INFP in the Workplace

In the workplace, INFPs face the challenge of taking their work and their profession personally. To INFPs, if it isn’t worth doing, it isn’t really worth doing, and this sense of moral purpose in their work colors everything from how they respond to authority to how they express it. Though the way the INFP personality type shows through depends on the position, there are a few basic truths about what INFPs seek in the workplace: they value harmony, need an emotional and moral connection to their work, and loathe bureaucratic tedium.

INFP workplace habits

INFP Subordinates

As subordinates, INFPs prefer latitude, and would much rather immerse themselves in a project, alone or with a close team, than simply be told what task to do and move on. People with the INFP personality type aren’t looking for easy, forgettable work that pays the bills, they’re looking for meaningful work that they actually want to think about, and it helps for their managers to frame responsibilities in terms of emotional merit rather than cold rationalization or business for its own sake. INFPs would rather know that their work will help to deliver a service they believe in than to know that the bottom line has been boosted by 3%.

If these standards are met, managers will find an extremely dedicated and considerate employee in INFPs. As idealistic opportunity-seekers INFPs may not always work well in technical applications, where the facts and logic really matter and critique is often necessary, but they work beautifully in more human and creative endeavors. While some types, especially Analysts, respond favorably to negative feedback, taking criticism as an opportunity to not make the same mistake twice, people with the INFP personality type would much rather hear what they did right and focus on what to do, rather than what not to.

INFP Colleagues

INFPs feel most comfortable among colleagues – they aren’t interested in controlling others, and have a similar distaste for being controlled. Among their colleagues, INFPs will feel freer to share their ideas, and while they may maintain some psychological distance, they will make every effort to be pleasant, friendly and supportive – so long as their coworkers reciprocate. INFPs don’t like conflict or picking sides, and will do everything they can to maintain harmony and cooperation.

Most of this comes down to good communication, which INFPs prefer to conduct in person, for that personal touch, or in writing, where they can compose and perfect their statements. People with the INFP personality type avoid using phones if they can, having the worst of both worlds, being both detached and uncomposed. INFPs also like to feel like their conversations are meaningful, and while they enjoy exploring philosophy more than most, their patience for arbitrary hypothetical brainstorming or dense technical discussions is limited.

INFP Managers

As managers, INFPs are among the least likely to seem like managers – their egalitarian attitudes lend respect to every subordinate, preferring communication as human beings than as a boss/employee opposition. People with the INFP personality type are flexible, open-minded and give their subordinates the tools they need, be they responsible delegation or an intuitive and receptive sounding board, to get the job done. Keeping their eyes on the horizon, INFPs set goals that achieve a desirable end, and help the people working under them to make that happen.

There is a downside to this style, as sometimes the boss just needs to be the boss. INFPs know how they feel about criticism, and are reluctant to subject others to that same experience, whether it’s needed or even welcome. Further complicating this role, when INFPs are under stress, as when someone really does warrant criticism, they can become extremely emotional – they may not show it, but it can affect their judgment, or even cause them to withdraw inwards, in ways that can really hold back their team.

3 years ago
Whenever I try to talk to my mom, she never understands. So I just figured, "maybe I'm more like my dad." But I'm not that close to him, so I thought that I'd have to keep quiet my whole life. Good to know that it was just a personality type and that there are others out there!
3 years ago
Parents! Eeek, what a good point. It is one of the difficulties, realising personality type is not congruent with parent type. Yet, 'cause we are cut from the same cloth, there are other things we share in common, and that makes it all the more confusing. So, you go round and round in a merry dance never quite sure what is what or where. Strength
4 years ago
I am a INFP this is quite amazing. Helps me to understand myself a little better. The friendship thing was exactly who I am. Few true friends are way better than a gaggle of want to be's. A good book and a quite place is ok by me. Crowds drain me but sometime can be fun, a concert a sporting event.
4 years ago
this is so me! I find it hard to establish a connection with people. I don't find it that hard to socialize but to work with them or be close to them is a different story. I always try to be an "original" in whatever I do. I only work because I think that I am contributing something for the society. the only real negative thing with me is that I lack empathy...the "I dont care If I have few friends as long as I have anime and movies and people to accept my likes and dislikes" is my dangerous mentality that MAYBE came from being an INFP :D
4 years ago
I am training to be a chef and I have been in the hospitality industry for 12 years. I love cooking but I hate the tedious nature of things in the kitchen. This personality speaks to me especially the part about "getting the job done and moving on". I don't frigging care about the order of which the capsicum goes on the plate so I can use it as a base to stack the meal as high as possible... all I care is that I cook a good meal, it looks clean and the customer ENJOYS IT. People are not going to say to me: "hey, the capsicum was in a different spot last time". WAKE UP PEOPLE. Tedious and monotonous work is horrible, but making people happy is why I do my job. End of story.
4 years ago
I really enjoy talking to friends over the phone but only for a certain amount of time before I begin to loose attention and if the conversation continues and I can't see it coming to an end I can actually grow rather irritable. Just a question for anybody who reads this but are INFPs capable of great bouts of anger?
Jonathan V.
4 years ago
I think they are. I sure am. It's rare to get me angry, but when I do, I actually try not to show it, and I rather harm myself than others. But I do feel angry.
puppylover 101
4 years ago
I'm an infp too but I actually get mad very easily. When I'm mad you better watch out. One time I got so mad I fell to the floor and started hyperventilating and screaming and throwing things out the window. That time when I threw things out the window I was really frustrated because no one understood me and I felt so alone. I felt like I didn't even understand myself or know who I really am. Just like this says, I felt like I had to protect what I believed in. This helps me understand everything about me. I feel like I finally solved the puzzle. It's a big weight off my shoulders.
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