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.

Amir Fitri
4 years ago
"strogly resist on the attempt of pigeon-holing them into well defined, specific roles" - true for me. Since I value independency, i'm more comfortable in no actual title, but still doing the work, while overseeing (perfecting) others' work, since I want evrything to go smoothly. If I'm pigeon-holed by the leader, people can find me laugh when my colleagues (or leaders) realizing they made a mistake, especially when i know about it in the first place. It can be said it's done out of ego and pride rather than revenge, as it proves what the differences between getting me pigeon-holed or not. And as an INTJ, I did prefer small groups, because it is easier to remember the team members' name (as it is unimportant, big groups will make me forget their names unless I see them in my daily life), easier to control the crowd, easier to oversee the work, and don't have to fear "sleeping members" out of no work to be assigned (thus being inefficient).
4 years ago
I fit every pro and every con of the INTJ, and the general type description fits me almost perfectly. The one thing I take issue with, pretty much on this whole category, is this single line: "Loathe manual work, especially where it can be automated." I could be in the minority, but I am a fairly extreme INTJ and I absolutely love lifting weights, exercising, and manual labor. I've had to dig up chunks of underground concrete foundation, and I enjoyed it a lot, just because it was incredibly challenging (albeit somewhat mentally tedious, I suppose). I was able to work with my hands while thinking about whatever I wanted in the meantime. Or is this meant to describe a different kind of "work" that perhaps I didn't quite understand? Are INTJs meant to dislike, for example, sending mail by hand and faxing things as opposed to sending emails? Or going to the store and buying DVDs of movies as opposed to streaming online? The line could be clarified, at least, to discern between the two types of work (labor and exercise, versus tasks and chores)
Nina M.
4 years ago
It is the repetitive, time consuming and often boring work (any kind) we try to "automate". It does not have to be an actual mechanical automation,but finding shortcuts, more efficient ways to do things, such as excluding redundant tasks and error proofing. Process improvement is our forte because it is a practical application of systems thinking.
4 years ago
You mixed "Manual work" with "Work out" or "Labor work". I think we agree that INTJ doesn't loathe "Work out" and "Labor work". But we will be frustrating if our Boss told us to draw a chart or table by hand when we dynamically generate it by excel
E. D. Ford
4 years ago
It says "Only respect the manager if they are actually competent—titles mean nothing to someone with an INTJ personality". I have the INTJ personality type, and to an extent this is true, but as an INTJ I avoid social complications. I find that a quality hierarchical set up brings a kind of order which makes avoiding social challenges and conflicts easier. So even if I believe that a person doesn't deserve authority, or is less intelligent than me, I prefer for things like that to flow smoothly, as long as they get in my way. I do however, completely abandon my desire for order if I have a strong personality clash with someone.
Nina M.
4 years ago
It is not a personality clash, it is having a micromanager that does it for me.
4 years ago
"Beware of a quiet INTJ during the brainstorming session; it is quite unlikely that they have nothing to say. The more likely explanation is that they do not respect you enough to bother airing their opinions." The truest and most expressive statement ever :-)
3 years ago
I feel the same way even when I do it to others
4 years ago
Yep, every single aspect (emotionally, generally, work, etc.) described here it's me. And explains a lot about my relationships with friends and family. Also why I have chosen my career, actually I'm starting my own consulting business, because it's the most logical next step. Not been able to understand or handle the emotional part, it's hard though, I've always struggle with this and maybe I'll struggle with that my whole life. Anyway I am very happy with my life in general and what I have accomplished 'till now. =D
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