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.

Alex Boldt
5 years ago
Oh goodness... This is so me. I have a more caring side as well, cause I'm not that far off of the feeling side, but other than that this describes me to a T. Respect is earned not bought. And you can't earn it with quantity.. Only quality. I don't hate phone calls.. But that being said, I haven't really dealt with them and would probably be tired quickly.
5 years ago
Great description, except the sarcastic point which I strongly disagree with. I have great respect for others and cannot stand nor do sarcasms. I also prefer to work alone mainly because of concentration issue, I am sad if it looks like "no need to share the glory".
5 years ago
Me to a T. Only one exception... In the colleagues section: "Love challenges, especially if they get complete responsibility (no need to share the glory)" Glory??? got it all wrong... I don't want all the glory. Sure, it's nice to be appreciated, but I'd rather share the spotlight with a coworker who needs the encouragement or be out of it completely. I'd rather be rewarded with quiet respect and dare I say, friendship rather than fan fare. I only prefer to work alone for the sake of efficiency and freedom.
5 years ago
For me it's a tad different. I love being responsible and receiving all the "glory" as long as I don't have to deal with the praise, many smiles and laughter of thanks, and too many handshakes one would receive when accomplishing a difficult task. All the extra short-lived, popularity-oriented friendship BS frustrates me to death and makes me lose alot of respect for the people doing it. As long as I know my boss, etc. appreciates it and I get "competence points", I'm satisfied. Otherwise I want to have accomplished that task with MANY other people so the "appreciation" is on a less personal level.
5 years ago
I agree with you. This is the only part of the description with which I disagree. I do not work for glory. Being satisfied with my own performance/ contribution/ insights is enough for me. I'm happy for others to take the limelight.
5 years ago
When you enter a room with a lot of peolpe, does anyone in here "get" how people are, and their rekationships, without knowing anyone of the people? And maybe even avoid som of the people, with reasons which are invisible for anyone else? I hope you guys get what I mean, elsewise, I probably just am mental ;-)
5 years ago
I totally get it. I often just "know" things about people. They hardly even have to speak. It IS uncanny. I decided to become a mental health therapist where it works for me. The problem is, I'm way into brain research and understanding WHY people get depressed while others rock on the waves, and even find some pleasure in the challenge. I don't want to become a doctor so I can do brain research, but I want to know everything I can about how the brain works to release stress chemicals compared to release of happy hormones. . . It's fascinating. One life is just not long enough.
5 years ago
This is a little creepy; it describes me perfectly! I'm in college right now working for a degree in creative writing (INTJ's can be writers too you know) and when I'm in class I want to look at some of my classmates and say 'do you even hear yourself?!'. Usually I don't say anything if I feel that the popular opinion doesn't agree with my own, but sometimes I speak up just to hear everyone's reactions (I actually like listening to people arguing odd as it is).
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