INFJ in the Workplace
INFJs have pretty tall demands when it comes to a satisfying work environment. Not only does this personality type need to be able to express their creativity and insight, INFJs need to know that what they are doing has meaning, helps people, leads to personal growth and, all the while, is in line with their values, principles and beliefs.
Oftentimes the best way for INFJs to achieve this is to not have to answer to others’ rules at all – to be their own boss, neither above nor below anyone else, just directly interacting with the people and ideas that are important to them. All that being said, INFJs are a clever and inspired group, and with a few of the right conditions, most any position can be made to work.
As subordinates, INFJs are likely to chafe under hardline rules, formal hierarchies and routine tasks. People with the INFJ personality type value diplomacy and sensitivity, and the more democratic and personal their manager’s style is, and the more they feel their independence and input are valued, the happier they’ll be. INFJs act on their convictions, so when they do something, it’s something that has meaning to them – if those actions come under criticism, even justified complaints, but especially unwarranted ones, their morale is likely to tank spectacularly.
A manager’s values need to be naturally aligned with their INFJ subordinates for both parties to be most effective. Though usually idealistic, if they feel in conflict, INFJs can lose touch with that sense and end up all too bitter. But if it’s a balance they can handle, with a little encouragement every now and then, INFJs will be hardworking, trustworthy, and more than capable of handling their responsibilities and professional relationships.
As colleagues, INFJs are likely to become quite popular, being seen as positive, eloquent and capable friends, identifying others’ motives and defusing conflicts and tension before anyone else even senses a disturbance. INFJs are likely to prioritize harmony and cooperation over ruthless efficiency, encouraging a good, hardworking atmosphere and helping others when needed. While this is usually a strength, there is a risk that others will take advantage of INFJs’ commitment to their responsibilities by simply shifting their burdens onto their more dedicated INFJ colleagues’ desks.
It should also be remembered that at the end of the day, INFJs are still Introverts (I), and their popularity isn’t always welcome – they will need to step back and act the lone wolf from time to time, pursuing their own goals in their own ways. An unhealthy version of this tendency may pop up if INFJs sense that their values are being compromised by a more ethically relaxed colleague.
As managers, INFJs are often reluctant in exercising their authority, preferring to see their subordinates as equals, coordinating and supervising people, leaving the technical systems and factual details to more capable hands, and working hard to inspire and motivate, not to crack the whip. That’s not to say that people with the INFJ personality type have lax standards – far from it – as INFJs’ sense of equality means that they expect their subordinates to be as competent, motivated and reliable as the INFJs themselves.
Though sensitive, understanding, principled and just, able to appreciate individual styles and to make accurate judgments about others’ motivations, if a subordinate’s actions or attitude undermines INFJs’ ethics or values, they well find little comfort in these qualities. INFJs have no tolerance for lapses in reliability or morality. But, so long as no such lapse occurs, INFJs will work tirelessly to ensure that their subordinates feel valued and happy.