INTJ Female? 5 Tips for Becoming a Powerful Leader

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on August 25, 2019

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!

Jasmin Rose Napuli

Jasmin Rose Napuli is a freelance writer for businesses, brands, and nonprofit groups. She’s the founder of Tarambid Inc., a nonprofit that supports mountain school communities in her province, Antique, Philippines. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design and is fascinated by houses and humans. Jasmin loves nature trips, gardening, reading fiction, self-discovery, and mind-control–in theory.

More from this author...
About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.


Apollo says...

Well said and organized. Indeed a misunderstood personality type, even a beholder could missed. Though this also applies to the male counterpart of the INTJ and INFJ. Specially on the part of keeping silent and always the last to speak up after a thorough deliberation and balancing the situation in their heads. They are the ones who are confident on their individual skills but reluctant to do so because they always think of the overall value as a team. Be mindful though about this personality, because they are prone to practicing perfectionism, this mentalityality could overpower confidence and could result to hesitation to open up and an idea left unshared.

Though i love working with this people even for a T type, because they are helpful and gritty towards output, once they commit expect results.

Thank you for this article. I could really relate on this.

Tessa (not verified) says...

What a load of new age, feel good nonsense. I am an INTJ and have tested that way for more than 40 years. I  know a good few INTJs, and this is nonsense. For some reason, everybody now wants to be an INTJ. We are disliked, don't work well with others, do not want to work with others, and we have more than enough emotional sensitivity What we don't do is make emotional sensitivity a reason not to do the job. And we don't particularly care about leadership. That's just the fashion today - it has nothing to do with being an INTJ.

RedLight (not verified) says...

Well said, Tessa!  This has been my experience forever.  We are often disliked, totally misunderstood, acknowledge the importance of getting buy-in and working collaboratively but much prefer to work alone to get the job done and done right.  I couldn't agree more what you said about emotional sensitivity.  We absolutely don't make it a reason not to do the job and because of this, we're often and mislabled with low EQ while others are not labled as oversensitive!  I was told by my last supervisor that I was too direct in my communications!  And I worked on the Communications Team.  !!! 

Annemarie says...

Try being an INTJ woman who has chosen not to have children. Disliked? God, you dont know the half of it!

Makerofthings (not verified) says...

I'm right there with you! Plus a software designer, it's rough, but wouldn't have it any other way. We're the least likely of any of the types to have or enjoy having kids. I don't see the appeal of them. 

Contious (not verified) says...

 I haven't personally or heard. Anyone say they wanted anyone say they wanted to be an intj in fact, that's never in fact, that's never a conversation. Although I believe people may be misled Although I believe people may be misled personality type intj Thinking that it's the best thing Thinking that it's the best thing in the world. Not sure why. I would care about what they think. What I know is it's not easy. Having this personality type don't forget Don't forget there is a spectrum...... and when you say people people people don't like us. I totally disagree. 98% of people I 98% of people I meet like me. Because I'm nice. I'm straightforward. Because I'm nice. I'm straightforward. I listen to what people say take that into consideration. Yes, Yes, even when I already know the answer. Being emotional Being emotional and lovey-dovey makes me want to throw up in my mouth. Being emotional lovey dovey makes me want to throw up in my mouth. Although I crave it inside. But it's very hard for me. 2 Express I also often. I also often most of the time forget to tell people good job. I also often most of the time forget to tell people good job, or I appreciate you. Although I do I just don't say it. I have my own things. That are difficult. Being an intj but people do not dislike me. I do believe people dislike you. Because you're quick to judge you don't listen and you're very close minded. You also seem to take things personally. Just saying

Grass (not verified) says...

hey there, i can not agree more, that very last sentence " I do believe people dislike you. Because you're quick to judge you don't listen and you're very close minded. You also seem to take things personally.", its the key.

Char (not verified) says...

Well said.  I can relate to your comment really well. 

comatose (not verified) says...

I believe everyone is born with a base personality type. But once you discover your personality type, you can start changing the negative habits. As an INTJ teenager, I can easily relate to being disliked and shamed for being the smartest person in the class and not being afraid to show it. But because of how my school is, it doesn't let me be an INTJ. People think I'm an extrovert because I speak in class. It's not because I like speaking; it's because I want the participation grade. I can't be mean to people I hate because I won't be on the good side of teachers. Even though I have distasteful and dark thoughts running through my mind and I smile at how good it'll feel to ruin my enemies, I need to have those nice reports from teachers.

I'm not happy that you managed to switch your personality. I'll say nice job instead. I hope you have a good, supportive group of friends, because I certainly wouldn't like having a friend who's said things that you've said in your comment here.

Mop (not verified) says...

As i am also an INTJ teen i immediately related when I read your comment. Everyone dislikes me for smart, and people think I’m bragging when I say that a test was easier then I had thought and had studied for, even though I didn’t know it was hard for them (they literally don’t even study, why do they get mad?). I’m always trying to get on all the teachers good sides, so they won’t make my grades go down. And lastly I am so annoyed by not being able to just roast and destroy the annoying people I hate in my class. 
I literally don’t know any single person that understands me completely.
That’s why I felt like commenting here.

Audra Barkley (not verified) says...

Then why did you read yet another article on INTJs?

Lianimals (not verified) says...

Well, it's clear why YOU are disliked, anyway.

Older INTJ Woman (not verified) says...

Tessa, Thank you! I'm actually smiling reading your post. I suspect some of the responses are a microcosm of the experience of being an female INTJ. N is for intuitive, n'est ce que pas?? So yes, we're empathetic, but also good at partitioning attributes for particular functioning. I do like working with younger people because I think the over-40 crowd consider more bowing and hand-wringing to be a requisite of appropriate female communication style. Unless working with advertising types, then don't even bother trying to break into that vapid bubble. (Just run.) Off the cuff remarks here. 

Anne (not verified) says...

I agree. Not that you care whether I do or not 😂 but it's great to hear someone say that we aren't much motivated by what others think of us, cause it's true, we don't.

Contious (not verified) says...

And yes, I need to proofread. lol...i usually do not... my bad....sorry...not sure why repeating

AutumnINTJ (not verified) says...

Interesting.  I have taken Meyer-Briggs as well as several internet versions and always I get INTJ.  Over the years, ratios may be different but always INTJ.  I agree with most of this as (I think) it relates to me and how I operate.  However, whether someone likes or dislikes you is a silly conversation.  We can adapt and build skills regardless of personality type.  Many people like me, some don't.  It's not personality-based, it's just human nature.  One of the things that sticks out to me is that INTJs don't care if someone agrees or not - and I think this is a strength.  It doesn't matter if someone agrees, what matters is what WORKS.  But it's frustrating.  I was in medical sales years ago.  I was the best or one of the best on my team quarter after quarter.  But when it came to hiring a new manager, there was no contest.  My manager hand-picked a brand-new, unproven person *that I had trained* without putting it out there that the company was even looking to add a position.  I felt blindsided.  I had developed processes that when used department-wide exponentially increased sales.  I had great customer relationships in a historically difficult territory.  What went wrong?  I asked my manager - she said I didn't ask!  As far as I know, nobody asked because it wasn't known.  I prefer to quietly win.  I am not a marketer.  I am now in business for myself in a creative field and doing well - when you are analytical, you can be good at anything. 

Maya Confirmed verified INTJ (not verified) says...


I agree to all you say even the story of blindsided.... except I did not yet leave the company I m employed by ... I m working on my way to my own business ...

I m way too frustrated and can t handle it anymore (nor fake smiles-which I m really not good at, I m not a hypocrit).

Go go go 

I wish you the best for your business 

Cecelia (not verified) says...

Well said - "I prefer to quietly win" 


Maya Confirmed verified INTJ (not verified) says...

I m confused becaise I don t recognize on this article the INTJs...

I am one.


From what I read here, INTJs are almost stupid and avoid working and talking with people...

I find the suggestions too obvious.... maybe because I already apply all this.

Now of course if after those effort from side there is no improvements from the others and the situation is urgent.... yep I m going to speed and shake things and people up to have the things done....

Sheila James (not verified) says...

I found the article to be very true and useful confirmation for me. This is because as a female INTJ for over 55 years, I have learnt to collaborate, delegate and develop my emotional sensitivity because I am a leader and have worked with lots of people. I learnt these skills the hard way, but found that they do work to get the productivity, efficiency, buy-in and sustainable support. Then I became likeable and working with others was less stressful. Its about allowing others to grow by mentoring, coaching, teaching and supporting because we can be confident, considerate, knowledgeable, productive leaders rather than selfish, arrogant and stubborn. Yes, we all get blindsided. I relate to that. We often figure it out in the end; to get ahead set up your own business or find promotion in senior leadership elsewhere. When striving for the latter, articles like this come in useful.

Daisy W. (not verified) says...

The things you pointed out resonated with me so well! As an INTJ I have spent a lot of my life alone. People saying that I didn't act like other girls was hurtful when I was younger. Now, I embrace the fact that I am who I am. I don't apologize for being methodical, and an independent thinker.

LC (not verified) says...

I think this is a good article and encapsulates some of what I've learned over the years as a middle-aged INTJ woman. Personally, getting public credit/ praise for what I do, being in the spotlight, etc. does not motivate me. My professional interests do.

However to achieve my most important goals, I'll do what ever I need to do (no unethical/ illegal activities) to get there - whether that means being in the public eye, learning to praise others publicly, increasing my emotional awareness, remembering to ask and take seriously other's input, etc.  My public image is very different from my private personality: I have often been placed in leadership positions and people think I am a very social, outoing person. People do like me (the best compliments I've received were along the lines of "You are a good person")  and I would say about a significant amount of my business is not just because I am competent (others are too) but because I get along with people. I'm working on delegating actually since I have a certain standard to which I like to see things done. 

To the other commenters saying this doesn't match their experiences of what INTJs are like or what they are like, that's fine but is the way you are behaving or the way others perceive you helping you advance in your career or in your life/ relationships? If not, why do you persist in that way? If anything, INTJs are known for being very practical and changing what they do/ who they are etc. to get to an intended result. 

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