INTJ in a Nutshell
INTJs are analytical problem-solvers, eager to improve systems and processes with their innovative ideas. They have a talent for seeing possibilities for improvement, whether at work, at home, or in themselves.
Often intellectual, INTJs enjoy logical reasoning and complex problem-solving. They approach life by analyzing the theory behind what they see, and are typically focused inward, on their own thoughtful study of the world around them. INTJs are drawn to logical systems and are much less comfortable with the unpredictable nature of other people and their emotions. They are typically independent and selective about their relationships, preferring to associate with people who they find intellectually stimulating.
What Makes the INTJ Tick
INTJs are perceptive about systems and strategy, and often understand the world as a chess board to be navigated. They want to understand how systems work, and how events proceed: the INTJ often has a unique ability to foresee logical outcomes. They enjoy applying themselves to a project or idea in depth, and putting in concentrated effort to achieve their goals.
INTJs have a hunger for knowledge and strive to constantly increase their competence; they are often perfectionists with extremely high standards of performance for themselves and others. They tend to have a keen interest in self-improvement and are lifelong learners, always looking to add to their base of information and awareness.
Recognizing an INTJ
INTJs are typically reserved and serious, and seem to spend a lot of time thinking. They are curious about the world around them and often want to know the principle behind what they see. They thoroughly examine the information they receive, and if asked a question, will typically consider it at length before presenting a careful, complex answer. INTJs think critically and clearly, and often have an idea about how to do something more efficiently. They can be blunt in their presentation, and often communicate in terms of the larger strategy, leaving out the details.
Although INTJs aren’t usually warm or particularly gregarious, they tend to have a self-assured manner with people based on their own security in their intelligence. They relate their ideas with confidence, and once they have arrived at a conclusion they fully expect others to see the wisdom in their perceptions. They are typically perfectionists and appreciate an environment of intellectual challenge. They enjoy discussing interesting ideas, and may get themselves into trouble because of their take-no-prisoners attitude: if someone’s beliefs don’t make logical sense, the Mastermind typically has no qualms about pointing that out.
INTJ in the Population
INTJ is the third rarest type in the population, and the rarest type among women (with ENTJ). INTJs make up:
- 2% of the general population
- 3% of men
- 1% of women
Popular hobbies for the INTJ include reading, cultural events, taking classes, appreciating art, computers and video games, and independent sports such as swimming, backpacking, or running marathons.
Research on INTJ
Interesting facts about the INTJ:
- On personality trait measures, score as Discreet, Industrious, Logical, Deliberate, Self-Confident, and Methodical
- Among types least likely to suffer heart disease and cardiac problems
- Least likely of all the types to believe in a higher spiritual power
- One of two types with highest college GPA
- Among types with highest income
- Personal values include Achievement
- Of all types, least likely to state that they value Home/family, Financial security, Relationships & friendships, and Community service
- Overrepresented among MBA students and female small business owners
- Commonly found in scientific or technical fields, computer occupations, and legal professions
What the Experts Say
"INTJs are the most independent of all the sixteen types and take more or less conscious pride in that independence."
- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing
"Difficulties are highly stimulating to INTJs, who love responding to a problem that requires a creative solution."
- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II
"Their capacity for intellectual and conceptual clarity gives INTJs both vision and the will to see it through to completion—leadership qualities that are prized in our society."
- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work
INTJ at Work
At work, the INTJ excels at creating and implementing innovative solutions to analytical problems. They naturally see possibilities for improvement within complex systems and are organized and determined in implementing their ideas for change.
INTJs are comfortable with abstraction and theory but gain the most satisfaction from turning their ideas into reality. They often enjoy working independently or with a small team, taking measured, strategic steps to implement change.
INTJs enjoy working with logical systems that they can understand in depth. They enjoy the challenge of comprehending complex ideas, and want to understand how they can improve the way things work.
The ideal work environment for an INTJ is logical, efficient, structured, and analytical, with colleagues that are competent, intelligent, and productive. The ideal job for a Mastermind allows them to use their analytical skills to problem-solve in a challenging environment, and to take responsibility for implementing their ideas to create efficient, innovative systems.
Popular Careers for the INTJ
Top careers for the INTJ include:
Least Popular Careers for INTJs
It is important to note that any personality type can be successful in any occupation. However, some occupations are well suited to the natural talents and preferred work style of the INTJ, while other occupations demand modes of thinking and behavior that do not come as naturally to this type. Occupations that require the Mastermind to operate outside their natural preferences may prove stressful or draining, and often sound unappealing to INTJs who are choosing a career.
The following occupations have been found to be unpopular among INTJs, based on data gathered from surveys of the general population.
INTJs as Leaders
In leadership positions, INTJs are strategic, analytical planners and problem solvers. They are good at making tough decisions and sorting out complex issues. Masterminds excel at managing projects that implement a vision of improved efficiency or innovation, and although they usually prefer not to have to manage other people, they will take over if no other leader steps up. As leaders, they are democratic and hands-off: they generally prefer to share the overall goal and let their reports determine exactly how to complete their work.
INTJs value competence and decisiveness, and may sometimes neglect to listen to differing opinions once their mind is made up. While they focus on creating logical and innovative solutions, they may sometimes leave out the details of their plans, leaving their teams to wonder exactly how things will be accomplished.
INTJs on a Team
INTJs are analytical team members who focus on strategy. They are often perceptive about systems and how to improve them. They are thoughtful and clear in their analysis, and good at defining team goals. They are capable of synthesizing ideas of some complexity, and often see clearly to a unifying plan of action. INTJs take a characteristically critical approach, and analyze ideas and proposals with a detached, objective logic. They want to be free to make improvements to existing systems, and do best on a team where change is favored.
INTJs are open to ideas, and will consider the perspectives of the team members with an even-handed approach. However, they are firm and clear in their logical analysis, and have little patience for nonsense. They are unlikely to offer support or assurance to teammates who they don’t perceive as useful contributors. They are persuasive in their reasoning and often get teammates on board based on the clarity of their ideas. However, they may have friction with team members who have a focus on relationships; the Mastermind seeks a free exchange of ideas, not a personal connection.
INTJ Communication Style
INTJs are direct and detached in their communication. They often naturally see how something could be done better and usually communicate their criticism in a straightforward, logical manner. They are typically independent and calm; they are not so much concerned about being liked or appreciated as they are with being competent and thoughtful. Their communications are typically well thought-out, insightful, and strategic. They often plan well into the future and offer big-picture analysis for improving systems.
INTJs as Partners
In relationships, the INTJ is loyal but independent. INTJs can be almost scientific in choosing a mate and make devoted partners once they have found a match that fits their rigorous list of requirements. They often have clear ideas about what makes for a solid relationship and are unwavering in their pursuit of this ideal.
INTJs often have a passion for self-improvement and are encouraging of their partners' goals and intellectual pursuits. However, they do not usually see the need for frivolous affection or romance, feeling that their devotion should be evident. They are more focused on serving their partners with hard work and resourceful problem-solving than they are on showering them with attention.
INTJs' partners often find them difficult to read, and indeed they do not show emotion easily; they find the process of discussing emotions much too messy and disorganized. They enjoy solving difficult problems, but are often out of their depth when it comes to illogical, unpredictable personal issues.
INTJs value a partner that allows them the independence to achieve their goals, and one who appreciates their efficacy, insight, and ability to offer creative solutions to problems.
INTJs as Parents
As parents, INTJs are devoted and supportive. They set firm limits and provide consistent reinforcement, but within that structure allow a lot of latitude for their children to explore their own interests and potential. They are encouraging of their childrens' intellectual pursuits and enthusiastic about sharing knowledge.
INTJs enjoy the process of developing a young mind, and get a lot of satisfaction from parenting. They want to develop productive, competent, and self-sufficient children who think for themselves.