Are INFPs Poor Leaders?

Are INFPs Poor Leaders?

Question: “Hello Mr. INTJ.  I am an INFP. On the net, I always find that some of the famous authors, actors, writers, artists, music composers are INFPs . But I have never found a single famous military leader, politician, athlete, player, scientist (except Einstein), sci-fi writer in the list of INFPs.  All other personality types have some or more of these ranges.  Even ENFPs have some world class leaders (though shown in the dark side on celebritytypes.com).  In the list of INFPs there are some who have committed suicide.  On the other side there are people who have committed mass homicides in other personality types.  Why are INFPs  always so meek in their behavior?  Why are we not as outgoing as other types?  I even found on the net that INFPs are the economically the poorest of all types.   I will be thankful to you if you put some light on this topic.  I  know you can understand what I mean to say.  So please answer my question as soon as possible.”

Answer: Hello Mr. big questions. I interrupted the queue just to answer this one, so first off, I’ll give you some NFP scientists to make friends with. Michio Kaku and Brian Cox are my two favourites. Go and look them up.

I can tell you right off the bat why ENFPs are more likely to be famous leaders than INFPs. It’s merely because their Te is higher up in the function hierarchy than INFPs.

As to INFPs always being meek? Actually, no, they’re not. 

INFPs can be cruel hearted just like INTJs can be kind. If you’ve ever looked at lists of villains and their corresponding MBTI types, you’ll notice there aren’t a lot of NFPs. However, the ones that do exist in the canon are typically quite motivated to cause you as much pain as possible (check out my villains post for more on this).

The reason NFPs are not commonly military leaders is simply because they don’t usually possess the traits that military leadership requires. NFPs have Te, but not enough to bluntly command an army. They don’t have the Ni to make really great strategic decisions. Their Si isn’t high enough in the hierarchy to make them pragmatists. They don’t have an Se function that makes their spontaneous decisions work well in warfare.

What do they have? They have Ne: the world’s idea generator. They have dom/aux Fi that makes them too deeply feeling and not logically driven enough for warfare. The NFPs who are scientists are usually well developed in their lower functions, so rather than being all Ne/Fi, their logic is more balanced and they’re able to organise their time better.

And INFP’s Te is even lower on the function hierarchy than ENFPs, so they’re significantly less likely to defy the statistics you’ve referenced.

In terms of people in other types that have committed mass genocide, I’m going to guess you’re thinking of Hitler? Another F type capable of murder while most NFPs aren’t?

Are INFPs Poor Leaders?

I doubt that there isn’t at least one NFP who wished they could commit mass genocide. Unlike Hitler however, NFPs don’t have his Fe charm on other people (read the Hitler post, and look specifically at his Extraverted Feeling function). NFPs are also commonly much too spontaneous and impulsive to have the focus that Hitler had. His Ni had a specific vision in mind and he pursued it until it was reality. Ne is much more easily distracted.

As to NFPs being the famous people who commit suicide –there is much pain hidden behind smiling faces. Because NFPs have an upper Fi function coupled with Ne, they often have the greatest capacity (among the types) to feel pain. Yet, they usually hide it because they don’t want to be a burden to others.

Often, having Ne/Fi as your top functions makes you an idealist, the person who smiles and inspires people when all around is chaos and darkness.

Are INFPs Poor Leaders?

Anne Frank was that person –smiling to the day that she died in concentration camp. But look at Anne Frank on the inside. She has DEEP feelings, but they are so rooted in herself, so out of her control, and so connected to her ideals that her bad feelings towards others hardly go past writing a cruel note or wanting to yell at someone.

People with Fe in the top functions understand other people’s emotions better than their own, which makes them better manipulators when they want to be. They may be deeply hurt inside by things, but not to the extent of an NFP.

People with Fi in the lower functions have Te in the upper functions and often put their agenda before their feelings. I know I definitely do.

I hope I hit on all your main points there. I think I understood your question, but I also think your Ne might have been asking multiple questions, so If I didn’t get everything, just send me another ask or comment below.

11 thoughts on “Are INFPs Poor Leaders?

  1. I feel INFPs can be great LEADERS, maybe not great MANAGERS….I’m an INFP- have been leading several teams for coming up on 3 year….Getting positive results from some associates who have struggled with multiple “successful” managers in the past……but due to my hesitancy to put a couple of borderline folks (that id rather continue to work “with”) i may be seen as a “soft” manager

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  2. Okay, so… While reading these blog posts of yours I have cycle myself through INFJ INTJ ISTJ annnd INFP. Just for the record.

    I should point out that all of those guesses are very serious, but I believe I doubt my assessment of my own traits too much to not messing up when it comes to typing myself.

    It just happens that I type out INFP from this post and it clicks with many of my historical tendencies and shortcomings. Not that I like it. It also happens that I have a specific dislike of INFP traits I find in myself. I’ll explain:

    INFP in my eyes has the greatest capacity to feel pain. Of course they have the same capacity for joy and creativity in many forms, but in this world of dark, chaotic economic struggles of vastly different scales and pains that people have to go through to make a living, there is no place for an idealist. I really dislike the notion of forced, hurtful labor for coins – aka doing jobs one deeply hate, or is looked down and hated by others, for a living. I’d rather stick to doing what will preserve my sense of happiness, balance and inner harmony, but of course I am worry: 1) what will I actually do. 2) how can I support my family out of it. I am sure many others out there, dominant Fi dom or not, feel the same. Like your future is closing in on you one way or the other, and eventually you’d numb out and be one of the husks out there wasting your life away. Your light goes out.

    It is not a nice burden to feel

    So I suppose this INFP here did feel it and tried desperate research to see if it is really true. Well statistically it is, which is poor for us high minded idealists. You don’t always get a shot at becoming a respected Japanese scientist honored all over the world. You’ll always get a shot at raising two kids with a spouse and bickering with them over money or lack thereof while crying inside. So I suppose what s/he ask is if and how INFP can succeed as a person, even moderately, in fields not as fluffy as art (not all places in the world accept art is legitimate money making career). We might not even like art. We might want something that can stimulate the mind as well as allow us to celebrate the intricate love of life in our heart and soul. Where can we find it, cause it is not always obvious to us that we cab be fully functioning humans, useful to our families and respected by peers.

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  3. Hello. I found this a fascinating read. As an INFP in the military, I have noticed that my leadership skills are… lacking to say the least. I am working on that though, but I’m concerned that if I work on it too much, it might change the stuff about me that makes me… me. If that makes sense. Regardless, it was an interesting read and I can definitely confirm that not all INFPs are meek. :)

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    • Hi Chelsea. I, too, was an INFP in the military. I was on my way to Officer Candidate School, even…that is, until I suffered Military Sexual Trauma and developed PTSD. I believe I would have made a really good officer. Although I did not have that opportunity (I was scapegoated, as most are, when I reported the incident and that puts a black mark on one’s military record), my strong values and determination are what enabled me to survive such a horrific betrayal and to continue putting myself out there in order to contribute to the world. Another female vet I know appears to prefer the ISFP type and she was on her way to Warrant Officer School but the same thing happened to her. I think we are both passionate and unwilling to compromise our strong values. This makes us a different kind of leader than the Commander leading on the battlefield, but a leader just the same.

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  4. Thank you sir. I asked you this question and I am really satisfied with your answer. It helped me to understand myself and other INFPs better. I am surprised that you interrupted the queue just to answer my question. Again thank you a lot for your response. You answered my long question just after I posted it. Long live INTJs!

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