Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fi in the 1st (Hero) Position

Introverted Feeling (Fi) for me was the most confusing function to figure out on my own. This was also the function that when finally explained to me in detail made my life “make sense”. It is this function that often times remains hidden behind something else and yet it is this function that truly makes me who I am. It is also this function that is so difficult to explain because I believe that more than any other function this one is the most difficult to talk about. This function is all about my core values. Another way to think about Fi and how I use it comes from Popeye, “I am what I am.” To me this makes absolute sense and I never understood why people had such a hard time understanding me. I thought my values were plain to see since I did not think that I hid them. Unfortunately this was really not the case. It was not until I understood more about this function and its place in my life that I started to understand why I am such an enigma to some. I discovered that Introverted Feeling likes to remain hidden (or more precisely protected) behind other functions so what I tend to show others is something else completely. This usually for me consists of my auxiliary (good parent) function Extraverted iNtuition or my tertiary (animus) function Extraverted Thinking.

Dr Beebe describes this function with the term “evaluating”. Fi is like a filter through which decisions are made. When using Fi everything is evaluated through the lens of the values, ethics, and principles of the individual. I often say to people when I teach leadership “if the decision is legal, moral and ethical it is probably a good decision”. If those values are met in the decision then the decision can go forward. But if in the process of evaluating the decision the values of the individual are compromised then the decision becomes a stumbling block. For me with this function in my hero archetypal position this can literally be a wall that is insurmountable. Or more precisely this compromising of my values and principles can be the line in the sand that I WILL NOT CROSS.

When growing up I discovered that once in a great while there was a point in a discussion or argument that I could become exceedingly angry and throughout my life and especially as an adult I fought often with myself to not allow this point to be reached. I was literally afraid of my anger. When I would get to this line in the sand, more often than not, I would literally shut down, walk away, go to my office, or get away from the person and internalize the fight where I could control it and manage my anger. I made it a point to never confront the individual until I had a nights sleep if I was able to do so. This allowed me to come back under control and actually change how I presented my case and almost always from a different function. Typically the new argument would come from the logic of Extraverted Thinking or the multiple possibilities of Extraverted iNtuition to get the individual to see my point. Arguing from the Fi function doesn’t work very often and leaves me vulnerable. I think that “Falling on one’s sword” with your boss or associates is a decidedly Fi concept.

On the other hand when in charge of an organization I now feel that it was my Introverted Feeling that allowed me to be successful. I believe that this was due to me ability to see that others did and thought differently than I and that was OK with me. To expect everyone to have the same values and thus believe exactly the same as I is a ludicrous concept as we are all individuals. Therefore for an organization to succeed we all have to contribute in our own way and yet within the structure of the organization. Balancing these two needs is done through the climate or culture that is inherent in any organization. The Army called this a Command Climate. A climate or culture that meets the needs of the leader as well as all the others is one of the most powerful team building tools available.

In school the climate that is set by the teacher in the classroom is important for students to feel that they can succeed in the classroom. How do you feel the climate is in your classroom? Which classrooms do you feel most students are given the ability to succeed in? I strongly feel this is also the function that protects an individual from peer pressure. Having strong values, which you are not willing to compromise, provides protection from the need to fit in. It certainly did for me. Have your values protected you from peer pressure? Was it easy? Share an example if you are willing?


  1. Ken, I'm loving this! I plan to come back to it and then possibly discuss it with you. Because I'm an ENFP, your Fi discussion is helpful to me, even though it's in my Helper/Good Parent position. It will be interesting to see how differently Ne looks for you in the Helper/Good Parent position, as it is my Hero. I'm intrigued with how it "looks different" based on position. - sorry, can't see a way to not be anonymous. I don't have a URL, just an email address, so I'll put it here. -- Carol Linden,

  2. Carol Linden


While you may comment anonymously please let me know who you are and/or where you are from so I have an idea how wide spread this Blog has become. Thanks. Ken