MBTI® INTJ and Workplace Behavior – The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) provides valuable insights into how individuals’ personalities manifest in their behavior and preferences. For example, one’s MBTI® can influence how one makes decisions and resolves conflicts, as well as the careers and workplace environments which one will find fulfilling. Individuals and organizations alike can apply the insights that The MBTI® affords to optimize how they operate from a logistical standpoint as well as to modify their workplace culture to ensure that all employees can thrive. The first step to making an impact is to gain a better understanding of the strengths, challenges, and function of your employees’ personality types.
INTJ (Introverted-Intuitive-Thinking-Judging) personality types are “independent, individualistic, single-minded, and determined individuals” (Hirsh, S. & Kummerow, J., p22, CPP Inc., 1998). They are dedicated and willing to work tirelessly to achieve their goals. INTJs have the ability to digest large amounts of information seemingly effortlessly, draw conclusions and identify implications of that data, and apply their findings to new situations. They can be easily bored if not adequately challenged and particularly enjoy analyzing nuanced situations and solving complex problems independently. While many other personality types have a particular proclivity for either “macro-level” or “micro-level” thinking, INTJs can intuitively perceive how different levels and dependencies within a scenario interact with one another. Concrete goals and achievements motivate INTJs, and they are willing and able to follow through on their commitments. They have high standards for themselves and others and do their best to identify red flags in their approach early so they can modify their strategy and mitigate shortcomings in a timely fashion, before the success of the overall project is in jeopardy.
Organizational Climate and INTJ Disposition
Different people prefer and thrive in different organizational climates. Some prefer to work quietly and independently, while others benefit from constant collaboration. Similarly, some perform best in rigid corporate hierarchies and a “nine-to-five” workday, while others thrive in more flexible environments where they can come and go as they please. Workplace environment and culture consist of a plethora of factors that interact with one another in complex ways. Understanding the relationships between individuals, their differing MBTI® types and their environment can provide organizations, leaders, and employees with the tools they need to build a better organizational climate for everyone.
INTJs are typically at their best in environments that are task-driven and goal-oriented while still providing opportunities for creativity. Their “Thinking” and “Judging” tendencies make INTJs efficient workers and team members who value success, which they define as achieving explicit, measurable goals. However, unlike their extraverted peers, who instinctively build bridges between different groups, INTJs prefer to work independently whenever possible. They benefit from being able to explore and experiment with different possibilities in a private setting before presenting them for feedback and evaluation. That said, INTJs also gravitate towards professional environments where they are surrounding by “decisive, intellectually challenging people” (Hirsh, S. & Kummerow, J., p22, CPP Inc., 1998).
For INTJs, indecisiveness and incompetence lead to inefficiencies, which necessarily create delays and impede progress. For example, if an INTJ is given an ambiguous assignment or request, they may need to send e-mails or schedule phone calls to clarify the inquiry and identify what is being asked for and when the product or result is needed. The clarification process requires time, energy, and resources which could have been allocated elsewhere had the initial assignment been clear. INTJs’ impatience with inefficiencies can also make them reject organizational bureaucracy, since they can make reaching milestones more difficult. Identifying the person “in charge” or responsible for making key decisions can be a challenge and reaching them can be even harder. That said, INTJs do understand that there is a benefit to one person having the authority to give approvals without negotiation, especially since INTJs themselves tend to come up with unorthodox, creative solutions.
INTJs are organized, detail-oriented individuals. They expect advanced notice for meetings and expect to receive agendas well in advance, so they have time to prepare their thoughts and contributions. They may become frustrated if meetings do not start and end at the agreed upon times or if the content of the meeting deviates significantly from the provided agenda. During meetings, INTJs’ contributions tend to be pointed and succinct. Their syllogistic thought processes, which clearly connect cause, effect, and implications, are also apparent in their self-expression and communication. INTJs tend to say exactly and only what they mean and what they think is important. As a result, they may fail to identify subtext in others’ speech and may become frustrated if colleagues present too much irrelevant information.
Workplace Association and Interaction
People communicate in a plethora of ways in the modern workplace, from video conferencing platforms and instant messaging interfaces to e-mail servers and in-person conversations. They also vary in their style of expression, how they provide input or feedback, and how they lead their organizations. Understanding individuals’ MBTI® type and how it shapes communicative proclivities can help organizations and teams prevent miscommunications and misunderstandings, and ultimately improve efficiency. Those who work with INTJs should be aware that they need privacy and independence to function optimally. They should also try to express their needs or wants explicitly, since INTJs may not pick up on social cues in the same way as a more “Extraverted” or “Feeling” personality type might. One of the most important ways to help an INTJ function optimally is to provide them adequate time to process independently and recharge. Having multiple meetings back-to-back can be exhausting for INTJs and can lead to inefficiencies. In the same vein, while others may value team building activities or group outings, INTJs may instead view them as distractions or even impositions on their time. Having conversations about INTJs’ preferences can help set explicit expectations and build good will.
When they communicate with others, INTJs express themselves in a logical and linear fashion that reflects their thought process. They typically support their opinions and positions with empirical observations and data, and voice themselves assertively even if they have unpopular opinions or meet resistance. INTJs may benefit from consciously trying to share their creative insights as well, and even present their cohesive vision for others to understand. In doing so, they invite their team members to glimpse the big picture that they are working towards, which in turn provides others the context they need to make specific and meaningful contributions.
INTJs and Operational Efficiency
The success of organizations, regardless of how large or small they are, hinges on team members working together and operating in an efficient manner. Every single contributor and team member provides unique skills and input, which varies with their MBTI® type. Understanding one’s personality type in advance can help predict what different individuals may bring to the table, how they may work together as a team, and what steps should be taken to streamline communication.
INTJs bring a dedicated work ethic and strong logical reasoning skills to their teams. They are highly organized, and benefit when every aspect of a project is run efficiently, from meeting agendas to team hierarchies to evaluations of success. They dislike delays, especially those which are preventable. As a result, they prefer to be notified as early as possible if a specific task requires that they learn new information or develop new skills, so they can begin their professional development well before the project due date. As with any other demand on their time, INTJs approach training skeptically. They benefit when learning objectives are clearly presented and when the training is organized around being able to achieve a specific goal. In other words, INTJs are most invested and motivated in their learning when they know upfront what they will be able to do at the end of the training and how their newly acquired knowledge will help them accomplish that task more efficiently or effectively than they would have been able to without the training. Furthermore, because of their natural skepticism, INTJs appreciate trainings that include expert opinions, testimonials, and other input.
Using the MBTI® in the Workplace
The first step to strategic application of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator® in professional contexts is the assessment itself. Once each individual’s results are analyzed, they and their supervisors will be provided with a detailed report that delves into their MBTI® type, how it may shape their behavior or preferences, and strategies their teams and peers can employ to communicate with them more effectively. For example, a manager may choose to adopt different reward structures or coaching tactics with an INTJ employee than with employees of other personality types, in order to motivate them or help them function more efficiently.
Introduction To Type in Organizations (Hirsh, S. & Kummerow, J. CPP Inc., 1998)