I'm an INTJ. I have a pretty imaginative, research oriented, data-driven, creative, and risk-taking approach to problem solving. Which is awesome and exciting because my ideas have so much potential backed by so much research. Unfortunately, I work for two ESFJs and I feel like I'm being idea-blocked at every turn. They rely on tradition and experience (which could be beneficial if their past experiences achieved more than mediocrity) and they just won't listen to new ideas. This is particularly frustrating because I am confident I can grow the organization if they just embraced some outside-of-the-box problem solving. Further, when I challenge their current practices (which are far from best-practices), they get defensive. I just want to provide data based constructive criticisms so our organization will improve.

So, do any of you other INTJs have suggestions/advice for me? I assume other INTJs have felt their potential is restricted by supervisors in the workplace. I love the work I do-- I just feel like I can't reach my full potential or the organization's full potential when no one wants to embrace new thoughts. How do you pitch great ideas to less imaginative individuals? How do you call out a supervisor's poor choices and provide constructive criticism without them getting offended?

Final note: I mentioned my supervisors are ESFJs. I am not trying to knock everyone who is that type of personality. I'm sure there are so many excellent ESFJs out there. I just want to provide more context for my problem.

Thank you for your help,



Guest (not verified) says...

Yes I'm finding myself in the very same situation as you. I distanced myself from one supervisor (not ESFJ but similar and equally challenging type for INTJ) by shifting positions, but she still held final decisions. I found what would work for her is if I could get someone she trusted to open the way for me to make my case (though I was never sure what pitch would be convincing for her since she thought so differently and doesn't value data); while those chances rarely happened, I was successful when I did (and as long as I would do all the work to implement my idea and at low cost). Then I found if I got an outside expert at her level to make a suggestion after doing an assessment, she listened much better. There's not always opportunities for that. I also tried to find out what ideas of mine meshed with something she was thinking (which is hard when you're trying to distance yourself) and then timed it right.

Mostly I just tried to stay in my sphere of influence to make what I could happen at my level or project, but lately the organization seems to be falling apart and I want to step up because of my INTJ strengths to see tangible solutions or ways to get there, and my love for my job and our work. Recently, I became directly under a supervisor that is ESFJ and I'm going through much miscommunication. I am so misunderstood in what I am proposing on a high level and my frustrations with lack of change is seen as uncooperative. I have two choices -- try again to prioritize those soft skills and trust that my ideas may eventually take root (hard since there's no accountability for our leaders to make changes) or recognize that I chose the wrong organization or career and move on at mid-career(but not wanting to end up in a new position where I don't have experience to contribute at to systems thinking).

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