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.

4 years ago
I totally agree with the thing about not caring much for people sharing their personal problems - especially when it's the same problem again and again. I'd much rather we solve the issue and move on than stick on it and talk it over again and again after it's been resolved.
E Springer
4 years ago
The claim that INTP folks "don't understand" emotion or are "uncomfortable" around emotional expression seems slightly off (here I go, quibbling with the framing of details!). It's true that emotional expression isn't our first language, but we may become quite interested in emotional phenomena and what they disclose about people and their lives. Consequently, some of us can devote ourselves to learning how to field emotions in receptive and thoughtful ways. What I do still find, however, is that even if I can be comfortable around *others'* emotions, and even if I have an introspective engagement with my own emotions, it remains difficult to express or shae my own intense emotions with others. Someone who wants to become a regular confidant for an INTP -- even an INTP who is in theory willing -- must be very patient!
4 years ago
I realize my response is months old. I agree with you. I am interested in peoples' logic vs emotion struggles, I find it fascinating. Sharing my emotions, for me at least, is difficult only because I need the right time, place, atmosphere and seemingly alignment of the heavens to be able to broach topics that make me feel vulnerable. Thankfully, I don't have many of those. Trying to deal with someone overcome by emotion is difficult and frustrating, but generally, most people are tolerable; I can empathize well enough when i am not the target of scorn.
4 years ago
Yeah, i'm totally best left alone, i think..... I always do better in single player games than multi player......... and i love to play it alone in my room rather than having a friend nearby,,, *i feel bad for the friend being neglected by my game...
5 years ago
It's amazing how correct this is. Thank you very much for all your research and dedication.
5 years ago
Hi, as a fellow INTP, I noticed many posts mentioned about gossips at work. I am ashamed to admit that, to me, gossips are just a form of information gathering (so INTP!). If the stuff gets repetitive, I find it annoying and boring and would try to find ways OUT. If the person I am around is not someone I am close to, I would try to excuse myself politely; however, if the person is a closer friend, I can be quite direct and tell them to leave me out of the drama...(LOL) I am sure my fellow INTP's can understand how detestable it is to let your emotion add fuel to a problem instead of figuring out a way to resolve the problem :)
5 years ago
I know this is a comment from awhile ago, but that last sentence in your comment really struck home haha!
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