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The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and INTPs and ESFJs in Organizations


This issue we'll consider INTPs and ESFJs and examine where they might fit best and some of the possible weak spots for each.

We'll start with INTPs. Many people of this type enjoy workplaces that give them privacy and quiet time to think. They often like work that encourages independent and original thinking. INTPs are generally attracted to jobs that have flexible policies and procedures, with little structure and bureaucracy. They would rather avoid going to meetings. Many INTPs are quite comfortable working on the most complex problems. They use logic, analysis, and critical thinking to solve most challenges. As you might imagine, they often like working with other independent thinkers. INTPs tend to respect people based on their competency or expertise, rather than on their position. They are more likely to relate to people intellectually than emotionally.

Some areas where INTPs can struggle include indiscriminately applying their highly developed critical thinking skills towards people and personnel issues and giving the impression they don't care. They can be drawn into theoretical models and overanalyze or intellectualize issues, forgetting the practical details or constraints. Complex explanations might confuse others, rather than illuminate the issues. Some INTPs can become nitpickers on minor inconsistencies, and alienate others on the major issues. They can overlook the necessary steps towards a goal in favor of the long-term implications.

Let's now turn to the ESFJs. Many of them enjoy working with cooperative and conscientious colleagues in a people-oriented environment. They like organization and efficiency, and respect authority and established procedures. ESFJs can appreciate jobs where friendship among colleagues is encouraged, people are outgoing and warm, and where people show appreciation easily. A good environment for this type would be filled with caring people who are sensitive to the needs of others. ESFJs generally like to please people, and can be effective where timely and accurate work is required.

There can be some trouble spots for this type as well. For example, ESFJs can avoid conflict because of their desire to please others and stay friends. They can try to smooth over personal differences out of fear of conflict. Likewise, they can ignore their own work or health because they focus so much on others. Since they usually want to help others, they can interfere and tell others what's best for them, sometimes without knowing all the facts. They can be so busy with daily tasks that they fail to step back and look at the big picture, something the military calls "making great progress marching in the wrong direction." ESFJs can forget to consider the logical or long-term consequences of their actions.


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