The INTJ personality type is someone with Introverted, Intuition, Thinking, and Judging personality traits. These people are fiercely independent and determined. They are forward-thinking and highly analytical.
The INTJ personality type is the least common among the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types. 4.1% of the population are INTJs.
INTJs are dedicated problem-solvers. But they’re not content with solving individual problems. They like to analyze how one solution could affect and improve multiple systems. They are strategic by nature and excel at planning.
People with the INTJ personality type are visionaries. They are inventive and aren’t afraid to question the status quo. They are also ambitious and want to be successful. They want their significant intellect, insight, and intuition to be put to practical use.
INTJs enjoy complex projects that are intellectually stimulating. Analytical and curious, INTJs thrive when faced with wicked problems. INTJs are critical thinkers. They are interested in understanding the theories and principles behind the things they observe.
People with the INTJ personality type are excellent strategists. They can easily see the bigger picture. Their analytical competence makes it easy for them to absorb high volumes of complex theoretical data.
They’re not theorists themselves, however. INTJs really care about making a difference in the world. They like to tackle tricky problems in order to deliver meaningful outcomes. They are quick to spot where systems can be optimized, even those that are messy or complicated.
INTJs are not interested in superficial discussions or research. They enjoy digging deep into challenging problems in order to understand and solve them. INTJs are happy to contribute to brainstorming or blue-sky thinking activities if it moves them closer to achieving their goals. Otherwise, they will quickly disengage.
People with the INTJ personality type can struggle in early-career roles that don’t offer them enough challenges. This isn’t helped by their distaste for office politics. INTJs would never attend networking events in order to progress their career.
INTJs have a thirst for intellectual advancement, however. This means they will eagerly take part in professional development opportunities where they can see the value.
INTJs, like many people with the Introverted trait, can find socializing and small talk challenging. In fact, INTJs have a healthy disdain for the water cooler conversations and workplace gossip that make the office go round.
INTJs hate anything that slows them down or gets in the way of their goals. Meetings, interruptions from colleagues, and any type of team-building activity irritate an INTJ.
Like all of us, INTJ personality types have intrinsic traits that influence their motivation for working in a certain way and within specific work environments.
At F4S, we’ve identified 48 traits that influence motivation and energy levels. Understanding these traits can help you choose job roles, cultures, and workplace environments that will enable you to thrive.
These preferences are intrinsic. But we don’t always have the luxury of finding a workplace or way of working that exactly matches our needs. Coaching can help you build skills and resilience when you need to perform in a work environment less suited to your preferences.
Our 8-week coaching program, 'Increase EQ', can help INTJs develop their emotional intelligence. This helps them become more aware of the feelings and sensitivities of others. This can support them in building the effective working relationships they sometimes need to get the job done.
A perfectionist by nature, INTJs hold themselves and others to extremely high standards. They can be critical if others don’t work to these standards or ‘waste’ time on activities they judge unimportant.
INTJs are the happiest working independently or within a small group of capable, productive colleagues. They build professional relationships based on competence, not emotion. With colleagues who can match their drive and intellect, INTJs are proactive and enthusiastic collaborators. They can be dismissive of contributions they don’t respect.
INTJs like working within logical and structured work environments. But, INTJs can be stifled by bureaucracy, rules they don’t value or rigid processes. They will almost certainly use their intellect to argue against them!
To get the most from an INTJ colleague, challenge their analytical mind with complex problems or strategic planning tasks. Enable them to work autonomously or within a small, motivated group. Where possible, shield them from more trivial activities like meetings and team-building activities. Pick your battles when mandating specific ways of working.
INTJ personality types are happiest in careers that stretch their intellect and tap into their strategic nature. Like all the personality types, INTJs can be found in a range of careers and industries.
However, they are likely to be most satisfied in jobs where they can apply their analytical ability to solve complex problems in order to make a positive difference. INTJs gravitate towards STEM professions. But, the creative arts can provide an outlet for their innovative nature. Applied research, analyst roles, and any career that presents an intellectual challenge or sparks their curiosity is also a good choice.
Top career matches for INTJs include:
INTJs can be sub-categorized into assertive or turbulent identities. These identities affect all of the four elements that make up an INTP personality type.
Within the constraints of their overall type, assertive identities tend to be less perceptive but let go of worries more easily. Turbulent identities tend to be more sensitive to the feelings of others. But they can become overwhelmed worrying about things outside their control.
These two sub-categories bring a little more nuance to elements of the INTJ personality type. For example, all INTJs feel confident in their own intellect and competence. However, INTJ-T types tend to be more thorough in applying their capabilities. This is because INTJ-Ts tend to worry more about how their abilities are perceived. This can motivate INTJ-Ts to work more diligently and obtain greater levels of success than INTJ-As.
That’s not to say INTJ-As aren’t ambitious. Like all INTJs, they value achievement. INTJ-As tend to be internally, rather than externally motivated, however. This internal drive can make INTJ-As more rigid than their INTJ-T counterparts. INTJ-Ts are more willing to flex their personal goals and priorities if they see that would lead to greater overall improvements.
This adaptability allows INTJ-Ts to collaborate more easily with others. All INTJs value logical reasoning over emotions. But, INTJ-Ts' deep desire for improvement at all costs means they work harder to get buy-in from others. This may enable them to get better, more consistent results than INTJ-As.
INTJ-As value their autonomy. They are motivated by confidence in their own intellect and rationale. They are happy to overstep others' authority if it means the job gets done. This means INTJ-As are highly-efficient. When results do come, they come quickly. This maximizes the cost-benefit ratio.
Given these nuances, let’s look at how some of the careers we mentioned above might suit the two identity sub-categories:
INTJs thrive in careers that require them to analyze and improve complex systems. People with the INTJ personality type want to use their intellect to make a difference in the world.
Some science and healthcare roles are extremely well-paid. The salaries for surgeons can vary, but the average comes in at US$413,470. Political scientists can earn US$122,510, and engineers US$115,470.
The analytical skill of INTJs can also lead to some higher-paying roles. The average base salary for statisticians is US$87,861, and for business analysts, it’s US$80,768.
Other highly-paid options include:
At F4S, we don’t think about strengths and weaknesses the same way as the MBTI test does. We believe that strengths and weaknesses are often situation-dependent. We prefer to look at what motivates you vs. what drains your energy. These elements might overlap with what Myers-Briggs describes as strengths and weaknesses, but not always.
For example, perhaps (like many INTJs) you enjoy forensically examining complex organizational systems. You like to think strategically about how individual solutions could apply to a wide range of challenges. You enjoy the time and space to plan out how to achieve your goals.
However, your organizational culture emphasizes teamwork. A lot of time is spent engaging in team-building and social activities. It’s common for people to bond by sharing personal information about their family, pets, and hobbies. Being collaborative is prized as highly as competence.
You become irritated by how much time is wasted on tasks you perceive as unimportant. It frustrates you that solutions are often deemed ‘good enough’ and that long-term planning is sporadic. Your strengths don’t end up shining.
Equally, perhaps there is something you love doing, that motivates and energizes you, but you’re not very skilled at it yet. It might not be considered an innate ‘strength’, but you’re way more likely to enjoy your career choice if you can find a job with some elements of that activity.
That said, here are some INTJ ‘strengths and weaknesses’ as listed by MBTI:
Would you like to learn more about MBTI? Help uncover the unique talents of MBTI using our evidenced-based motivational work assessment. F4S is conducting research to build upon the existing understanding of MBTI personality theory. Take our survey.
Our Myers-Briggs personality type offers insight into our likely preferences for how we work and what type of careers we might enjoy. However, it’s important to note that any personality type can be successful across all industries and job roles.
Our preferences may mean certain types of work and work environments are more challenging for us. But, if you’re highly motivated to pursue a particular career path, there’s no reason you can’t excel.
Motivation is personal and complicated. There can be both internal and external drivers for motivation. Increased self-awareness helps you identify the internal traits that drive your preferences for how, where, and when you work.
At F4S, we recommend starting with our free self-assessment to unlock insights about where your talents lie. This can help you understand how to harness your preferences to create a satisfying and successful career.
Sometimes there are also strong external motivating factors. For example, a lucrative pay packet, comprehensive benefits, or the ability to work from a specific location.
External motivations may result in you working in an environment that jars with your intrinsic motivation. Personal development programs and coaching can help you rachet up the skills needed to excel when working in ways less suited to your preferences.
So, if there is something you’re excited about trying, you should definitely explore it, even if your MBTI result suggests you might be better suited to something else.
INTJs thrive in intellectually-challenging environments. They enjoy solving complex problems with comprehensive analysis. They are visionaries and often spot how to improve things far ahead of others. Jobs where superficial analysis is deemed ‘good enough’ will irritate INTJs. They will also find more social workplaces and emotional colleagues difficult to handle.
Given this, some roles typically have work environments or approaches that may be more challenging for INTJs. Remember, this list is just a guideline of job types you might not enjoy or may find draining. It doesn’t mean you won’t excel at them.
The following career paths may be less suited to INTJ personality types:
As we mentioned above, here at F4S, we’re fascinated by what motivates people. When considering leadership, it’s important to reflect on these three particular traits:
If you enjoy power and control, you will likely thrive in a leadership role. If belonging is important to you, then a leadership position may feel isolating.
INTJ personality types aren’t overly interested in exerting power over others. Developing subordinates through feedback and being responsible for managing their output isn’t something an INTJ would find appealing. They’re unlikely to be interested in gaining leadership roles within a traditional, hierarchical structure.
People with an INTJ personality type do enjoy the strategic nature of more senior roles. But they prefer to contribute to business planning and long-range forecasting in roles that don’t require the management of others. Strategy consultant or business analyst roles would suit them better.
INTJs are fiercely independent. Autonomy in the work they choose and how they approach it is very important to them. INTJs are certainly motivated by achievement. But, this only extends as far as their personal goals. More senior roles may seem appealing if they enable INTJs to pursue their own projects with fewer barriers.
INTJs loathe micromanagement. When they do hold leadership positions, INTJs empower their team members. They encourage them to drive work forward with minimal oversight. This style is well-received by competent, mature individuals. Early-career team members or those who feel less confident might feel lost without greater levels of direction and support.
Our eight-week development program ‘Multiply Your Impact’ can help INTPs begin to appreciate the contribution of others. This program is personalized to work with your innate preferences helping you to lead with greater effectiveness irrespective of personality type.
Working within a team is unlikely to be the first choice of any INTJ. Their desire for independence and confidence in their own capabilities makes working alone infinitely preferable.
Some INTJs, especially INTJ-Ts, do understand the impact being collaborative can have on outcomes. For these INTJs, the opportunity to make a positive change outweighs their discomfort in having to bring others on board.
If INTJs respect the abilities of their colleagues, they will engage in group activities, such as brainstorming. But, INTJs will be happy to critique any ideas they find illogical. And they’ll quickly disengage if they perceive the session as a waste of time.
Relentlessly curious, they are not afraid to challenge the status quo. They’re happy to shake up established ways of working if they can see room for improvement. This can feel unsettling to team members who deal less well with volatility.
Any emotional response will prove baffling to an INTJ. If there’s a logical rationale for doing something, they can’t understand why others would be upset at making the change. Confident, pragmatic colleagues will appreciate their clarity of thought and diligent analysis. INTJs can be persuasive in their reasoning.
INTJs despise office politics. They are disinterested in networking. INTJs will have a healthy disdain for colleagues who schmooze with the boss in order to impress them. INTJs work best in teams of mature, skilled colleagues who are motivated by improvement.
From the British economist John Maynard Keynes to the hip-hop artist Jay-Z, INTJs are recognized for their visionary ideas and desire for improvement.
Here are some famous INTJs:
Editor’s note: Do you recognize yourself in any of these famous people? Are you secretly nodding along, going, “I always thought I was just like Russell Crowe?” Whether you are or you aren’t, don’t worry! This list is meant to be fairly light-hearted. It is based on traits and behaviors observed in our favorite celebs rather than in-depth research. After all, it’s unlikely anyone actually put Sir Isaac Newton through an MBTI test!