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.

INFJ workplace habits

INFJ Subordinates

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.

INFJ Colleagues

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.

INFJ Managers

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 will 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.

Megan C
4 years ago
Spot on. Have worked with children with emotional disturbance, school counselor, principal. Reading this explains a lot about why I see things somewhat differently from other leaders.
5 years ago
I agree with almost everything. I was an executive secretary and I have been told several times that I do 3X the work as other workers...and do it well. I am spiritual and an artist too. I have been chosen for several jobs/organizations to create and edit news letters. I guess you would call me an over achiever. But that's me...oh, and folks think I am an extrovert but I am definitely an introvert.
5 years ago
I am a nurse and find that the ability to work independently but within the boundaries of my profession fit my personality well. I us my intuition along with my training when dealing with patients and I have found that I "see" things that others don't. I give the impression of being an extrovert even tho I know I am not. I like the times when I can work uninterrupted and accomplish a lot during those time. I hate the interruptions and have to watch that I don't show my irritation with others when I can't complete what I am doing in the time that I have set to complete tasks. I love to teach and do it automatically during my day with patients, families and co-workers. My work area is usually a mess but I know where everything is and always have what I need at hand. What I found amazing is that I also love music and play several instruments. It is the thing that keeps me sane some days. I also found the fact that I don't have any real close friends right now fit the profile as most of the people I know I see a shallow and not willing to really get to know me. The few close friends that I have had in the past were ones that took the time to talk to me and really get to understand me. The sensitivity issue is one that I have dealt with all my life. I cry at the drop of a hat almost and I seem to internalize criticism more than I should although I have worked on that a lot during my career. I do find that I can be very goal oriented such as when I was going to school...I worked towards the goal I had an excelled. I do find that when the goal isn't clear I move on to something else to try. Overall, I fit the profile more than I expected and it did give a good synopses of my life.
4 years ago
Barbara, Reading your post was like reading a page straight from my life. I felt like this profile, and especially the comment you wrote hit the nail straight on. I too am a nurse, have dealt with constant sensitivity issues, excelled with school goals, and have never dealt well with criticism. I have recently finished my RN to BSN transition program and am working toward my FNP license. During this transition time, I feel at a loss and don't know how to relax. Work has been rocky because I feel that there is something going on that my boss won't tell me, causing me to look for other work. The expectations I have of myself and others can sometimes cause me to take authority, and my direct supervisor doesn't like someone else taking charge. I assume he feels threatened because the big boss hired me over his head. Like you stated, "goals aren't clear". I feel like there is something wrong with me, that nobody understands me. It is sad when I feel more connected with the words of a stranger on a website than all the people I know.
Anne Saxon
5 years ago
This all make SO much sense!!! I am the founding artistic director, manager, and conductor of an auditioned children's community choral program, ages 5-18. Much of my administrative work is done alone in my home office during the morning and early afternoon hours through emails, writing, scheduling, advertising, recruitment, etc. The afternoons and early evenings are spent in rehearsals with the various choirs in our program. I get to work with children and youth of all ages, teaching them to sing. I feel it makes a difference in their lives and the lives of their families, and love the impact of children singing beautifully before and audience. This includes directing a Hispanic Outreach choir as part of this program, and we have created a choir festival for the Amani Chidlren's Foundation which raises awareness and supports orphaned babies in Kenya. I am also the president-elect of a state choral organization and love working with all kinds of choral musicians in various roles of leadership. This gives me the "ultimate" challenge and I attend state, divisional, and national conferences and retreats to help "feed" my thirst for knowledge. I have worked for school systems and church choirs to put bread on the table, but ultimately the politics and unbendng rules and regulations made me utterly miserable! Miserable! Give me the kids anytime, but I loathe working with institutional administrators (which includes pastors in churches who tend to be micro-managers). Even though I work very hard and passionately I don't make much money, but I am much happier with what I do now. Not many people "get" me, but I treasure those who do.
5 years ago
As for as career paths, I would recommend taking teacher off the list. I should know, because I've been one since 1987. At first, I taught Nutrition at a public health department. I loved it, but poor pay. I then went to school to teach in the public school system. This, not so good, because of the rules that are carried out for some students, and avoided for others. I now understand why I had trouble in this area. INFJ people stand up for fairness, and public schools can be very political. I think designer would fit me much better, because it allows for constant change in activity, and a designer can come up with his/her own rules. Every aspect of the INFJ fits me. I can see straight through a person, and my students always hated that. I do enjoy coaching sports, but take losing personal.
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