For today’s post I’ve decided to write about my Myers Briggs personality type, INTJ. I have been an INTJ for years. I first took this test back in college, when the executive board of one of the clubs I was leading was having great difficultly working together (to be honest only the vice president at the time was being difficult, the rest of us worked great together). Our adviser recommended we take this test and since then I’ve taken it multiple times. Recently I’ve taken it again and after seeing Tess Mayer’s post on her blog FromBrownEyes.com (here), I knew I had to do my own post.
Now, this post is going to be a long one so let’s get to it!
What am I talking about?
To explain what I’m talking about, I’ll start with what Myers Briggs is. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test was developed in the 1940s and 50s and published in 1962. The test determines four basic personality traits in you and then categorizes you accordingly. Here is a list of the personality traits from the MBTI website: Introvert(I)/Extrovert(E), Sensing(S)/Intuition(N), Thinking(T)/Feeling(F), Judging(J)/Perceiving(P).
So the first time I took this test I took the official one you have to pay for through MBTI. Because I did it for my student activities group they paid for it. This time around, I didn’t want to pay so I took the free test from 16personalities.com. I’ve always gotten INTJ but from what I hear you can get different types as you change through life. The 16personalities test adds a fifth category, Assertive (A) or Turbulent (T).
Recently I actually asked a coworker to take it with me. In my mind we were so different I was surprised with how well we worked together. I also mentioned this to my boss and she then asked our entire department to take it. I’m glad that we did, since I think it helped us realize how we can work together a tad bit better. Also, most of this team has been working together for about three years now; only myself and one other person joined within the past year. This test also helped me get to know my team a little better, as it can be hard to do sometimes since they’re so close.
So about the INTJ type that I keep telling you I fall into. My personality trait is labelled as “The Architect” and described on the 16personalities website as “Imaginative and strategic thinkers with a plan for everything”. I am 63% Introverted, 68% Intuitive, 86% Thinking, 72% Judging, and 57% Assertive.
In regards to each one, I was surprised to see how low I scored as an Introvert, I definitely expected it to be around the high 70-80 percentage. However, in my recent years I have been developing more extroverted traits, so I suppose that’s affected my score.
I was not so surprised at the Intuitive score though, I’ve always been around the middle in that one and am working on becoming more intuitive. I was also not surprised by my Thinking and Judging scores, those are the types I like and I intend to keep them there. Thinking means that I tend to prefer logic and deficiency in meeting objectives rather than seeking cooperation and trying to spare everyone’s feelings. Judging means that I’m more decisive and organized rather than improvising and favoring flexibility.
I’m also more Assertive, and I’m not surprised this one is the the middle. If anything I used to be Turbulent, someone who is more sensitive to stress and often thought of as a “perfectionist”. However I’ve been making strides to be Assertive and it seems to be paying off! I can feel myself trying to slide back to Turbulence though so I might take the test again in a few months to see where I am in this category.
How do I feel about being INTJ?
INTJ PERSONALITY (“THE ARCHITECT”)
It’s lonely at the top, and being one of the rarest and most strategically capable personality types, INTJs know this all too well. INTJs form just two percent of the population, and women of this personality type are especially rare, forming just 0.8% of the population – it is often a challenge for them to find like-minded individuals who are able to keep up with their relentless intellectualism and chess-like maneuvering. People with the INTJ personality type are imaginative yet decisive, ambitious yet private, amazingly curious, but they do not squander their energy.
Overall I’m happy to be INTJ-A. I like that there’s not many more of me running around and that I’ve found a way that explains me perfectly. I find it interesting and, although many people don’t understand me, I wouldn’t want to change it for any other type.
With a natural thirst for knowledge that shows itself early in life, INTJs are often given the title of “bookworm” as children. While this may be intended as an insult by their peers, they more than likely identify with it and are even proud of it, greatly enjoying their broad and deep body of knowledge.
Strengths and Weaknesses of INTJ
- Quick, Imaginative, and Strategic mind
- High Self Confidence
- Independent and Decisive
- Hard Working and Determined
- Open Minded
- Jacks of all trades
- Over analytical
- Loathe highly structured environments
- Clueless in romance
I would agree with all of these, even the weaknesses. I’ve been working on being less arrogant and judgmental because I do want to get along with people sometimes. Otherwise I agree with, and like, all the other strengths and weaknesses I have. Yes, I like being over analytical. I also am okay with disliking highly structured environments and being clueless in romance.
Workplace Habits, Career Paths, and Other Situations
Now the website goes into more details on how your personality type is in regards to emotions, romantic relationships, friendships, and parenthood. All interesting but I think I’ll focus on workplace habits more as I did take this test for work, so that’s where my mind is right now. I’ll still add little bits on the other categories though.
INTJ IN THE WORKPLACE
Above all else, INTJs want to be able to tackle intellectually interesting work with minimal outside interference, no more, no less. Time-consuming management techniques like trust-building getaways, progress meetings, and drawn-out, sandwiched criticisms are only going to annoy INTJs – all they need, be they subordinate, colleague, or manager, is to meet their goals with the highest standard of technical excellence and to be surrounded by, if anyone at all, people who share those values.
INTJs have a fairly strict code of conduct when it comes to their work, and if they see coworkers valuing social activities and “good enough” workmanship over absolute excellence, it will be a turbulent environment. For this reason, INTJs tend to prefer to work in tight, like-minded groups – a group of one, if necessary.
I like how the website goes into so much effort to say “you’re difficult to work with”!
INTJs are independent people, and they quickly become frustrated if they find themselves pushed into tightly defined roles that limit their freedom. With the direction of a properly liberal manager, INTJs will establish themselves in a position of expertise, completing their work not with the ambition of managerial promotion, but for its own intrinsic merit. INTJs require and appreciate firm, logical managers who are able to direct efforts with competence, deliver criticism when necessary, and back up those decisions with sound reason.
Note that it is INTJs’ expectations of their managers that are being defined here, and not the other way around, as with some other personality types. Titles mean little to INTJs – trust and respect are earned, and INTJs expect this to be a two way street, receiving and delivering advice, criticisms and results. INTJs expect their managers to be intelligent enough and strong enough to be able to handle this paradigm. A silent INTJ conveys a lack of respect better than all their challenges ever will.
I do agree with this for the most part. I think working hard and being recognized in the form of respect is extremely important. However, I do work with the expectation that I’ll receive a promotion when it is due. I believe that has to do with the fact that women don’t get promoted in the same way as men do, and I’m very aware of that.
Active teamwork is not ideal for people with the INTJ personality type. Fiercely independent and private, INTJs use their nimble minds and insight to deflect personal talk, avoid workplace tension, and create situations where they aren’t slowed down by those less intelligent, less capable, or less adaptable to more efficient methods.
INTJs are brilliant analysts, and will likely gather a small handful of trusted colleagues to involve in their brainstorming sessions, excluding those who get too hung up on details, or who otherwise have yet to earn their respect. But more likely, INTJs will simply take the initiative alone – INTJs love embracing challenges and their consequent responsibilities, and their perfectionism and determination usually mean that the work comes out clean and effective, affording INTJs the twin joys of solitude and victory.
Again, difficult to work with! And it’s true, I’ll exclude people who I don’t trust to be productive enough to get the work done. I might think that person is great and enjoy having them around, but if they’re not going to do the job right, I’ll just find someone who can. Although I do prefer to do the work myself if no one else is capable.
Though they may be surprised to hear it, INTJs make natural leaders, and this shows in their management style. INTJs value innovation and effectiveness more than just about any other quality, and they will gladly cast aside hierarchy, protocol and even their own beliefs if they are presented with rational arguments about why things should change. INTJs promote freedom and flexibility in the workplace, preferring to engage their subordinates as equals, respecting and rewarding initiative and adopting an attitude of “to the best mind go the responsibilities”, directing strategy while more capable hands manage the day-to-day tactics.
But this sort of freedom isn’t just granted, it’s required – those who are accustomed to just being told what to do, who are unable to direct themselves and challenge existing notions, will have a hard time meeting INTJs’ extremely high standards. Efficiency and results are king to INTJs, and behaviors that undermine these conditions are quashed mercilessly.
I have yet to be a manager but I have always been told I’m a great leader. I have had many opportunities in the past to fine tune my skills as a student leader, having led many teams, presentations, organizations, and more. I do tend to give a lot of freedom, if someone took on a task and said they weren’t done with it I’d say “get it done” and that’s it. I wouldn’t follow up on a constant basis, it was their responsibility. If they were taking a long time it was better be because they were making sure they were doing a good job of it. And if they were slacking, well, that trust goes away very quickly and takes a long, long time to recover.
Professional competence is often the area in which INTJs shine most brilliantly. Their capacity for digesting difficult and complex theories and principles and converting them into clear and actionable ideas and strategies is unmatched by any other type. INTJs are able to filter out the noise of a situation, identifying the core thread that needs to be pulled in order to unravel others’ messes so that they can be rewoven into something at once beautifully intricate and stunningly simple in its function.
I love working on my own so I understand what this means. The smaller the group, the better. Then I’m able to work hard on what I need to get done as opposed to worrying about team meetings and endless streams of questions from peers.
In romance, people with the INTJ personality type approach things the way they do with most situations: they compose a series of calculated actions with a predicted and desirable end goal – a healthy long-term relationship.
INTJs are brilliantly intellectual, developing a world in their heads that is more perfect than reality. People entering this world need to fit this fantasy, and it can be incredibly difficult for INTJs to find someone up to the task. Needless to say, finding a compatible partner is the most significant challenge most INTJs will face in life.
I’m not in a relationship and have no desire to be so I’m cool with all this. Actually I’ve never been in a relationship period. Oh, there’s a section on parenting but I don’t want kids so I’ll skip that.
People with the INTJ personality type tend to have more success in developing friendships than they do with romantic relationships, but they none-the-less suffer from many of the same setbacks, substituting rational processes for emotional availability. This intellectual distance tends to go both ways, making INTJs notoriously difficult to read and get to know, and making INTJs not want to bother reading anyone they think isn’t on their level.
I like this part because it’s very true. I like having close friends and while I expect a lot from them, they get a lot from me. There’s more information on the website where it also says that it’s not easy to become good friends with INTJs. That’s very true. Everyone has potential but apparently they need to keep up with me to get to the top of my friends list!
INTJ PERSONALITY – CONCLUSION
Few personality types are as mysterious and controversial as INTJs. Possessing intellect and strategic thinking that allow them to overcome many challenging obstacles, INTJs have the ability to both develop and implement a plan for everything, including their own personal growth.
Yet INTJs can be easily tripped up in areas where careful and rational thinking is more of a liability than an asset. Whether it is finding (or keeping) a partner, making friends, reaching dazzling heights on the career ladder or adapting to the unpredictable, INTJs need to put in a conscious effort to develop their weaker traits and additional skills.
And that’s my INTJ life. Phew, that was a long one. Feel free to share your personality type below or to take the test yourself and see what your personality type says about you! I always have a blast doing this type of thing and I find this test is very eye opening and fun to go through.
Thanks for reading!