INTJ in the Workplace

Above all else, INTJs want to be able to tackle intellectually interesting work with minimal outside interference, no more, no less. Time-consuming management techniques like trust-building getaways, progress meetings, and drawn-out, sandwiched criticisms are only going to annoy INTJs – all they need, be they subordinate, colleague, or manager, is to meet their goals with the highest standard of technical excellence and to be surrounded by, if anyone at all, people who share those values.

On paper this makes them appear to be exemplary employees, and in many ways they are, but there are many types, especially those with a combination of the Observant (S) and Feeling (F) traits, who will find a work (or any other) relationship with INTJs extremely challenging. INTJs have a fairly strict code of conduct when it comes to their work, and if they see coworkers valuing social activities and "good enough" workmanship over absolute excellence, it will be a turbulent environment. For this reason, INTJs tend to prefer to work in tight, like-minded groups – a group of one, if necessary.

INTJ Subordinates

INTJs are independent people, and they quickly become frustrated if they find themselves pushed into tightly defined roles that limit their freedom. With the direction of a properly liberal manager, INTJs will establish themselves in a position of expertise, completing their work not with the ambition of managerial promotion, but for its own intrinsic merit. INTJs require and appreciate firm, logical managers who are able to direct efforts with competence, deliver criticism when necessary, and back up those decisions with sound reason.

INTJ workplace habits

Note that it is INTJs’ expectations of their managers that are being defined here, and not the other way around, as with some other personality types. Titles mean little to INTJs – trust and respect are earned, and INTJs expect this to be a two way street, receiving and delivering advice, criticisms and results. INTJs expect their managers to be intelligent enough and strong enough to be able to handle this paradigm. A silent INTJ conveys a lack of respect better than all their challenges ever will.

INTJ Colleagues

Active teamwork is not ideal for people with the INTJ personality type. Fiercely independent and private, INTJs use their nimble minds and insight to deflect personal talk, avoid workplace tension, and create situations where they aren’t slowed down by those less intelligent, less capable, or less adaptable to more efficient methods. Instead, they will likely poke fun by forcing them to read between the lines and making them deal alone with work that could have been easier if they’d only taken INTJs’ suggestions.

INTJs are brilliant analysts, and will likely gather a small handful of trusted colleagues to involve in their brainstorming sessions, excluding those who get too hung up on details, or who otherwise have yet to earn their respect. But more likely, INTJs will simply take the initiative alone – INTJs love embracing challenges and their consequent responsibilities, and their perfectionism and determination usually mean that the work comes out clean and effective, affording INTJs the twin joys of solitude and victory.

INTJ Managers

Though they may be surprised to hear it, INTJs make natural leaders, and this shows in their management style. INTJs value innovation and effectiveness more than just about any other quality, and they will gladly cast aside hierarchy, protocol and even their own beliefs if they are presented with rational arguments about why things should change. INTJs promote freedom and flexibility in the workplace, preferring to engage their subordinates as equals, respecting and rewarding initiative and adopting an attitude of "to the best mind go the responsibilities", directing strategy while more capable hands manage the day-to-day tactics.

But this sort of freedom isn’t just granted, it’s required – those who are accustomed to just being told what to do, who are unable to direct themselves and challenge existing notions, will have a hard time meeting INTJs’ extremely high standards. Efficiency and results are king to INTJs, and behaviors that undermine these conditions are quashed mercilessly. If subordinates try to compensate for their weakness in these areas by trying to build a social relationship with their INTJ managers, on their heads be it – office gossip and schmoozing are not the way into INTJs’ hearts – only bold competence will do.

6 months ago
What is meant by "A silent Architect conveys a lack of respect better than all their challenges ever will."?
3 weeks ago
INTJ here, to me it means if an architect doesn't try to challenge or improve the bosses ideas it means they just gave up on them. It is either "they are too stupid/stubborn to consider my ideas/advice" or "This is going to go poorly, and I want them to fail" maybe both. I had a boss that I ended up feeling this way too; he was very ignorant to many things in the world and acted like he knew everything. He disregarded anything he didn't understand and never made an effort to learn, from improving the workflow; to generational fads (he was a grumpy GenX), to science that he read online that didn't fit into what he was taught in 3rd grade, even if I explained it and showed evidence. I stopped talking to him unless it was work related. Not to act like I know everything ever here but, because I don't and I know that I would just like to have an answer to my ideas and suggestions to along the style of "We had already considered that", "That won't work because if x, y, z", "how about we do this?" etc. But no, he just ignored me, because my idea did not fit in his world view. That job was the worst three years of my life so far.
6 months ago
A career in animal conversation would be a dream come true to me. Sometimes I wonder whether a dog judge(I'm crazy about dogs) or a baker(why not, my sister and I can create amazing desserts when we are not busy snapping and glaring at each other), or a translator would be good alternatives just in case, you know, I get played a dirty trick by the system. I also definitely want to write books and publish some of my already finished works. Pity school doesn't provide a field for any of my interests. Well, I guess at least I have a fair deal of good B plans.
1 year ago
"...and adopting an attitude of “to the best mind go the responsibilities"..." I relate to this so much! I'm usually appointed as a leader in every group work, and that is what I exactly do. I give responsibilities to those who are capable of doing it. Although sometimes, I find it difficult to assign tasks when my group mates are kind of meh. That leads to me doing all the tasks. It's kind of exhausting, but I'd rather do that than see unsatisfactory work.
11 months ago
So true! I usually am a team leader on tasks that require a large amount of thinking. I give the most competent and useful people all the important and glorious tasks, but sacrifice ruthlessly all of the rest. Honestly, I usually don't get intelligent people on my crew, so I also end up doing most of the work.
2 years ago
I am a female INTJ, and so is my best friend, which is lucky! We try and stick together, as most people who go to my school just aren't as intellectually competent as I would have them be. I'm also pretty good friends with an ENFP, but I don't usually work with her in group projects, because she messes around and doesn't get any work done. She asked me and my friend if we could include her more in activities like group projects. Then out of the blue this other girl, a mutual acquaintance, joined the conversation. I did the logical thing and walked away during her rant, because it was none of her business and I didn't want to know. When will people learn I work best with like-minded people, and no jokesters who only care about having a few laughs? Totally agree with everything said here.
3 years ago
Well I am definitely plan on doing something out of the INTJ mold even though I fit it quite well. I plan on a career in politics so I can change the world for the better. I also am looking forward to public speaking (found out I enjoy it) and being a snarky witty politician seems appealing to me.
1 year ago
Snarky and witty sounds intriguing to me too!
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