7 Workplace Success Tips for Analyst Personality Types

Kyle’s avatar

The Analyst personality types – Architect (INTJ), Logician (INTP), Commander (ENTJ), and Debater (ENTP) – have unique workplace strengths and challenges. The Intuitive and Thinking traits that define this group can make them intellectually adept, supporting great skills and ideas. But these traits rarely prompt much care in how these personalities interact with others. This can be a disadvantage in the decidedly social environment of the workplace.

The best plans and ideas may be ignored if not presented appealingly, and the most capable people may not be properly valued if they’re too difficult to relate to. Finding beneficial ways to express their personalities is part of how Analyst personality types achieve success in the workplace. Here, I’ll draw on my own experiences to share a few tips that can speed up that process.

And to those Analysts who say “Pff, I know this stuff,” I reply: knowing is one thing, doing is another. Also, skip to #7.

Want a cheat sheet to the social side of the workplace? Use our free Workplace Type Guesser and Personality Type Profiles to gain insight into what makes your coworkers tick.

1. Develop Your Own Version of Niceness

Analysts often come off as matter-of-fact, information-focused, or even cheerfully argumentative – none of which is necessarily a bad thing. It’s good to show your sharp mind and capabilities. But no matter how well you represent your thoughts and skills, a certain question will inevitably surface in other people’s minds over time, if only subconsciously – “What’s in it for me?”

Analysts recognize the transactional nature of human interaction more objectively than most personality types do. So it may seem surprising how little effort they typically put into answering their coworkers’ “WIIFM?” impulses with something positive. Making that effort tends to bring about mutual benefits. Some personality types do this by projecting empathetic warmth, but that may not feel natural for many Analysts, and forcing it can feel insincere.

It may be more comfortable – and more effective – to offer people niceness that’s based on your own personality strengths. It can be built on providing practical benefit, supportive action, inspiring optimism, or anything else that makes you great to have around. Just find a need and fill it, noticeably. For example, help when someone is stuck or make sure that valued resources like office supplies and coffee are always in fresh supply. Being nice can take many different forms – whatever will get noticed appreciatively will work.

2. Mind the Risks of Dark Humor

Many people are more emotionally vulnerable and sensitive than Analysts, and edgy humor has caused many a faux pas at work for these personality types. They may not mean to offend, merely assuming that if they think something is funny, other people will too. Subversive or sarcastic humor has its appeal, but where things get sticky is when people react poorly to “Analyst humor” – especially if that prompts Analysts to get defensive or critical.

Just because someone else is offended by your humor doesn’t make it wrong, but neither is it right (or wise, at work) to dismiss that person as being “too sensitive.” They’re allowed their thoughts and feelings, just as you are. Fortunately, it’s possible to assume some responsibility for how you make others feel without betraying your own sensibilities and wit. Just tread with care, and explore the boundaries of your workplace gradually, person by person. Know your audience, and err on the side of caution.

3. Learn, Be Grateful, Repeat

Analyst personalities place a lot of emphasis on their own intelligence and ability, often drawing internal self-worth from and expressing pride for what they know and can do. This can have a positive effect on their workplace persona but isn’t without potential downsides – besides the obvious risk of seeming arrogant. Where Analysts are highly capable, they may intimidate others, and where they’re not, they can seem ignorant and deluded.

One of the greatest marks of intelligence is recognizing your limits. Self-objectivity can help you avoid the dreaded Dunning-Kruger effect and any attendant incompetence. Analysts like to gain knowledge and skill, and eagerness to learn is an appealing quality – especially when confidence and humility go hand in hand. Asking to be taught and expressing gratefulness for the lesson is a great way to connect with others. If you’re seen as unintimidating, it will make you more approachable – and it can also counteract any impression that you’re ignorant or arrogant.

4. Balance Truth with Tact

Alex: “Hey Sam, what do you think of my proposal? I’d love to hear your honest feedback!”

Sam the Analyst: “Well…” (Sam explains the fatal flaws in Alex’s plan.)

Alex: “You said true things that I don’t like. We are now enemies.”

One challenge facing Analyst personality types at work is the risk of sharing their honest opinion, even when asked to. On one hand, contributing insightful, constructive criticism can make success more likely and you more valuable – Analysts often excel at spotting problems and devising solutions. On the other hand, people may tire of a naysayer, as they tend to subconsciously prefer receiving approval, even when criticism is requested, justified, and useful.

A Debater (ENTP) personality type with her hand on her hip, planning her next move.

So as an Analyst, you may find yourself in situations where you need to figure out how to tactfully deliver negative truths – and how much negative truth to deliver. You certainly have a professional obligation to help your organization avoid problems, but if you’re likely to be punished in any way for pointing them out, you also have the right to protect yourself. Being caught between those motivations can be tough.

Ideally, you’ll feel good by contributing as best as you can, but you should also be careful about being the bearer of bad news (the whole “shoot the messenger” thing). One approach is to provoke some shared brainstorming where the things that you’re concerned about will come up naturally – with a few subtle, leading questions from you, if needed. When your team recognizes potential problems together, you won’t look like a harbinger of doom and gloom.

(Bonus: Guiding a group toward cohesion through active discussion is also a great leadership skill to practice.)

5. Recognize People as Assets

You don’t have to like everyone. You don’t have to fake friendliness. And sure, there’ll be a few people at work with irritating habits and some who you wish would just go away. But regardless of all that, you can take off your negativity bias–tinted glasses occasionally and look at people’s positive aspects. You can choose to recognize how the personality types around you contribute to your workplace (and, perhaps, to your goals), and then make that recognition known.

It’s easy to dismiss people who don’t live up to your personal standards, but that can leave you sitting around judging them and getting nothing but annoyed. That’s a waste of energy unbefitting an efficiency-minded Analyst. Why not try to find out how they can be useful, and encourage that instead? When people feel valued, they tend to feel motivated, which in turn increases their value in the workplace. Logically, that’s a good tactic, and you might be surprised at what develops – respect and even fondness.

6. Before You Act, Identify Stakeholders

Advancing a plan or idea is easier when you spot potential impediments in advance, something that Analyst personalities often excel at. But as likely as they are to unravel technical details with glee, they rarely consider the human implications with equal thoroughness. At work, a proposal often needs more than technical merit to sail through human-infested waters.

Who will benefit, who won’t, and how everyone else feels can affect the progress of your goals and ideas. The best plans can be sunk for arbitrary reasons – or valid but primarily emotional ones. Before you put forth your cleverness, try to see things from other people’s points of view to better understand how their interests will be affected. You might need to plan for their reactions – the human component is often the gatekeeper to progress, so give it due attention.

7. Rethink “I Already Knew That”

When someone tells you something, it’s natural to want to show how informed you are. But responding bluntly that you “already know” can be taken as a gesture of rejection (or smugness). You may be merely trying to forestall any time and effort wasted on retreading known ground, but in doing so, you’re essentially declining a proffered gift and saying, “Nah, I already have one of those.”

Instead of making someone feel rejected for trying to help or enlighten you, consider validating their intentions by expressing approval – and you don’t necessarily have to feign ignorance in the process. You might say something along the lines of, “Oh yeah, that’s so true,” or “I couldn’t agree more,” or “Wow, that’s a really good reminder, thank you!” (Cue the Analyst reader comments saying those things, lol.)

And if someone’s telling you something that you already know to try to one-up you rather than help you, you can cheerfully say, “Yeah, it was great when I learned that too. Good for you.” I’m kidding. (Mostly.)

Final Thoughts

Ahhh…incisive, dispassionate thinkers, you are my people. (I am an Architect.) But there’s more to workplace success than being smart and capable – people run on emotion, and that’s not a bad thing. The flush of satisfaction that comes from being valued for your intelligence is an emotion, as is the exhilaration of applying your wit and skills to hew a grand result from the rockiest of challenges. My fellow Thinking personality types, your personal ambitions are fueled by feeling.

It makes sense to extend your skills to interacting with other people, even though it can feel tedious and arbitrary compared to facts and mechanics. But information, ideas, and plans that lead to success must all pass through human minds first. So the tactics for success must often be people-focused – whether they represent obstacles or opportunities, you’re more likely to succeed when you navigate them with care.

Further Reading

Advocates (INFJs) and Architects (INTJs): Awesome Work Buddies?

4 Clever Ways Analyst Personality Types Make a Fresh Start at Work

Analyst Personality Types and Career Compatibility

Leadership Styles test (Premium resource.)