INTP in the Workplace

The running theme for INTPs is their desire for solitude, need for intellectual stimulation, and the satisfaction of the final piece of a puzzle clicking into place. Whether in subordinate or management positions, with colleagues or working alone, these privileges and the freedom to pursue them unfettered by social obligations and progress reports are about all people with the INTP personality type look for in their workplace.

Though INTPs may scoff at the notion, they actually function best when paired with another person. Their position determines which personality type best fits their needs, but INTPs’ tendency to live in their heads and vent inspiration and creativity seemingly at random demands the presence of an implementer, preferably a Sentinel, to ensure that no stroke of genius goes unnoticed.

INTP workplace habits

INTP Subordinates

Under the right conditions, INTP subordinates are innovative, resourceful, and hard-working, easily wrapping their minds around whatever complex problems are placed in front of them and delivering unorthodox but effective solutions. However, these qualities require a great deal of freedom, something stereotypical managers are loath to cede. It is difficult to quantify these qualities on a resume – several other characteristics, like a relative indifference to job security and to being liked, exacerbate the challenge – and it can take time to grow to trust INTP subordinates enough to allow this latitude.

INTP personalities prefer to work alone, but at the same time they despise "grunt-work". Their focus on conceiving new and exciting ideas and ignoring the details of execution means that INTPs need someone alongside to keep things in order and actually put into practice their often unrefined ideas. Such a condition can’t be forced on INTPs, but a few logically phrased criticisms (certainly not emotional appeals or pep talks about working as part of a team) and clever management can make it happen.

INTP Colleagues

For INTPs, colleagues aren’t so much a group of people who they socialize and work with as they are a series of obstacles and diversions with occasionally useful knowledge. Mingling, chitchat, drinks after work – these make INTPs want to work alone, not get up in the morning. Despite this distance, people with the INTP personality type are unusually good at developing insightful and unbiased interpretations of others’ motivations, though sometimes they overthink it, becoming unnecessarily suspicious of others’ goals.

What they do enjoy are riddles and patterns, and any INTP would be proud to be the guru who is sought after as arbiter on the validity of an idea, or for their insight on how to apply a principle to novel situations. INTPs love discussing theories, at least with "proven" colleagues, and are almost always available as impromptu consultants. This, however, does not apply to emotional riddles and conflicts, INTPs’ Achilles Heel – in these charged situations, INTP personalities have no clue what to do.

INTP Managers

While INTPs don’t care for managing other people, it is likely the most rewarding position as it provides the opportunity to direct concepts and theories while others handle the logistics. INTPs have a very tolerant and flexible style, characterized by an openness to logical suggestions and relative freedom for their subordinates. But this freedom comes at a cost – INTP managers have very high standards, and they expect others to grasp their insights instantly, and to provide their own in equal measure.

As well as their demand for innovation, INTPs are better than any other type at noticing logical discrepancies – their tendency to ignore others’ feelings means that their criticisms often come hard and fast as they direct projects to their own perfectionistic standards. Here again INTPs do best with a partner, this time a delegator who can filter their thoughts and direct their team in more socially productive ways. A liaison can also help to deter schmoozing and attempts at emotional manipulation, a sure mistake for anyone who tries.

2 years ago
I think INTP is the most confusing personality. As a child I noticed I had very bad mood swings, and I always wondered why. There were a bunch of other weird things like I would be stuck in my head, and I thought I was the only one!
1 year ago
Ha, i tried to charge a kid in kindergarten. Head-down ram. I never quite understood why they sent me to the counselor's.
2 years ago
I always knew i'm special. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. Peace
2 years ago
I have a great INTP /ADD job. I drive all over the county, 3 counties actually, finding addresses and doing interviews. I have 20 days to complete all my interviews each month, and totally set my own hours. I have a hard deadline, which gives me the pressure I need to motivate and get out the door, and I only have to talk to my boss on the phone a couple times a month. I have the best boss I've ever had, too. She only ever affirms how awesome I am and only very gently reminds me of the schedule if I start to get behind. The job has intermediate deadlines, too, like 25% day, 50% day, 75% day, which I usually ignore, and even then my boss reminds me but says she's not worried because she know I'll get it done. I get to enjoy the solitude of driving all over and absorbing the beautiful scenery while I listen to interesting things on CD or the radio. I do actually have to talk to people, which is my least favorite part, but because I am easygoing and low-pressure, most people respond ok. And the possibility of danger adds a little excitement to the job. I live in an area where people are mostly ANTI- so sometime get heated when I ignore their "no trespassing" signs. But I figure I am there on official business and if they tell me to bugger off, we're done. Great job. I have had this job for 6 years. It is the longest I've ever been at one job!
2 years ago
I wouldn't be able to do that, because when I drive for too long I get bored and go hang out in my head.
some brainiac
2 years ago
I'm pretty anti social but at times I'm not. I love physics especially quantum physics and learning interesting things but get bored if I'm not interested in the other persons conversation(s). Us INTPs can take over the world with our knowledge but doing it separately.
1 year ago
Yes, and we'll finally clash having an epic battle of strange ideas, and our new vassals will have no idea what is happening. Excuse me, I must go to the war room.
3 years ago
My daughter had me do this last night, I was very sceptical, but was amazed how accurate it was, my wife regularly tells me to come back as I stare into the distance. Looks like I've succeeded as a INTP as I have a manager to run the day to day side of my business allowing me to play with new projects and the next big boys toy to buy/build.
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