicate effectively with pragmatic bosses. Do not overload them with data and an overall plan - it is possible they may get bored.
- Analysts: Known to gather facts and figures; they like being accurate and rational. If someone values accuracy, attention to detail and thrive on data while maintaining lists, valuing rules and breaking problems into parts; this may be your thinking style. These individuals let go of others’ ideas but they should open their minds and look for options. For example, To get analyst bosses on board, you must provide a logical plan with backup data and specifications. Your data should not have any typographical errors, misspelt words or numbers.
- Realists: They like to get the job done and are perfect problem-solvers. Realists do whatever it takes to solve the problem at hand and get bored if life doesn’t offer challenges. They like to go get right at tasks and get them done with more reliance on your senses to know about the world and concepts. They need to take a little more time to gather information and find the best possible solution. It is not always about coming first, it's about being right! For example, Communicating effectively with realist thinker bosses; you need to provide detailed information in a structured manner. To get noticed and become an expert in their eyes you need to make sure you have assembled a store of facts in which they are interested with the set of actions proposed.
Which thinking style works best?
Each thinking style has its significance and its own strengths and weaknesses. You need to understand and accept what works best for you. Adopting others’ thinking style isn’t a choice but by thinking strategically and tweaking your approach you can find efficient solutions to problems. Therefore, know your thinking style and use it to your very best advantage.