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« 5. EQ at work: INTPs at their best »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute. MBTI coach with over 25 years MBTI experience, and author of the new book: "INFJ: What's it like to be one."

Statistical analysis has demonstrated clearly that personality theory and emotional intelligence are not the same theoretical constructs. Is it therefore reasonable to discuss them in the same article? Yes, because different personality types react differently to their own and other people's emotions.

I will draw on data collected using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI - 16 personality types) to discuss the topic of personality and emotional intelligence and relate it specifically to one of the MBTI types: INTP.

INTPs, (Introversion, iNtuition, Thinking, Perceiving) are one of the most frequent personality types that I coach. They have many strengths and are big picture strategists, visionaries and analysts. They often thrive in jobs or roles requiring tough-minded analysis, expert knowledge, intellectual rigour, strategic planning and abstract analysis. 

However, they do not always have excellent people skills and they may dislike outbursts of emotions. More about that later.

There is always a danger of putting people in what may seem, to an INTP, like "A box". Let me say therefore, that I realise that not all INTPs are the same; naturally each INTP has his or her own characteristics that go far beyond either personality type or emotional intelligence. 

Nonetheless, while all INTPS will not have the same levels of emotional intelligence, nor be identical in character, they may find some aspects of emotional intelligence harder to develop than other types, may use their emotional intelligence in different ways, and may benefit from focusing on different applications of EQ at work. 

I also appreciate that some INTPS will have little interest in emotional intelligence as it butts up against their inferior function, which we will discuss later. However, if INTPs are not interested in their EQ at work, the people with whom they work and interact probably are, as it impacts directly on them.

This is one of a series of articles on personality and emotional intelligence. This article examines:

  • The emotions that may typically arise in an INTP in particular situations.
  • Ways that an INTP may manage these emotions without triggering their inferior function.
  • Communication methods INTPs may adopt that suit their type.

Here are three out of the many ways an INTP can use his or her EQ at work and get the best out of being an INTP.

Different types have different aspects of emotional intelligence they find harder and easier. However, developing their emotional intelligence is vitality important for each type. Come join with me in this exciting new emotional intelligence coaching package and I will make sure it is personalised to you and your type.

EQ at work - INTP: 1. Comfort with others' emotions

All types have what Carl Jung called an "Inferior Function" to their personalities.

Your Inferior Function is the part of you that is the least well developed but under times of significant stress may take you over. At these times you may become more negative in some way; in what way is determined by your type. 

As an INTP your inferior function is Extraverted Feeling. This can leave you feeling very uncomfortable around heavy emotions in others, e.g. angry outbursts, crying, or a heavily laden emotional atmosphere, especially when you are also stressed, or in what Naomi Quenk calls "In the grip".

You may prefer to avoid such emotions and may go out of your way to do so, sometimes to your long term detriment.

Developing increased comfort with other people's emotions is an important area of growth for many INTPs, difficult though it can be for you, especially if you are under stress.

There is an E-book that may help you to find crying and emotional outbursts easier to cope with: "What to do when women cry - A manual for men" (but it is also useful for women). It will take you through different ways to respond to crying so you can feel comfortable.

I once had an INTP manager walk out on a workshop I was running because two members of her staff burst into tears. She was furious and said they were simply being manipulative and that I and my co-presenter should not have let them get away with it. She preferred to blame others rather than examine her own discomfort around emotions and her high stress levels.

Neither I nor my co-presenter felt at all troubled by the crying and looked upon it as a very reasonable response to the situation they were facing. We felt quite comfortable with the whole proceedings, but then neither of us had Extraverted Feeling as our inferior function.

If you try to avoid or ignore emotions at work you may be perceived as being insensitive and miss out on important data that could help motivate and manage your team to achieve its KPIs.

EQ at work relates to the management of both positive and negative emotions, and to managing your own emotions and those of others. 

Know that crying is OK - it can be like a rain cloud, once it's burst, the skies clear and the sun shines. We need the rain as well as the sun in our lives.


EQ at work - INTP: 2. Analysis may breed frustration in others

Frustration for INTPs may arise when they are expected to provide a black and white, or yes/no answer to a question they regard as having many layers of complexity. They may instead give an answer pointing out many shades of grey. While this may leave them less frustrated the listener may in fact become frustrated, especially if all they wanted was a yes or no!

EQ at work is not just simply about the emotions that one type may feel, it also involves the emotional impact that each type and their communication style may leave on others.

One of my INTP clients said to me, "My friends tell me to stop analysing. But to me, to stop analysing would be to stop breathing!"

Such is life as an INTP. Analysing is one of the strengths of this type - use it to your best advantage but at the same time be aware of and care about the emotional impact you are leaving on the people to whom you are talking. These are important components of emotional intelligence for you as INTPs to master, both the caring and the emotional recognition.

Different types have different aspects of emotional intelligence they find harder and easier. However, developing their emotional intelligence is vitality important for each type. Come join with me in this exciting new emotional intelligence coaching package and I will make sure it is personalised to you and your type.

EQ at work - INTP: 3. Say yes or no sometimes

Don't analyse everything, all the time, when a short answer will do, or a quickly made decision is required.

Another INTP client was told by her boss that she asked too many questions and appeared indecisive. She felt offended and put down by this, arguing as an INTP, that there was always a place for questions.

That's certainly one way of looking at things. However, to other types, always asking questions when, for example, a yes/no answer is wanted, can be off-putting. Choose your times to ask questions - not always! This way your strength will be to your advantage rather than an irritation. 

What is your EQ at work? How good are you at managing your own and others' emotions?


EQ at work - INTP: Get to know your type, increase communication effectiveness and lower conflict

There is so much that you or your team can learn so that you develop greater understanding of, and skills with, your communication, personality and relationships at work and home. The EI Institute has a number of options to help you:

  1. If you are live or work with an INFJ, then this 2018 book by Rachel Green, our Director, is a must read: "INFJ: What's it like to be one."  As an Introvert you may enjoy reading this book about INFJs, as much of it also applies to other introverts. Also there is a contribution by an INTJ, an INFP and an ISTJ, so other Introverts are represented. Click here to get your copy.
  2. Meditation appeals to many introverts and we have a very popular audio-download on meditation called: "Happy Not Hassled". A perfect way to introvert and stay healthy.
  3. There is superior 1-1 coaching; and the MBTI is included as part of our smart leadership coaching package. You can find out your MBTI type and develop the skills you need, with Rachel Green.

For more details or to make a booking e-mail us now or pick up the phone and call us.