How To Work With An Independent Thinker

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An independent thinker is worth for the success and growth of your business. They are innovative thinkers and have the ability to challenge day to day activities to make them more interesting.

Personality Tests Are So Fascinating!

We learn so much about ourselves, or rather, we may validate what we already suspected. The Myers-Briggs test is of course the ultimate in personality assessments. For those who may not be familiar with the test, one answers 30+ questions based on emotional, social intelligence and logic. The result is grouped into four categories: Extraversion/Introversion, Intuition/Sensing, Thinking/Feeling, Judging/Perceiving.

I recently decided to revisit the test, to see if anything had perchance changed with me. It turns out I am still an INTJ, or what is termed an ‘Independent Thinker.’ The excerpt of what it means to be an INTJ from 16 Personalities is as follows:

“It’s lonely at the top, and being one of the rarest and most strategically capable personality types, INTJs know this all too well. INTJs form just two percent of the population, and women of this personality type are especially rare, forming just 0.8% of the population – it is often a challenge for them to find like-minded individuals who are able to keep up with their relentless intellectualism and chess-like maneuvering.”

Great! As the Beastie Boys sang, “I’m that kid in the corner!”

The independent thinker is crucial to progress and innovation within all strata and industries. Systems and institutions are built to have a set flow of communication. Most systems follow a chain of command based on the Industrial revolution. However, the industries flourishing today are so much more multidimensional, and are in need of constant disruption. What has evolved is a sort of bi-polarity in our communications. More than ever we need independent thinkers to strategize new channels. Yet, I can personally attest that independent thinking in corporations is met with severe resistance.

So, where do we ‘place’ independent thinkers in our professional world? Here are some suggestions from a verified INTJ:

  • The independent thinker’s resume will be golden, most likely with short stays at top institutions. Ensure that job positions offer the possibility of developing innovative services rather than hierarchically expected promotions.
  • Independent thinkers make much better project consultants than full time employees. The problem solving capacity of this personality type is extraordinary, due to the marrying of intuition and logic. Outspoken independent thinkers work wonders in the strategic planning of a restructure or an M&A deal.
  • Independent thinkers are more than likely to gather information from all levels of the hierarchy. Titles are much less important than a need to have access to all viewpoints. In this regard, an independent thinker is perfect to formulate (not necessarily execute) town hall meetings.
  • Independent thinkers need space, not constant supervision. This personality type is naturally structured, but not necessarily systematic. This means that an independent thinker can sit alone in strategy for 70% of the day, and complete all other tasks with a burst of energetic effort.
  • Collaboration is very welcome for an independent thinker. Strategy and solution weigh more than simply winning without any real progress. Leadership in the initiation and planning project phases works well for the independent thinker.
  • It is helpful for Human Resources and recruiters to use tried and tested personality assessments when working with candidates. A wrong career fit is akin to too-tight shoes: it looks good on the outside but hurts on the inside.

Let us remember that true independent thinkers are not here to be rebels without a cause, but to be change catalysts. We need the collaborative, strategic element in our systems to ensure growth. To my fellow INTJs, we are essential.



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