INFP (Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception) personality types are idealists, according to 16 Personalities, a free personality testing site where users are promised a concrete and accurate description of who they are and why they do things the way they do. As optimists, they remain calm and always look for even the smallest hint of good in the worst of people and bad situations.
"INFPs are guided by their principles, rather than by logic (Analysts), excitement (Explorers) or practicality (Sentinels)," according to 16 Personalities. "When deciding how to move forward, they will look to honor, beauty, morality and virtue — INFPs are led by the purity of their intent, not rewards and punishments. People who share the INFP personality type are proud of this quality, and rightly so, but not everyone understands the drive behind these feelings, and it can lead to isolation."
With that said, let's take a deeper look at how this personality type behaves in the workplace.
What Are INFPs Personality Types Like in the Workplace?
INFPs typically possess the following traits that they exhibit both in their personal lives and in the workplace:
- Open-Minded and Flexible Nature
- Passion and Energy
They also have weaknesses, however. Here are some of their most common ones:
- Too Much Idealism
- Too Much Altruism
- Dislike for Dealing With Data
- Take Things Personally
- Difficult to Get to Know
As a result of these traits, both positive and negative, here's what INFPs are like as managers, subordinates and colleagues.
INFPs as Managers
"As managers, INFPs are among the least likely to seem like managers — their egalitarian attitudes lend respect to every subordinate, preferring communication as human beings than as a boss/employee opposition," according to 16 Personalities.
Managers with the INFP personality type are flexible and open-minded leaders who tend to give their subordinates the tools they need to succeed on their own with very little micromanagement. They set goals and help the people working under them to realize those goals.
INFPs as Subordinates
"As subordinates, INFPs prefer latitude, and would much rather immerse themselves in a project, alone or with a close team, than simply be told what task to do and move on," according to 16 Personalities. "People with the INFP personality type aren’t looking for easy, forgettable work that pays the bills, they’re looking for meaningful work that they actually want to think about, and it helps for their managers to frame responsibilities in terms of emotional merit rather than cold rationalization or business for its own sake."
Because of their search for meaning, INFPs want to work for managers who share similar beliefs and who also care about the work.
INFPs as Colleagues
"INFPs feel most comfortable among colleagues — they aren’t interested in controlling others, and have a similar distaste for being controlled," according to 16 Personalities. "Among their colleagues, INFPs will feel freer to share their ideas, and while they may maintain some psychological distance, they will make every effort to be pleasant, friendly and supportive — so long as their coworkers reciprocate."
In other words, INFPs don’t start conflict or engage in workplace drama; rather, they do what they can to keep the peace and ensure that the workplace is productive and engaging for everyone.
How Can You Find the Right Career for Your Personality Type's Strengths and Weaknesses?
Given an INFP's personality traits, here are some of the best ways to find a career that they'll love.
1. Reach out to Employees of Companies of Interest
Because INFPs crave mutual human understanding but get easily tired out in social situations like networking events, it's best for them to reach out to individual people working in companies in which they're interested. Direct human contact will fulfill them more than trying to socialize in what can be exhausting and taxing situations.
2. Take Informational Interviews
Again, informational interviews are a great way for INFPs to connect with others on a more personal level.
3. Reach out to Immediate Social Circles
INFPs don't typically like the idea of networking and, as such, don't feel as connected to friends of friends. Rather than being connected via a middle man, they prefer to make genuine connections with others for themselves. That said, they can still reach out to their immediate social circles to help introduce them to new people to work on building these new connections that can lead to career opportunities.
What Are the Best Career Choices for an INFP Personality Type?
"It is perhaps more challenging for INFPs to find a satisfying career than any other type," according to 16 Personalities. "INFPs often wish that they could just be doing what they love without the stress and rigor of professional life."
With that said, here are five jobs that they may just love.
INFPs are creative and independent types that crave meaning, and teachers get a lot of creative authority and independence in their own classrooms. Teachers also establish meaningful connections with their students and school employees who share common goals, which means that INFPs may thrive in the education world.
INFP personality types have a gift for written expression. They're poetic with a lot of creativity to put down on paper. They're not driven by money but, rather, by idealism, which makes authoring novels an intriguing career path.
INFPs are optimistic idealists, and though they can often be idealistic to a fault, they're great career coaches who can light a fire under their clients.
INFPs are interested in others and their stories, and they're talented writers. As such, they make great journalists who can connect with their sources and share stories that resonate with readers on a deeper level.
5. Massage Therapists
INFPs thrive in service careers such as massage therapy, especially since they tend to put others' feelings and needs before their own.
What Are the Worst Career Choices for an INFP Personality Type?
Not all careers are great for INFPs personality types. Here are three that may not be the best fit for them.
INFPs work well with others and when they have meaning in their careers. Depending on the type of finance job, they may not do as well crunching numbers in solitude.
While INFPs are creative types — and engineering is certainly a creative field — INFPs aren't driven by logic, which is often necessary for an engineering job.
INFPs are not high-pressure salespeople. They need jobs that are more rewarding for them than making sales, unless the products or services that they're selling are of meaning to them.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.