How to Make NFs Feel Loved in the Workplace
Intuitive Feelers (NFs) are perceptive and highly idealistic people who wish to contribute meaning to the lives of others. They are effective at doing this through their sensitive, expressive and nurturing nature.
Unfortunately, these skills are rarely valued in the workplace. While the other personality types pursue "ordinary" workplace goals (intellectual stimulation, individual promotion, the paycheck), the NF's goals are rather extraordinary. They place utmost importance on helping themselves and others to grow. They are value-oriented, and can get extremely passionate about the things that stimulate them or bring them joy. At work and in life, their primary motivation is to be able to find and express their own unique identity - no facade, no corporate masks and no pretenses.
Rewarding an NF for a "job well done" is counterproductive. This personality type must be true to themselves, and they may become angry if you praise them for following the rules or achieving a business goal. NFs respond far better when they are affirmed in the emotional sense, for example, when you show that you respect them as a unique and valuable individual.
Here's an overview of the way that NFs approach their work, and how you can use those traits to make them feel loved in the workplace.
Give Projects an Emotional Punch
NFs are looking for meaningful work that aligns with their values and ideals. They will be significantly more motivated if responsibilities are framed in terms of the emotional impact they have rather than the cold realization of business goals. For example, an NF could care less if their work boosts the company's profits by 10%. But tell them that their work will help customers learn something, solve a problem or achieve zen, and suddenly the NF's career expresses who they are. They will know that they have done some good, and will be motivated to repeat those outcomes.
Feedback Should be Positive and Developmental
Some personality types, notably NTs and SJs, respond favorably to negative feedback. They take criticism, constructive or otherwise, as an opportunity to fix errors and to not make the same mistake twice. NFs, on the other hand, wilt under negative feedback. They feel happier and more productive when they hear what they did right. That way, they can focus on what to do, rather than what not to do.
An NF will also respond to feedback that enriches their experience of work. They will be mortified if you tell them where they went wrong ("you didn't attend this training course") but ecstatic if you help them become their best possible self ("you'll be able to achieve more, in bigger ways, if you spend a little time plugging this knowledge gap.") The difference may be subtle, but it is vital.
Schedule Frequent, Quality Face Time
NFs value in-depth relationships. They would much rather speak to someone face-to-face than receive an impersonal memo or telephone call. Sending an email with instructions or feedback won't cut it. Stopping by their work station for a chat, taking them out for coffee or finding some other way to have quality face time will speak volumes about how much you appreciate their contribution. These encounters should occur casually throughout the week. For an NF, the small moments between coworkers - a friendly chat, a warm smile, a sympathetic ear - will help maintain a culture of affection in the workplace.
Lend a Helping Hand
For the incurably romantic NF, there's nothing better than when their significant other goes out of their way to get the car serviced, change the sheets or do the dishes. Similarly, in the work environment, a little extra service will impress them deeply. And you don't have to make a huge effort. Little things like offering to read over an important report or taking a few difficult phone calls off the NF's plate can go a long way towards making them feel loved and appreciated. These gestures show that you are watching out for them, and will go above and beyond to lighten the load.
Offer Small Displays of Affection
Business-appropriate displays of affection can really boost an NF's engagement. A word of encouragement, a kind thank-you note, safeguarding their feelings during a heated conversation, or showing compassion when things don't go well - anything goes, as long as you show that you care.
Ultimately, an NF needs to feel that you see them as a person and not just a resource to execute your business processes. They need to feel that the organization is invested in them. Once you demonstrate how much you value an NF coworker, there's nothing they won't do to accomplish your goals.