Women who identify with the INTJ personality type are typically independent, confident and happy alone. They are goal-oriented and are constantly working on personal and professional projects. But in a group, they tend to navigate the territory differently from other women.
For instance, have you noticed that INTJ women don’t speak up right away? They study the dynamics of the group first. Then they determine how they can contribute in a productive way. If they think the group would benefit from a different leader, INTJ females stay behind the scenes. They only step up to the plate if, after careful assessment, they see there’s a need for their presence and direction. Often, they are reluctant yet capable leaders.
A fictional INTJ female character, Katniss Everdeen of the Hunger Games, only volunteered as a tribute when her sister’s life was in danger. Katniss embraced the role as the leader of the revolution because she was much-needed at that opportune time. She had much growing up to do. Fuelled by her INTJ determination, she had to explore and adjust her behavior in order to overcome the challenges of her new-found leadership situation.
If you're a woman who identifies as an INTJ in Myers and Briggs' typing system, you will find it much easier to be an effective leader if you are open to these areas of improvement.
1. Expand your emotional sensitivity
As leaders, INTJ women are not governed by emotions. They make decisions based on logic and rationality rather than allow themselves to be swayed by fleeting feelings. They have emotions but these are used sparingly, only when necessary.
INTJ women tend to be individualistic and independent. They don’t mind if people don’t agree with them. The upside is that they are decisive and quick to take action. The downside? They might miss out on new or innovative ideas from other members of the group. Some personality types take time to solve problems but their solutions can be reliable and right for the situation. We will only know for sure if we’re patient enough to hear them out first.
You can achieve more goals as a group if you, as the leader, strive to become more sensitive to the personalities and capacities of your members. Respecting their ideas even if they contradict yours is crucial to the development of the group. To achieve this, you can get to know your members better. Observe how they operate in projects, events, and situations.
Get their opinions and solutions on certain issues which you already have an answer for. Compare their answers with yours. This allows you to arrive at more inclusive decisions.
Due to your goal-oriented nature as an INTJ, you tend to be driven and focused. Whatever it takes to make the group work effectively, you are likely determined to do. If you have to expand your emotional realm, at a given moment, to empathize with a member who has a crucial role to play, you will be motivated to do it.
If you lead a group, you are the anchor to which everything hinges on. And INTJ female leaders embrace this role. Two of their favorite words are efficiency and effectiveness, but both of these have to go hand in hand. It’s not enough that you get the job done. The job must be substantial to propel you further in your grand plan. The big picture, which is often clear to an INTJ, shows you a reliable roadmap.
2. Tap into the talents of others
You know how we INTJs love a Eureka moment? This is one of them. When you realize that members of your organization each have skills and talents waiting to be maximized to their full potential? It’s a pleasant surprise. It’s a huge sigh of relief, a load off your shoulders, and such a delight to discover!
As an INTJ leader, I used to be closed off from other members of our nonprofit group. I’m in charge of organizing our outreach events in mountain school communities. We provide students in poverty with basic school supplies. I used to go up the mountains alone to visit the schools. It’s my job to make sure everything is set— meetings, permits, schedules, supplies, etc.
Now, my natural instinct is to plan these outreach events alone and show others only when the plan is fool-proof and ready to go. But I realized through the years that members and volunteers can help make our activities and events so much better if they are involved from the get-go. Their minds are fertile ground for connection and collaboration.
Instead of taking most of the responsibility, I learned to rely on others to fulfill specific tasks like purchasing school supplies, handling presentations, and helping out with fundraising. I asked members to join me in the initial school visits so they can see the school’s situation from a different vantage point. That gave us more material to work with for more successful events.
As INTJs, we need to venture out of our own minds to accommodate the great concept that people around us are as capable as we are, just not in the same way. INTJs are wired to think that we’re better than others, which on a balance of probabilities is not likely to be true. To succeed, we need to rid ourselves of this limiting belief.
You can have reservations in trusting members with tasks and projects—it’s usual for us INTJs to feel this way—but letting go of this urge to control every single thing will free up your time, energy and resources. With the help of others, you can gather new solutions, identify blind spots and strengthen relationships–essential things for the growth of your group.
3. Proactively seek feedback
Not the most comfortable thing to do, right? Female INTJ leaders are often known as being too independent and self-reliant to a fault. How do we break this habit?
After each project, you can ask for feedback from mentors, peers and reports. It doesn’t have to be a heavy and serious discussion. Make it a healthy exchange of ideas; an in-depth chat, if you will. Gather all the recommendations that can improve your group or organization’s planning and implementation for your next projects.
You have probably observed that INTJs prefer one-on-one conversations so feel free to send someone involved an email, a direct message, or a coffee invite to talk about your past, current, and future projects.
Seeking feedback doesn’t have to be a tedious and seemingly unnecessary task. Or God forbid, a 2-hour meeting where you have to deliver an impassioned speech to “inspire” your group. Charisma or emotional persuasion is not our strong suit. We would rather say a sincere “Thanks!” and be on our way. But you can work around this using your own style and strategy.
4. Delegate like a darling
Yes, you can be daring and domineering as a leader but power play, which may seem tempting to you, is not the route to take if you want to be an effective leader. Having explored and discovered your members’ strengths, this is the perfect opportunity to assign roles where their talents can be used and showcased for the benefit of the group.
Remember that you are not the boss. As a leader, you serve a higher purpose, and that is the welfare of the group. People want to be seen, appreciated, respected and loved. Show each member that they matter—you don’t have to be fake or gushing. Here are some INTJ-friendly ideas:
- Invest time in learning each member’s possible contribution—what can he/she do well? Is he good in public speaking? Let him host events. Does she have a charismatic and nurturing nature? Let her talk to stakeholders and establish professional relationships.
- Send a personalized message to a member asking for opinions, suggestions, and recommendations. He/She will appreciate that you value his/her thoughts.
- INTJs don’t like to say mushy stuff to friends or colleagues, even if we consider their actions commendable. Our style? Write them a note. Do them a favor. Help them out with tasks. We don’t do these often so these gestures become meaningful surprises.
These are not chores you must complete perfunctorily though. Not something to tick on your checklist. These efforts should spring from a genuine desire to strengthen your ties with members of your group. In your own way, you can show them how much you value their presence. Be a darling! I know it’s in there somewhere.
5. Calibrate and celebrate
Female INTJ leaders tend to feel both high and mighty AND doubtful and insecure in various times in their lives. It can be disorienting and even frustrating that we are so quick to correct others and so harsh on ourselves, too.
Have you ever been called bossy and overbearing? Too strict? Too straight? You think like a man! You don’t have feelings! How do you respond?
I say you listen to your feelings for a moment, breathe in and out, and calibrate.
Which criticisms are constructive and valid? Which ones, if paid attention to and improved, will advance the welfare of the company or group to which you belong? As an INTJ leader, how best can you serve your group moving forward?
We crave knowledge and we love pursuits that develop mankind. In this school of life, people like us, the problem-solvers and the catalysts of change are needed. But you have to strive harder in overcoming challenges as an INTJ leader. I know you enjoy exploring the layers and nuances of your personality and leadership is a great avenue for that.
You can courageously charge your course, which is uniquely your own. And when you have discovered your own brand of leadership, embrace and celebrate it!