INTJs are self-assured analytical types with a great need to innovate to achieve their goals. They are usually very original, creative thinkers who need to feel and appear competent.
INTJs’ particular intellectual style comes from the interaction of their preferences for intuition and thinking. They are usually very gifted at seeing the big picture. They often talk about “mapping” things out in their head and seeing how things fit together. This makes them naturally drawn to systems-thinking or any type of thinking which requires facility with connection, abstraction and complexity. They are able to use these skills in the kind of careers which often attract them – architecture, law, and management. Many scientists and engineers have a preference for INTJ.
INTJs often appear to others first and foremost as thinking types. This is because thinking in all its forms – from critiquing to prioritising – is what INTJs most readily do when engaged with others. But at heart, they are primarily ideas people. It is when they spend time reflecting that INTJs find connections, operate on hunches, theorise and cultivate their vision. Unlike their outer life which is usually fairly structured and controlled, an INTJ’s inner life can sometimes seem a pretty chaotic maelstrom of possibilities and ideas.
Of all the types, INTJs are most motivated by “vision”. They have a great need to come up with a unifying idea of a future, improved state which is then their job to realise. This inner vision can be so strong for INTJs and so individual that they are often reckoned to be the most independent-minded of all the types. In other words, they will sometimes cling stubbornly to what they “know” to be true and they will refuse to listen to others.
INTJs have a great need to be purposeful. They need to feel they are continually achieving, moving towards their vision or improving their mastery or competence in some way. Time is truly “of the essence” for INTJs.
This often means that INTJs come across to others as potentially impatient and time-pressured. Of all the introvert types, INTJs reguarly communicate in ways which can make them appear like extraverts rather than introverts. For example, they tend to speak quickly and forcefully, putting a great deal of energy into their communications.
Their true introverted nature, however, can be seen in their need for privacy. To feel sane, INTJs must spend quality time alone. This may mean time for solitary pursuits or it may mean time for reading and writing. Like all NT types, they dislike social chit chat. If they are going to expend energy conversing they usually want it to be more puposeful than that. This means that INTJs can be difficult to really get to know.
Competence is an important issue for INTJs. They have a need to feel they are able to do everything very well and to appear competent to others. Many will say they will just not tackle jobs if they think they will not be very good at them. On the other hand, they can get bored easily and need to feel challenged.
As TJs they find it easy to keep their focus on being organised but like all NJ types their lack of attention to practical detail can mean their organisation falls apart slightly at the seams. They could misread their diary, for example, or pick up the wrong documents.
However, of all the N types, INTJs can sometimes be very good on detail if it is related in some way to the attainment of their bigger goal or if they feel their competence may be at stake in some way. Proof-reading documents, is a case in point. In these instances, they will go all out to ensure there are no mistakes.
The research on type preferences in the UK suggest that only 1.4% of the population have a preference for INTJ and that it is the least common type. It is not surprising then that most INTJs say that they are aware of being “different” from most of the people they meet.
Relationships, other than family and a few close personal friends, don’t usually matter greatly to INTJs yet they are often conscious of wanting to serve people in some way. Indeed many an INTJ’s vision is ultimately designed to make life better in some way for people.
But relationships with others can present a difficulty for INTJs. They know they cannot achieve their vision alone and they can drive others towards the same exacting standards of competence and commitment that they use for themselves. This can cause resentment, particularly if the INTJ has not learned to openly appreciate others and thank them for their efforts. Female INTJs often learn this lesson more readily than male INTJs.
Ultimately it is important for INTJs to keep their intuition within useful bounds. They must come to see that their inner vision is not always right. It can be overly abstract and impractical and not take adequate account of human feelings, frailties and values. They can become more effective if they learn to use their own thinking skills to critique their vision more and by soliciting and paying attention to other people’s views.
Words to describe INTJs
reflective global independent
determined innovative original
quick focused objective
theoretical logical structured
analytical critical private
Careers attractive to INTJs
Management positions of all kinds, particularly senior management. Architecture, law, engineering, science, social science, research, management consultancy, computing.
Needs at work
Anticipated work/team strengths
Potential problem areas
Likely areas for improvement
Common relationship Issues for INTJs
INTJs show caring by spending time with people discussing things of interest to them or doing something which stimulates both parties’ interests in some way.
INTJs like others to admire their intellectual abilities and their insights. They also like people to respect their need for privacy and time to reflect.
INTJ Type Dynamics
Dominant – intuition – introverted
Auxiliary - thinking - extraverted
Tertiary - feeling
Inferior - sensing
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© Carol Craig
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