The INFP personality type (as outlined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® Assessment, or MBTI® Test) is the Introverted Feeling with Extraverted Intuition type. Individuals with the INFP type preference use their personal beliefs and morals to influence their choices and relations. They are perceptive, compassionate, nurturing, and optimistic. MBTI test-assessed INFP types acknowledge and consider the feelings and mental well-beings of their peers, even if those people have not come to those conclusions themselves. They are great nurturers, and truly wish to have their career benefit their personal well-being and progression as an individual, as well at those of others. In the workplace, INFP types show their strengths by:
- Stick by their word when it comes to completing tasks for others or for their company
- Enjoy discussing potential ways of changing the world for the better, as well as learning new procedures or standards that could be beneficial for the environment and the population—can often be applied to changes in the workplace as well
- Use small units of liveliness towards their projects, and when these moments occur, their intensity is unmatched
- Always look towards the future, making sure that the outlook of their projects is successful for years to come
- Optimistic, inquisitive, and innovative
- Find underlying and unseen patterns with ease
INFP Types Are Curious About People in General
Myers-Briggs test INFP personality types are enthralled by the inner workings of the human mind and how individual characteristics are expressed across different people. Part of this is probably due to their own fixation with their inner beliefs. An MBTI Test Test -assessed INFP types beliefs are very important to them, and when they speak about them, they are very passionate, which can catch some of their peers who are used to a hushed INFP off guard.
Because they are so reserved and introverted, INFP types are choosy about who they open up to about their inner most thoughts and beliefs, which can make others view them as reflective and authentic. INFP personality types find friendships that stimulate several levels of their personality very important, and if another person takes the time out of their day to work toward listening and comprehending an INFP types beliefs, then the INFP will most likely value that friendship that much more. The INFP type also enjoys teaching others about what they believe (once they feel comfortable enough to open themselves up in that way), and make sure to exhibit their beliefs in the outside world.
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INFP Types Do Not Tolerate the Mundane
Because of their inherent need to work towards something fulfilling, MBTI test -assessed INFP types don’t enjoy completing mundane tasks or the restraints that come from rigorous schedules or procedures. Unfortunately, because of this, the INFP personality type may not fully develop certain ideas or see projects to completion and prefer temporary enthusiasm for small things, meaning that they may never really accomplish anything that they start. This can cause them to become disheartened at their inability to complete anything that means something to them because they are so easily distracted.
Also, because of their introversion, Myers-Briggs test INFP personality types may not understand what is happening in the world around them, and therefore may not be able to apply their outside observations to their decision making, choosing instead to use their beliefs as a sole basis for their choices. This ultimately can lead to unreasonable and poorly thought out decisions, especially when the situation calls for an objective point of view.
Another result of their introversion is that MBTI test -assessed INFP types may find it difficult to communicate their feelings aloud, choosing instead to keep things inside in case they say something wrong or out of place. They may also fail to fully fill anyone in on their thoughts or beliefs for fear of what they will think. Bottling up these emotions is never a good thing, and can cause problems in the workplace and in an INFP types personal life. By taking time to think through the facts before making a decision and by working towards being more vocal about their feelings, Myers-Briggs Test -assessed INFP types can become more open and happy in many areas of their lives.[All above information was referenced from the following publication- (Isabel Briggs Myers, 1998, CPP Inc.)]
Ideal Career Types: Creativity and Innovation
Individuals that share the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator INFP personality type are great creative-types and nurturers. Because of their innovative nature, INFP types often succeed in jobs within different fields of the arts, mainly language, visual, and performing. Job titles such as art director, technical writer, writer, artist, musician, composer, music director, singer, and graphic designer can often be seen with INFP’s. INFP’s also truly enjoy helping people, making them proficient in careers such as research assistant, psychiatrist, and veterinary assistant (Allen L. Hammer, 1993, CPP Inc.).
One of the most important skills that an INFP must develop in order to succeed in any career is to make their short-term goals just as important as their long-term ones, and to put as much energy and planning into both. The short-term goals will ultimately help a MBTI Assessment Test -assessed INFP type achieve their more expansive goals, so taking the time to plan out these smaller goals is incredibly important. Take the time to make a list of main concerns and devise plans to efficiently and fully complete these.
Another very important action for MBTI test -assessed INFP types to work toward is to allow themselves to open up to others in the workplace and in their personal lives. Whether you start with your own network and work outwards, or if you feel comfortable creating a completely new network altogether, by getting to know the people you work with and the people who will be working toward the same goals as you overtime, you can develop a strong-knit team that will understand each others’ strengths and weaknesses, making obtaining your goals that much easier.
Lastly, INFP personality types need to learn when to separate their emotions from the situations that need an analytical, unbiased eye. The beliefs of an INFP type are incredibly important and should not be disregarded completely, but by allowing empirical evidence to aid you in your endeavors, you will be able to make more well-thought-out decisions and will ultimately gain more trust from the other individuals involved. By incorporating these skills into your everyday life, you can become a much more focused and exemplary coworker and employee.
Click on one of these corresponding popular INFP Careers for detailed information including Career Stats, Income Stats, Daily Tasks and Required Education: Audiovisual Specialist, Broadcast Technician, Craft Artist, Film or Video Editor, Fine Artist, Food Preparation Worker, Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners, Occupational Therapist, Proofreader or Copyeditor, Technical Writer.
Further Understanding INFPs
Myers-Briggs ® INFPs are ultimately guided by their internal values, and they look for ways to live out their values in every aspect of their professional and personal lives, from their workplace performance to their personal relationships. They are highly sensitive to others’ emotions, and make a concerted effort to make sure their own and others’ emotional needs are met. In this way, INFPs can be a supportive and caring part of any team.
MBTI ® INFPs tend to seem quiet or reserved to others, especially those who do not know them well, or who only interact with them from time to time or in larger groups. INFPs enjoy reading and discussing complex topics with others who are close to them, and are quick to notice connections among seemingly unrelated ideas. They also take their personal relationships very seriously, and tend to have a small group of closely-knit friends rather than large circles of acquaintances. While they may seem distant, they are actually highly observant and extremely loyal to those who are close to them.
One challenge that INFPs may face is a disconnect between their lofty ideals and challenging goals, and their abilities to implement them. To overcome this challenge, INFPs may need to make a particular effort to develop their analytical thinking – their ability to break down complex, long-term tasks into small benchmark components. Along the way, they will also need to learn how to delegate smaller component tasks. This ability will also affect their learning and leadership styles as well, as they tend to value interpersonal relationships over output or production and may be concerned about assigning challenging or less positive tasks to others.
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INFPs’ Learning Style: Reflective and Personal
INFPs use their internal compass and intuition to help them evaluate information and make informed decisions. They are motivated above all by their interpersonal and human values, and value information and initiatives that will improve the lives of others in the real world. For this reason, much of their learning takes place beyond the immediate scope of the classroom, instead exploring possible applications and their implications outside of the classroom is usual practice for an INFP. If they do need to spend time in a classroom or simulated workshop, INFPs tend to prefer individualized, personalized approaches. They need to have the time and flexibility to reflect on the material and to make connections between new material and information they already know. Because so much of this process is internal, INFPs often find it difficult to jump straight into group discussions or projects, being that in these cases there is little time for individual engagement with the material.
Because Myers-Briggs ® INFPs are such personal learners, having a strong relationship with their instructor or coach is extremely important. They excel in environments and under tutelage in which their instructor knows them not only as a learner but also as an individual. As such, instructors need to be both competent and personal, genuinely caring about their students. These emotional aspects of learning are often more important for INFPs’ development than the format of presentation of the material, or even the content itself.
In the same way, INFPs also learn by building relationships with other learners. They enjoy hearing others’ experiences and stories, and benefit from small-group or paired discussions, especially after being given the opportunity to reflect on the material individually first. If they find themselves in a larger group, they may seem shy or reserved, and will often wait to be invited to participate before offering their own input, especially when interacting with new people. However, if they are more comfortable and familiar with their peers, then they are willing to give input more readily, particularly when others work at a similar pace as they do.
While INFPs can be somewhat sensitive when it comes to receiving feedback, at the end of the day how the feedback is delivered will almost always be more important than the content of the feedback itself. INFPs can be very open, even appreciative of corrective feedback, if it is delivered in a compassionate, caring manner, since improving themselves is very important to them. However, if feedback comes across as harsh or judgmental, INFPs may react poorly and take it personally, rather than understanding that the purpose of feedback is to improve one’s own output and correct one’s mistakes. A little bit of support and self-affirmation goes a long way with INFPs.
INFPs’ Leadership Style: Supportive and Big-Picture
One of INFPs’ greatest challenges as leaders is to strike a balance between what is best for their clients and what will most benefit their business or organization. They are highly committed and dedicated to their moral values, and make an effort to create a positive impact that improves everyone’s situation, from their employees and co-workers to their clients to the community in general. This emphasis on finding mutually beneficial ways of tackling even the most complex problems is also a result of their careful consideration of others’ feelings and needs. However, a major limitation of this is not only their tendency to consider others’ needs until their own are no longer met, either emotionally or financially, but they may also risk entertaining too many options. While considering others’ input can be important, it can also result in grinding decision-making to a halt – when INFPs try to make everyone happy, sometimes no one is. The most important thing is to strike a balance – to make others feel welcome, trusted, and supported, without losing control of an organization or team.
When it comes to long term goals, INFPs have a strong drive to produce the highest quality product possible. They rarely get entangled in bureaucratic processes, and at the end of the day, their focus is on achieving the best possible outcomes for their clients and their employees. However, this level of positivity can sometimes lead to insecurity and the feeling of taking even mild constructive feedback personally, especially if they feel that they are being judged, that they are being thought less of, or that they are not being adequately supported. Another concern is that when things are not going well, especially in terms of giving feedback to others, INFPs may attempt to avoid direct conversations, which some personality types may find indecisive or unhelpful. As INFPs continue to grow and develop as leaders, they should make an effort to establish a social presence, and a more authoritative voice in the workplace. Learn to give concrete, specific feedback, and how to say no in a kind and supportive way. Spreading resources too thinly may dilute your efforts and make achieving lasting results impossible.
INFPs’ Emotional Outlook: Grounded and Aware
INFPs above all are passionate individuals. They care deeply about causes and ideals that benefit others and the world around them, and are dedicated to building bridges to accomplish and achieve these goals. They are highly self-aware emotionally, and are willing to persevere through the most daunting challenges with time and patience. They are also sensitive to their own internal emotional state and are often able to redirect their negative energy to creative outlets. That said, it is fairly rare that they lose control of themselves or get overly emotional unless they feel that their values or autonomy are being infringed upon or when others misconstrue their behavior as being actively malevolent.
INFPs take their performance and their output very seriously. They strive to excel and accept nothing but the very best from themselves and others. While sometimes giving them specific parameters to work within or criteria for evaluating work may be necessary, it is also important to give INFPs a level of flexibility in their environments. This is because they do best when they have the opportunity to explore optimal outcomes for themselves and are able to consider how various options will affect different stakeholders. This flexibility will give them the space they need for their imagination to operate, and for them to be able to bounce back and recover from setbacks without feeling judged or constrained. They often find that making mistakes privately is less stressful than doing so in front of others. That said, most of the time INFPs are able to manage their own stress even in flexible or dynamic situations, often because they have a level of trust in overall systems rather than a concern with microcosmic interactions.
When it comes to their interpersonal relationships, INFPs show a high degree of insights into the feelings of others and are highly empathetic and sensitive to others’ needs. They expend a significant amount of energy in ensuring their teams build close relationships with one another, and while they can be selective in choosing their own social engagements, are often enthusiastic about encouraging others to build relationships with one another. In their own personal lives, INFPs tend to be somewhat cautious and reserved, unsure about others’ intentions until they are overtly revealed. With a little bit of effort in developing their analytical skills and authoritative voice, INFPs can become valuable and compassionate contributors to any team or organization.
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INFP Personality Types in The Workplace
Introverted-Intuitive-Feeling-Perceiving (INFP) personality types tend to be warm, idealistic individuals who genuinely want to make a difference in the world and be part of a greater good. They are driven by work that contributes to their own personal growth and development as well as the growth and development of others, especially those who are vulnerable or who cannot care for themselves, such as young children and the elderly. INFPs care deeply about people and their emotional and psychological needs. They build close and long-lasting interpersonal relationships with many different kinds of people, and are genuinely curious about others, their values, and their stories. They are also highly perceptive, often seeing relationships and patterns in others’ lives and behaviors that they may not even be conscious of themselves. INFPs value creativity of thought and expression. They often enjoy music, art, literature, dance, and other creative outlets outside of the workplace. In the workplace, INFPs are imaginative and non-judgmental. They have a way of transforming a group of individuals into a team.
INFPs and Communication in The Workplace: Caring and Idealistic
INFPs communicate and build relationships with others instinctively. They are quiet, reserved listeners who have a natural talent for creating unity and harmony. They genuinely care about anyone and everyone with whom they interact, and respond to even the smallest concerns or gestures with concern and sensitivity. However, their more task-oriented co-workers may think INFPs spend too much time focused on social pleasantries or small talk with individuals, and not enough time working through meeting agendas or achieving team objectives. While valuing and paying attention to individuals’ personal and emotional needs is important, INFPs can become even more effective communicators by understanding that there is a time and place for centering discussions on objective team goals, particularly when a team is busy and tensions are running high. If you are an INFP, you might even ask a colleague or co-worker to keep you accountable and help you stay on topic during meetings.
INFPs’ communication style is also influenced by their idealistic, theoretical outlook. They tend to focus on the big picture, and resist honing in on specific details or aspects of a more complex issue. They might even get lost in abstract or philosophical questions about a general approach to a problem or an underlying cause of a situation, issues which may not have a correct or concrete answer at all. Furthermore, INFPs may even become irritated by team members who interpret statements too literally or focus on conversations too narrowly and concretely, even if those individuals need to understand the details to buy into INFPs’ larger proposal or ideas. If INFPs feel themselves getting frustrated, they should try taking a step back and trying to understand the motivation of the detail-oriented members of their group. They might find that for some people, the first step towards buying in to a theoretical or big picture orientation is to see how that position can be applied to a specific situation.
INFPs and Workplace Contributions: Building Teams and Driving Change
INFPs are an integral part of their organizations. They have a way of unifying individuals around a common goal or purpose and forging a cohesive team. Their idealism and passion are contagious and persuasive, and often drives organizational change. INFPs constantly push themselves and their team members to approach old problems in new, innovative ways. For example, if a team member suggests a traditional approach or hierarchical structure, an INFP might ask why the suggested approach is preferable. INFPs will typically expect others to give substantive justifications for their positions. They have little patience for adhering to standard operating procedures for their own sake or for the opinion that a functional approach should not be changed or improved upon. On the other hand, INFPs are also quite analytical themselves, and may spend so much time processing and analyzing the proposed change that they delay acting too much to be effective. In some situations, making a decision and taking an action is critical; there are times when the only wrong decision is no decision at all. Another shortcoming of INFPs is their tendency to concentrate so much on individuals’ feelings and personal needs that their organization’s bottom line suffers. While caring for individuals in the moment is of course important, INFPs may need to understand that an unhealthy team or organization cannot protect its employees.
INFPs also contribute to their organizations by seeing their potential and working tirelessly to help them realize their potential, one step at a time. This could be a gentle reminder to uphold their stated values, or asking whether a particular initiative is in line with the organization’s mission. They also enjoy catalyzing individual and organizational growth by publicizing employment opportunities, networking, or highlighting opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration. All of these efforts are part of INFPs’ inherent drive to help themselves and others grow and develop.
One of the subtler ways in which INFPs contribute to their workplace is in their diffusion of stress. They are nonjudgmental, patient individuals with a gentle sense of humor that others may find calming or at least distracting. They are also understanding and accepting of any allowances others may need in order to reduce their stress, for instance in taking a longer lunch break, or working remotely for a time. These concessions may frustrate others on their teams who feel that such consideration is excessive or not deserved, though from the INFP’s perspective maintaining the interpersonal relationship as well as the individual’s mental and physical well-being is worth the minor inconvenience.
INFPs and Workplace Culture: Flexible and Passionate
INFPs motivate and inspire others who are lucky enough to work with them. They are creative, sensitive, flexible people who pay attention to individuals rather than hierarchical structures. They work best in environments that reward and incentivize rather than punish this kind of flexibility. For example, INFPs tend to be more successful in flexible, nonbureaucratic organizations that have a cooperative, light-hearted atmosphere, as opposed to more traditional office environments with set working hours, a strict corporate dress code, and a deeply entrenched chain of command. The lack of routine gives INFPs the time and space they need to reflect on their projects and goals in private, as well as to build relationships with their colleagues and peers.
Just as important as the structure of the workplace itself are the personalities of the people who comprise it. INFPs enjoy working with individuals who are pleasant, committed, and value-driven. INFPs are focused and motivated by creating a tangible change in the world around them, and are inspired by others with similar passions. They enjoy pushing others to develop themselves as individuals, while still building closely connected team that is unified around common ideals. On occasion, a single INFP may become fiercely attached and impassioned by an ideal that others do not champion or even actively neglect. In that case, one should acknowledge and accept that others are not obligated to share identical values, and that compromise and negotiation may be the best option.
INFPs and Leadership in The Workplace: Facilitative and Supportive
INFPs take a facilitative approach to leadership. Rather than giving orders or making demands, they prefer to encourage people to act on their own ideals and make it possible for them to achieve their own goals and solve their own problems with relative independence. INFPs prefer to motivate others using praise and support rather than criticism or punishments. For example, if someone needs help to solve a problem, an INFP would likely ask what they think the best way to approach the issue is, work with them to develop a concrete action plan, and finally help them implement it. Along the way, the INFP leader would compliment them for making progress towards achieving their goals and improving their situation.
Because of their different leadership and motivational style, INFPs tend to prefer unique rather than conventional leadership roles. For instance, an INFP would likely be more comfortable as coach, teacher, or counselor rather than an executive at a major organization. They hesitate to share criticism, even if it is warranted or would help the recipient. Part of this hesitation may be rooted in their own tendency to become frustrated when they think others are micromanaging, nitpicking, or otherwise becoming lost in the details. As INFPs continue to grow and develop, they should consider when corrective feedback may be just as helpful than praise, or even more so. INFPs can also try the so-called “hamburger method” for giving constructive feedback: start with positive statement, then highlight an area of improvement and give specific action steps that the recipient can take, and finally close with another positive or motivating statement. This method allows you to help others improve their situation in specific ways while still staying positive and raising their morale.
INFPs’ greatest strength as leaders—their passion and consideration for others—is also their greatest weakness. INFPs may make such an effort to include everyone’s visions and desires that they lose focus on their goals and overcomplicate their vision, making it difficult if not impossible to take meaningful action. However, with a little focus and effort, they should be able to help others understand that prioritizing is essential to accomplishment.
INFPs and Problem Solving in The Workplace: Collaborative and Reflective
INFPs approach problems collaboratively. They prefer to review issues as a team or group, and allow every team member to voice their opinion or understanding of the situation first before moving on to brainstorming possible solutions, analyzing and discussing the benefits and downsides of each, and eventually reaching a group consensus on the best course of action. INFPs value taking the time for each team member to reflect on what is important to them and to closely consider how those values can be realized in any initiative or intervention undertaken. They value creative and non-traditional approaches that allow individuals to fully express themselves and realize their potential.
While this approach has great benefits and often resonates with more intuitive or feeling personality types, individuals who are more analytical may become frustrated by INFPs’ slow decision making and the fact that they consider anything other than the cold, hard facts of the case. On the other hand, INFPs may become frustrated by team members who they perceive to have presented their perspective in an overly hostile or aggressive manner, or who are pushing them to commit to a given course of action quickly, before they are able to fully assess the implications.
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INFPs and Areas of Growth in The Workplace:
INFPs are passionate, caring, driven leaders and shapers of their work environments and of the world around them. As they continue to grow and develop, a few small changes can make all the difference.
First, INFPs should understand that holding others accountable for their behavior and giving them targeted, constructive feedback is key to facilitating their growth and development. Individuals cannot improve their position or change their behavior in meaningful and effective ways if they do not know what changes they should be making. In addition to the “hamburger method” for giving feedback, try framing issues as areas of improvement or opportunities for growth rather than failures. Take the opportunity to give advice and strategies for improvement in a positive, supportive way rather than by being critical.
Second, make an effort to adhere more closely to deadlines, especially those that are imposed from a leader or supervisor. Also, keep in mind that direct reports or mentees may rely on the timelines they are given to plan their own workload or even their personal lives. Part of valuing and respecting other people is valuing and respecting their time.
Finally, remember to act. INFPs are often perfectionists, seeking to please everyone at once and ensure that nothing ever goes wrong. As a result, they tend to spend more time in reflection than in action. Your thoughts and ideas are valuable and have incredible potential. Remember to implement them.
Learn More About the MBTI® INFP Personality Type
Explore additional information that delves deeper into the INFP Personality Type by examining various personality and career based subjects:
- How the MBTI INFP Type relates to Innovation
- How the MBTI INFP Type relates to Project Management
- How the MBTI INFP Type relates to Emotional Intelligence
- How the MBTI INFP Type relates to Leadership
Click on a link below to read more about different MBTI Personality Types
Introduction to Type (Isabel Briggs Myers, 1998, CPP Inc.)
Introduction to Type and Careers (Allen L. Hammer, 2007, CPP Inc.)
Introduction to Type and Leadership (Richmond, S. CPP. 2008)
Introduction to Type and Learning (Dunning, D. CPP. 2008)
Introduction To Type® and Emotional Intelligence. (Pearman, R. CPP, 2002)
Introduction To Type in Organizations (Hirsh, S. & Kummerow, J. CPP Inc., 1998)