Unlikely Leaders: Logicians (INTPs) Looking Forward

Darrell’s avatar

“Life is all about ‘Continuous Never-Ending Change and Improvement’ (CNECI) as we grow, develop, and regenerate.”


Representatives from all personality types, no matter how unlikely, can lead. Leadership is sometimes canned and sold as having room at the top only for certain people with unambiguous management traits. Such thinking assumes that all organizations or groups are identical and can only work with conventional leaders. These ideas are fading into the past as newer, more inclusive leadership concepts emerge to serve a more diverse world.

Vision as a Product of Solitude and Honesty

You may be surprised to find out that Logicians (INTPs), who tend to quietly live inside their thoughts more than the rest of us, have qualities that lend themselves well to leadership. Why might that be a surprise?

  • Logicians love solitude. Alone time provides these personalities with an opportunity to, among other things, play with their complex ideas uninterrupted. When we think of leaders, we usually think of someone a little more outgoing.
  • Logicians can be blunt. Life is a constant experiment to Logicians, and they see feedback as providing valuable information. Therefore, in their eyes, even the most negative feedback becomes a gift. It may be. Not everyone, however, will feel joy at receiving such a present. But you may find that Logicians care more about the feelings of those around them than their sometimes overly candid communication might indicate.
  • Logicians do not always like the well-beaten path. If these personalities are leaders within a larger organization, they may not always appreciate the rules and guidelines that they are supposed to follow. They would rather create their own.

So, with these characteristics, what do Logicians bring to leadership? Plenty.

Democratic, Laissez-Faire, or Authoritarian?

Let’s first explore the likely leadership style of Logician personality types. Kurt Lewin, a psychologist who was instrumental in the founding of social psychology, assigned leaders to three basic styles: authoritarian, democratic, and laissez-faire.

The authoritarian leadership style is exactly what it sounds like. All decision-making sits with the leader. While the authoritarian style may sound draconian in many cultures, times can arise when circumstances necessitate laying down the law. Logicians are not likely to be predominantly authoritarian. The control would be too tight for their open-minded gathering of information. They prefer to encourage team members to explore things the same way they explore things. Such openness to the opinions of others doesn’t mean that these leaders never need to call the shots autocratically, as most leaders find they must do from time to time. But authoritarianism isn’t the style that these personalities are likely to be most comfortable with.

A Logician (INTP) personality type holding a laptop.

Our research suggests that the democratic style might be a better fit. Logicians lean toward valuing input from others because they appreciate the potential breadth of information that comes with other perspectives. Their curiosity lends itself to a democratic approach. The only time an egalitarian mode might be hindered is if Logician leaders get swept up by one of their enthusiasms, and their excitement overwhelms other’s opinions. That said, their own interests wouldn’t likely dominate their style consistently because they are aware of the potential value that others bring to the table.

The laissez-faire style, marked by a hands-off approach that allows group members almost total liberty, sounds like a style that would appeal to Logicians because of their love of solitude. This approach would involve less checking in with their crew.

Such an arrangement might also appeal to their appreciation for alternate viewpoints. Allowing team members untethered freedom to follow their imaginations is something that these leaders might appreciate. Logicians may exercise some elements of laissez-faire style when the circumstances call for creative thought, but these personalities are likely too systems-oriented and results-oriented to encourage unrestrained activity for long. They may not always love rules and structure when they feel impeded by them, but they can also see when these things serve as an asset.

So, as an overarching approach, Logicians will likely be most comfortable going in a democratic direction.

Do you want to know more about your style of leadership? We invite you to take our Leadership Styles and Leadership Styles II tests to fine-tune your understanding of your personality and to explore your preferred approach to leadership.

How Logicians Lead

Let’s break down some of Logicians’ assets as leaders and explore some areas where they may need to work on their skills.

What Works for Logician Leaders


Logicians, with their Analyst need to gather information and their never-quite-satisfied Prospecting trait, are among the most inquisitive of personality types. When a leader carries curiosity into an undertaking, it does a few things. Exploring different ways of looking at their tasks and goals keeps methods fresh and more effective.

Where inquisitiveness reigns, a group task can evolve into something greater, under the right leadership. An exploratory mindset also introduces a kind of dynamism that fosters excitement and cohesion within a team. Logician personalities can bring an organization to life.

As leaders, Logicians are also likely to encourage group members to adopt a more inquisitive outlook. Curiosity is the cure for groupthink, and when a team is curious, it is free to explore avenues that other teams might not. A constant influx of ideas from team members is likely to delight a Logician leader and lead to more vital and effective angles overall.

The Solution Is the Work

Sometimes Thinking personality types treat their analysis of situations like a puzzle to be solved, for no other reason than it’s a puzzle and puzzles can be interesting. Solving problems provides them with enjoyment. Logicians are no different. Logicians are likely to regard work less as a collection of procedures to follow and more as continuous streams of problems to be conquered. Their approach is more dynamic than the mere following of routine. And when a Logician gets excited about a puzzle, it can be contagious.

Hopefully, without sounding too cliché, Logicians are a living example of the concept of problems being opportunities. They rarely see negative feedback as a criticism, viewing it instead as an opportunity to experience another perspective and try something different if it resonates with them. This kind of thinking can deliver an organization away from stagnation and into growth.


Logicians are the least likely of all personality types to believe that a leader needs to be liked. They are not devoid of feelings and would probably enjoy people on their team showing fondness toward them. But such adoration is secondary to the task at hand.

A Logician (INTP) personality type examining chemicals in a beaker.

The problem to be solved is not how to be more likable but how to meet the goals and objectives that lay before them. Logicians may or may not be sensitive to the different politics or values within a group, but either way, they won’t likely let such things scatter the team’s focus.

Objectivity permits Logician leaders to be fair and avoid favoritism. Team members may become annoyed at their fairness when things don’t go their way, but an all-encompassing sense of impartiality builds morale over the long term. Objectivity allows Logicians to pick the most effective direction to go toward without being weighed down by emotional baggage – either their own baggage or others’ baggage.

Areas That May Need Attention

Lack of Diplomacy

This is the flip side of objectivity. People are emotional creatures. They can be hurt (or bolstered) easily. Only the most authoritarian leader can afford to ignore the feeling aspects of the human condition. When emotions are injured, people typically become less motivated. A tired but true maxim is, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” A needlepoint with that clichéd statement embroidered on it would look good on a wall in a Logician’s office. Logicians aren’t mean-spirited. They’re just direct. But their directness can come across as insulting or demeaning if not handled in the right way.

Fortunately, diplomacy is a skill that can be acquired, and Logicians are great learners. If these personalities set about developing tact with the same zeal with which they learn most other things, they can quickly fill any gaps in their savoir-faire skill set.

Constant Flux

Logician personalities often seem to be in a perpetual spin, changing like the weather. It might only appear that way as they bounce from interest to interest, obsession to obsession. Good Logician leaders will keep their eyes on the goal even as their methods change. Such continuous change can, however, be problematic for some team members who like things to be more consistent and predictable. They may falsely translate this flux as Logician leaders not knowing what they’re doing. Some might experience frustration because, having just gotten used to one method or principle, another is proposed.

Team members may not always feel that their footing is solid, since the very ground beneath them seems to always be moving. Awareness of this can help a Logician leader buffer those who lean toward being averse to change.

Can Expect Too Much from Others

Expectations can be a tricky matter. While there is likely a limit to what one can expect from any human being, limits can be relative. Say, for example, a Logician oversees a group of brain surgeons. Few would regard a Logician chief of brain surgery as being out of line for expecting a lot from their team. Lives would be at stake, and their high expectations would be warranted.

However, Logicians often see things that others do not, due to their almost never-ending scrutiny of that which touches their lives. These personalities may blend some somewhat obscure notions into their already elevated performance standards. Overworked individuals may shake their heads when more abstract or unorthodox concepts are added as guidelines, wondering about their necessity. Such notions added as part of an action plan can feel burdensome to some.

Too much of this can be overwhelming for personality types who are focused on the more obvious and conventional. (And to top it off, it all might change again in a matter of days or weeks. See “Constant Flux” above.) Logicians may find it helpful to measure their pet ideas against a more holistic view of the impact that these notions have on their team. For team unity, they may need to decide whether the idea is worth a hit to general morale. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they should not pursue new ideas, but perhaps it would help to try to adopt the point of view of their team members before pushing forward.

Logician, Go Forth and Lead

If you’re a Logician, you’re brimming with ideas. While “visionary” may feel too wispy for your solid strategies, it might be a label that you’ll need to embrace as a leader. But while sharing your vision, you might want to acknowledge that your perspective is often idiosyncratic. You’ve got a lot to offer as a leader if you make it a point always to read the room. Leaving followers perplexed is not leading. But no worries. That’s likely something else you’ll notice and respond to.

Go forth and lead.

And don’t forget to take the specialized leadership tests in our Career Tools & Assessments. This is your opportunity to go deeper.

Further Reading

If you’d like to explore more about Logicians and leadership, here are some suggestions: