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Three Powerful Team Roles for the INTJ

Tuesday September 17, 2019

As I have coached various INTJs, I have observed that many of the most successful INTJs who work in team roles fit naturally into one of these three roles when working on a team. What about you?

Role 1. The Perceptive Group Analyst

This person spends a lot of time looking inward at their team in order to understand, rather than criticize. They look for opportunities to recognize and build on strengths, and tend to take a “matching” view of events rather than a “competitive” view of events. That is, they understand fundamentals of human performance and can show a group how it can fit itself to a task with perhaps a little bit of calibration, instead of simply figuring out how to solve the problem on their own with no interference. In this way they are seen as a valued problem solver, as opposed to the somewhat less sought-after “problem identifier” who has had poor experiences with teamwork.

One factor that the Perceptive Group Analyst understands intuitively is that the team is its own organism with its own identity. This person has almost always found their own way to grow beyond the phase where they crave affirmation of their own identity in every circumstance, and are thus able to better flow within the group’s varying decision-making styles. Even so, the Perceptive Group Analyst typically needs to find a balance and be mindful of their personal energy levels. They may also require assistance in finding a values-centered approach to life, and even in understanding what it means to pursue one’s own values. (This topic goes extremely deep)

Moreso than other role-players, the Perceptive Group Analyst often needs to reach a point of satisfaction that they are working with a mature, well-balanced team, one which rewards its members in a variety of ways. The question of Reward, in the “Role, Group, Reward” model also deserves detailed scrutiny as this person considers new roles.

Role 2. The Group Trainer

The Group Trainer gives their team much-needed skills-acquisition assistance in moving into difficult territory. They typically scan for new information which fits their team’s circumstances or problem set, and follow up to arrange for or even personally provide training in that area.

As opposed to the Perceptive Group Analyst, the Group Trainer’s perception is often found pointing outward, with the goal to bring helpful tools into the group. In person, they seem more pragmatic than the Perceptive Group Analyst, with more focus on the bottom line and the question of “what is being done” as opposed to questions like “what story are we writing” or the many other types of group psychological concern.

One common strength of the Group Trainer, known to them or not, is the ability to adapt when a more Open stance is required. Looking outward for tools requires, at some point, that the Group Trainer act as a sort of gateway to the information and “gate out of the way.” Used successfully, this skill can be leveraged as a reasonable stand-in for the more empathetic group harmony considerations which may be somewhat draining.

The Group Trainer often pays a lot of attention to “Reward” in the “Role, Group, Reward” model, when they may be better suited to consider the “Group” factor. It is important for an INTJ in this role to know that they have some level of Group-type cover. Additionally, taking some time to look inward and understand (and even listen to) the group members talk about themselves can help this individual address important contingencies while they pay much-needed attention to external tools and resources.

Role 3. The Perceptive Problem Analyst

The Perceptive Problem Analyst usually fills a very understated role. They help the group feel comfortable in their understanding of the problem before making important decisions. They are a sort of problem-spy, getting to know the problem itself in detail. This person is visibly most comfortable working on their own, however when interacting with the team, they can typically balance their quietness with a calm, friendly demeanor which makes them easy to listen to.

In fact, the Perceptive Problem Analyst who has developed a soft-touch sense of humor, especially with the ability to switch between self-deprecation and “here’s what I’m thinking, does anyone else see this?” is often a much-sought-after team member. The self-deprecation helps reflect back to the team-organism an affirmation that the team is indeed “better than the sum of its parts”, additionally affirming that while team members may have strong individual gifts, disintegration would come at a potentially high cost.

The Perceptive Problem Analyst enjoys developing standalone, powerful perceptions which when communicated make the group feel much relief: The problem has been made simpler just by a re-phrasing! “Does it appear to anyone else that we may be working with a simple issue of scheduling?” Such phrases, even if found to be over-simplified later in the worst case, help the group-organism preserve energy that will be needed for the duration.

The Perceptive Problem Analyst is typically keen to identify a comfortable “Role” in the “Role, Group, Reward” model, when they may be better suited to focus on the “Group” factor. Burrowing into a tightly-defined role, while comfortable, may be detrimental to the future of someone with such a great ability to help a team move forward by doing deep and effective problem-by-problem homework and analysis.

Where am I…or where can I go?

So which are you? This question may signal the beginning of a personal development journey for you. You may feel that you easily fit more than one role, but I encourage you to test them out and get a feel for the appropriateness of the various roles. (One concept I’m leaving out here is the “Contextual Role Mindset,” in which you identify opportunities to switch roles mid-project. This skill can be leveraged in order to repair personal or team energy problems.)

In the end, no matter your most comfortable role, working with a team is still work. A role must be grown into, worked with, and often tailored to fit. It must fit you, it must fit the group, and it must fit the problem set in question.

When considering the three team roles above, I encourage you to think both about 1) your past experience with teams and 2) future possibilities. Does one or another role resonate more with your intuition? This may suggest that you have some relevant past experience with that role.

Moving into future team or group engagements, I encourage you to review these roles and think about the role(s) which seem to be an appropriate use of your personal energy.

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