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.

JoAnna E.
5 years ago
I am an INTJ female and find the explanation of my personality type on this site to be eerily accurate, EXCEPT for, “More interested in strategy rather than tactical implementation”. I agree with K's comment. How a plan will be implemented is VERY important to me. I WILL NOT EVEN BOTHER being a part of planning something if I know that the implementation will not be followed completely and efficiently. That is a major pet peeve of mine.
5 years ago
Yep; exactly, because it's pretty obvious it will fail!
4 years ago
With regards to implementation, doesn't it refer to just reading your plan and blindly following it? Planning implementation and physically implementing must be different things? I hate doing the mundane task of thinking how other idiots would perceive whatever I have come up with
5 years ago
As a female INTJ, the more I read about the INTJ personality, the scarier it becomes as far as accuracy. I can't find any points I can personally contradict. This did make me snicker a little though because as I read, it became abundantly clear as to why my biggest pet peeve is someone using an invalid argument based solely on personal interpretation rather than fact. I believe it was an appropriate use of my free time to read this.
5 years ago
OMG, this is very helpful. I've just left a job because I couldn't stant being surrounded by incompetence and inefficiency. It drove me crazy! Why do a job and expend 60% of energy, when for an extra 35% you can do a GREAT job?! People keep telling me I'm brilliant but too tough on people and blunt in my manner. I think these are good things but apparently 98% of the population dont. It makes the 'soft' and 'social' side of work very difficult for me. The irony is that when things really go wrong, for both work and my friends, I'm the one who gets the call to step in and help. If I determine you are incompetent and arrogant (as many executive white middle aged men are...), you simply cease to exist in my world. Naturally, this can cause significant problems in the workplace but I can't sell-out or manipulate people. I know I can manipulate, and even know that Im really good at it, I just elect not to. I deem it a shallow victory and lacking in integrity. I now need to find a career where I'm not a square peg trying to fit into a round's simply exhausting working that way. Would love to hear from anyone with suggestions. Agree with K's comments. Maxx you say above you're an ENTJ. Do you mean INTJ?
5 years ago
Liz, ain't it so -- a stranger in a strange land; it's incredibly frustrating. Earlier this year I applied for the position to head my office and did not get it. The -ONLY- reason I was willing to apply for the job (knowing that my chances of getting it were slim, due to past sins), was to avoid getting an idiot for a boss. Guess what, I got an idiot for a boss -- I'm looking to leave after being in my position for 18 years. I have something lined-up; just waiting on a work Visa in Australia...
5 years ago
Liz become a computer programmer. It's amazing, I get to analyze complex problems. I get to debate stuff with other competent people. I can walk around outside or close my office while I think about stuff. Not to mention the pay is good.
5 years ago
Liz, I am wondering at the levels of a true INTJ you are? We (INTJs) are usaually the one complaining about such things as RACE, AGE, SEX, etc. as being a waste of time, paper and especially classification. (your comment: "(as many executive white middle aged men are…)" leaves me (a near to way past mid-range INTJ in all catagories) wondering. I'm sure if you were to work for me the pressures and demands I strive for, (not only the third option but many times a forth or more option, or don't tell me how come but how do we, etc.) would keep your INTJ max'd.
4 years ago
Hi Liz, I recommend you look into internet marketing. You can make a lot of money, use your creative & analytical skills, and work on your own time.
5 years ago
Although I am an ENTJ, I do not follow the "The more likely explanation is that they do not respect you enough to bother airing their opinions." I will air my opinion no matter what, usually critically. Despite the negative repercussions, I feel my subordinates should know. They have known me long enough to understand it. :)
5 years ago
As I said to a boss of mine once: "if I have to explain it to you, it's not worth the trouble" -- that did not earn me brownie points to say the least; why bother involving yourself in utterly stupid ideas and discussions -- they are a waste of time!!!
5 years ago
Wow. This is like looking into a mirror!
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