How to Manage Employees with Introverted Personality Types

Posted by Dave • November 12, 2018 • 7 min read

These days it seems like everyone self-identifies as either an introvert or extrovert. However, introversion and extraversion are simply the two overarching categories for the 16 distinct personality types covered by the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test. There are actually eight types of both introverts and extroverts, each one different from the others.

One of the greatest challenges of being a manager is dealing with each team member’s unique approach toward work and their colleagues. In this article, we’ll summarize the eight introvert personality types and provide a few tips for managing the people who fall into each category.

ISTJ (Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judgment)

Introverts in the ISTJ category are known for being organized and logical in the way they approach work. Employers can trust them to follow processes and take responsibility for the tasks they’re assigned. These are the employees who have the lengthy to-do list and make a detailed plan before they start a project.

However, ISTJ types often don’t do well with sudden change since it disrupts their sense of order. Additionally, they are easily agitated when someone misses a detail or goes off script.

Best jobs for ISTJs

Jobs that are consistent day-to-day with defined procedures.

Tips for managing ISTJs

  • Encourage them to go with the flow. Make sure they understand that shifting priorities are part of any job.
  • Give them space to work on their own. Assign them tasks and trust they’ll meet the intended outcomes.

ISFJ (Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, Judgment)

This type of introvert stays on task and accounts for every detail. They’re meticulous in the way they approach work and don’t consider something finished until they dot the i’s and cross the t’s.

But their perfectionist attitude causes them to have excessive standards and get too in the weeds with one specific part of their job. They’re hard workers but need to realize when they’ve done all they can do and it’s time to start on the next project.

Best jobs for ISFJs

Positions that require high attention to detail. ISFJs are often suited to review the work of others to ensure it’s up to standard.

Tips for managing ISFJs

  • Check in with them frequently to see where they’re at with a task and let them know when it’s considered done.
  • Assign tight deadlines so they can’t spend too much time on one thing.

INFJ (Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Judgment)

INFJs are imaginative people who excel at taking a concept and turning it into reality. They’re able to understand someone’s idea then sit down and make it happen. They’re the creative people on your staff who always execute what’s outlined in the brief.

When it comes to shortcomings, INFJs crave details but are often too shy to ask for them. They struggle to work with limited direction and prefer to be presented with a clear plan before they set out on a project.

Best jobs for INFJs

Designer, writer, or any position that takes on large, creative projects.

Tips for managing INFJs

  • Let them know it’s perfectly fine to ask clarification questions before they start working. You can also ask them if they completely understand their assignment and to recite the plan back to you.
  • Encourage them to trust their intuition if they haven’t been given clear direction. Sometimes creatives are expected to run with a basic idea.

INTJ (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Judgment)

People with this personality think strategically. They’re creative yet analytical, allowing them to see every angle and develop comprehensive plans that tend to be successful.

While many introverts struggle with self-confidence, INTJs sometimes have a sense of superiority and lack empathy for others. They put employers in a tough spot because they thrive at developing strategy but often aren’t effective team leaders.

Best jobs for INTJs

Positions that allow them to participate in big-picture planning.

Tips for managing INTJs

  • Focus their training and professional development on emotional intelligence. INTJs are ideal managers if they can learn how to effectively lead others.

ISTP (Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Perception)

Unlike most introverts who covet consistency, ISTPs thrive in chaos. They like to dive headfirst into messy problems and bring order to the situation on their own terms.

The challenge for managers comes in keeping ISTPs stimulated. They get restless when they don’t have a complicated problem to keep their focus. They’re also known for having a short-term outlook so they can be a retention risk for their employer.

Best jobs for ISTPs

Jobs with frequent surprises or positions that take on large projects that don’t have a mapped-out solution.

Tips for managing ISTPs

  • Trust them to deal with complicated problems on their own and don’t try to force them to focus on repetitive tasks.
  • Check in with them frequently to learn if they’re feeling fulfilled in their work. You can even allow them to “make their own work” by taking on challenges that grab their attention.

ISFP (Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, Perception)

ISFPs are the prototypical independent workers. They enjoy focusing on solo tasks in a quiet space, often on their own time. They’re the employees who like to put headphones on and get lost in their work or jump at the opportunity to work from home.

ISFPs tend to be friendly but often can’t stand collaborating with others. They detest meetings and likely won’t offer opinions or ideas in group planning sessions.

Best jobs for ISFPs

Jobs that allow them to work autonomously or aren’t part of a specific team.

Tips for managing ISFPs

  • If they’re responsible, give them the freedom to work when and where they chose to. You’ll likely get more out of them if you don’t burden them with structure.
  • Call on them in meetings. Ask them what they think so they’re forced to participate.

INFP (Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception)

People who fall into this category are very much the glass-half-full type. They believe everything will work out and care dearly for others. They’re always willing to help their colleagues and want everyone they work with to be happy and successful.

But INFPs can be helpful to a fault. They’re susceptible to being taken advantage of because they always say “yes” and can sometimes focus more on another person’s work than their own. They can also have excessive expectations and feel let down when things don’t work out.

Best jobs for INFPs

People-facing positions or jobs that allow them to work and help others.

Tips for managing INFPs

  • Make sure they understand their individual priorities and that they’re allowed to say “no” to others.
  • Be appreciative of their positive attitude but coach them on how to deal with failure in a healthy manner.

INTP (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Perception)

The final type of introvert is the quiet, deep thinker. They observe and question everything, giving them the ability to arrive at logical, well-throughout conclusions. They thrive at tackling complicated problems and fleshing out the ideal solution.

However, INTPs are textbook introverts in that they dread social situations. They often won’t share what’s on their mind, making it difficult for managers to get good ideas out of them.

Best jobs for INTPs

Analytical roles where they can find quantitative solutions to complex issues.

Tips for managing INTPs.

  • Praise them when they solve problems. Build up their confidence so they feel comfortable offering their ideas.
  • Similar to ISFPs, call on them in meetings. Ask them what they think of an idea or problem so they feel compelled to share their two cents.

Put your introverted employees in position to succeed

As you read through each personality type in this article, you likely thought of someone you work with who exhibits those traits. Instead of trying to force your employees to be someone they’re not, learn what they’re good at and enjoy doing. If you can do this for each and every employee, you’ll end up with a highly-successful workforce.


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