Smart. Intelligent. Fun.
Sounds like we have some leadership potential up in here.
Or your next internet date.
Could go either way.
INTPs are often quiet, contemplative, curious, and innovative. They seek mental stimulation like your sister’s nails seek a chalkboard. Their pull towards the imaginative frame of structured creation is long and lasting. A deep need to fully understand their area of focus tends to set them apart from other types. Given many INTPs end up becoming experts in their field over time, it’s no secret many find themselves leading others.
An intellectual army for revolution!
INTP leaders, much like ENTP leaders, dislike being forced into company rules and regulations. They want free bounds in which to create systems and optimize the congruency of their findings. Although INTPs can work more easily within the bounds of rules than ENTPs, INTPs still desire a sense of freedom and autonomy in their workload.
No leashes allowed in this city park.
INTP leaders contemplate structure readily. This can often be seen in their ability to call out incongruencies within systems, arguments, and more. Lenore Thomson notes in Personality Type: An Owner’s Manual that “Such types [INTPs] are interested in the logical possibilities of structure: the way form and context interact with and exert change on each other” (311). INTPs like creating their own systems and are at their best when they can lead others by way of their own models.
INTP leaders: FOLLOW THESE BLUEPRINTS, OR ELSE.
They aren’t that basic.
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1. They Prioritize Individual Autonomy
Nothing is more important to an INTP than having the time to fully explore their ideas. The pursuit of mental space and time filters directly into their leadership style as well. A firm goal I see in most INTP leaders is the drive to give their ideas (and the idea of others) the space to grow. If an INTP cannot go off into their own realm in order to organize their thoughts, they might fall short of optimizing their product, company, vision, workforce, and so forth.
Forever and a day.
INTP leaders want to be hands-off because they don’t like it when others are firmly hands-on in their own projects. They want their workers to be fully capable and autonomous in their own right. Of course, INTPs will help others where needed, but to have a capable task force is necessary for this leader. If an INTP leader is constantly getting called away from their brain, it may prove taxing. To start and stop their minds over and over is much like hitting the brakes as hard as you can fifty million times while driving down a hill.
And probably bad.
I have no idea when it comes to mechanics.
2. They Want Open Dialogue
INTP leaders want their domain to be full of discussion. Productive or otherwise (sometimes work can be fun too, y’all). INTPs don’t get enough credit for their use of humor and repour in this arena. They can be lively and energetic in the name of a joke. Yet their care manifests in their will to hear everyone out and the privileging of their ideas over their credentials. INTPs will make their space safe and habitual for their workers.
Someone better pull out some easy chairs.
We’re going to need about twelve.
I invited my aunt, so maybe thirteen.
INTP leaders want stimulating conversation around them. They are naturally inquisitive and reluctant to tie their viewpoints to one boat. The more exposure their workers have to different ways of thinking, the better and stronger they can build their own ideas. An unchallenged plan isn’t much of a plan at all. It’s dead in the water.
Like a soggy sandwich.
Disintegrating with the tide.
Wow, that’s disgusting.
3. They Find Inconsistencies
INTP leaders are skilled at finding incongruencies in their system or otherwise. And they should be skilled in this area: they probably even created the very system they critique others for using incorrectly. INTPs are so particular about how even a single word is used that they want everything to be broken down to its core before being brought back up again. Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi note in The 16 Personality Types: Descriptions for Self-Discovery that “[INTP] talents lie in grasping the underlying principles of something and defining its essential qualities” (34). No hinge is unchecked when it comes to articulating a need with clarity.
These ballas can’t help but shoot three-pointers.
…let’s not actually take an INTP to a basketball court though.
For your safety.
Hello, stereotype nation.
I meant for their safety.
In their leadership roles, INTPs will help others comb through their designs, plans, and so on. They want their workers to have all the tools they need to take their ideas where they want to go. Maybe the INTP leader is helping their research lab come up with new methods for bacteria exploration. Or maybe they’re working at a hair salon, experimenting with different dyes in order to produce something otherworldly. Wherever they are, INTP leaders are making sure their work stays true to its underlying principles.
4. They Dislike Large Emotional Ripples
INTP leader may experience negative kickback when they attempt to manage the emotive sphere. INTPs, unlike INFP leaders, can easily articulate how someone has done something wrong and why. However, it’s the emotional effect that INTPs don’t find their strong suit. Quelling the worries and aggravations of those around them isn’t a task they necessarily like or know how to handle.
Let’s say Janet comes into work on Friday having broken up with her long-term boyfriend Denice and she starts immediately lighting company paperwork on fire.
Heartbreak ain’t pretty, friends.
The mental gymnastics that Feeler types might have regarding this situation could look a bit like the following: Do I try to talk Janet down? What’s going to work? Did she even love him though? Do I bring up the break-up? What if she’s touchy?
INTP leader: I’ll just pull the fire alarm.
Nice bedside manner there, doctor.
The INTP leader needs to find a way to convey their support to their staff. Nobody likes drama in the workplace, but chaos is bound to happen when you stick humans together for any length of time. It might be helpful for the INTP leader to consult the Feelers around them when it comes to the emotional hardship of one of their employees.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Do you have any insights or experiences to share? Let us know in the comments! You can also find out much more about the INTP in Personality Hacker’s INTP eCourse!
Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer, or The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic. You can also connect with Jami via Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter!
About the Author:
Jami Cannon is an MBTI® enthusiast who hopes to shed more light on the SJ experience. She holds a very stereotypical degree in History (MA) and loves to learn all she can about the people around her.
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