INTJ Credo: "Seek first to understand"

INTJ Keywords: Analytical, Deep, Systems-oriented, Independent, Remote, Organised, Scheduled, Systematic, Logical, Visionary, Complex, Private

The INTJ is the patient visionary with a clear view of how the future should look and will work with quiet and logical determination to make it happen. Although quite deep, and mistrustful until they have the measure of people, the INTJ loves an intellectual challenge and will be stimulated by the conceptual, the abstract and the complex.

Facts and figures bore them, and they will be looking to see the 'bigger picture,' planning for the future that they create. Getting close to the INTJ will take some time, and they may not always involve others in the decision-making process. This can make them seem slightly detached, but it is simply that the processing which takes place, (and a great deal of processing takes place), goes on inside the head.

Unlike the ENTJ who will happily engage in verbal sparring and will be happy to process thoughts outside the head, the INTJ will be private and keep thought processes inside until they emerge with 'the plan of action.' This may the first opportunity for others to even realise that so much was going on 'inside.'

INTJs make decisions based on rational logic, rather than emotion and they will be quite measured in their approach to other people. They generally have strong opinions, are independent of thought and action and have no need to verbalise these, other than to declare the conclusions. This economy of information can be a handicap as it may leave members of the team feeling that they are 'on the outside.'

The INTJ’s dislike of the basic facts may, at times, work against them as they can make decisions based on their theories and concepts and at times they may overlook 'the obvious,' seeking instead the complex solution. However, they will generally trust their own judgments, especially as these have been considered, chewed-over and processed for a long time prior to being announced.

Original and complex, INTJs have active minds, directed internally and their intuitive trait, (the high ‘N’) enables them to see very clearly the interconnections between things and the longer term implications of trends, current actions and events. Innovative and analytical, INTJs have a unique talent for analysing complex problems and issues and determining how they can be improved, whether it be a small innocuous product or the whole organisation. Their favourite subject for improvement, however, is themselves and they are on a constant quest to learn, develop and progress.

Imaginative, quick and creative INTJs are intellectually curious who can grasp complex problems and data, analyse them quickly and come up with solutions. They are the strategic (as opposed to day-to-day) problem solvers preferring the big picture stuff to the mundane. They set high standards for themselves and love the novel, the difficult, and the complex.

However such is their introversion and high ‘N’ that they spend a great deal of their time in an internal world of complexity and imagination which can see them viewed as slightly eccentric or ‘not of this world,’ and this creates issues when they try to explain to mere mortals what it is they are working on. As they prefer the abstract and theoretical, ‘S’ like explanations are difficult for them and so others may perceive them as disconnected and a bit ‘boffin’ and intellectual, maybe even arrogant.

The emotional reactions of other people can also be difficult for an INTJ to gauge and they may therefore appear to others as insensitive and cold and to staff as neglectful of their ‘people’ responsibilities. The INTJ is a perfectionist and may also find it difficult when other people or projects etc do not come up to their high expectations and standards. This can make them seem ‘holier than thou’ and other folk may love it if they trip up (an unusual step for an INTJ!) Certainly the INTJ will not want to work as part of a large team and prefers an environment of solitude or with a small number of people who are as competent, diligent and quietly focused as they are.

Although quietness pervades, the INTJ is capable of being a real chatterbox - but not in general or small talk - only on issues which are important to them or which stimulate them. When an idea is fully formed (until it is the INTJ would prefer not to speak of it), the INTJ is prone to wax lyrical about it even to the extent of becoming an expert bore! An INTJ will choose to speak (if they choose to speak at all) only on issues close to their heads (very rarely their hearts), and have been known to hijack whole meetings and drag the agenda towards ‘their’ issues. Once the meeting is back on track, however, and the mundane, or factual is being discussed, the INTJ will again disappear into the intellectual cocoon and say very little.

To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of ‘definiteness’ of self-confidence. This self-projection, sometimes mistaken for simple arrogance by the less decisive, is actually of a very specific rather than a general nature. Its source lies in the specialised knowledge systems that most INTJs start building at an early age. When it comes to their own areas of expertise - and INTJs can have several - they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they clearly know what they don't know.

INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. What prevents them from becoming chronically bogged down in this pursuit of perfection is the pragmatism so characteristic of the type - INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the single criterion ‘does it work?’ to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake.

INTJs are often known as the ‘Systems Builders’ of the character types, perhaps in part because they possess the unusual trait combination of imagination and reliability. Whatever system an INTJ happens to be working on is for them the equivalent of a moral cause to an INFJ - both perfectionism and disregard for authority may come into play, as INTJs can be unsparing of both themselves and the others on the project.

Anyone considered to be ‘slacking,’ including ‘superiors,’ will lose their respect - and will generally be made aware of this. INTJs have also been known to take it upon themselves to implement critical decisions without consulting their managers or colleagues.

INTJs can rise to management positions when they are willing to invest time in marketing their abilities as well as enhancing them, and (whether for the sake of ambition or the desire for privacy) many also find it useful to learn to simulate some degree of surface conformism in order to mask their inherent unconventionality. Usually, however, they find this too tedious and energy-sapping.

INTJs are generally extremely private people, and can often be naturally impassive as well, which makes them easy to misread and misunderstand. Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense.

INTJs are ideas people. Anything is possible, everything is negotiable. Others may see what is and wonder why - INTJs see what might be and say ‘why not?!’ INTJs enjoy developing unique solutions to complex problems, and, conversely, if its’ not complex or interesting why should they bother?

In a team situation, the INTJ is the radical innovator, coming up with interesting theoretical ideas and good at ensuring the team covers all the bases. Although introverted, the INTJ can bring out very strong opinions, honed over much mulling around inside the head, and may surprise others by how much is 'in there.'

Famous INTJs

  • George Lucas
  • Dan Akroyd
  • Augustus Caesar