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?
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.
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.
20 thoughts on “Are INFPs Poor Leaders?”
Ni has nothing to do with making strategic plans, it only means you can read patterns and somehow “predict” some events. And inferior Se has nothing to with actually putting things into practice, it’s the total opposite: it means you are a slug in the concrete world.
Carl Jung described Ni doms as Space Cadets, people with a vivid imagination but totally impractical in the concrete world.
NFPs also have Ni, as either their demostrative or mobilizing function. So there is no point.
Ni is basically about living in your own head, sometimes at the point of being totally unable to act in the concrete world. And Fe is about not having your own sense of values, because you mirror other people’s value. None of those functions make you a leader.
John Kerry, Jimmy Carter are INFPs, and many say John F. kennedy and Thomas Jefferson were INFPs.
Keep in mind due to our desire to create harmony amongst the masses and uplift oppressed people, we will always be discriminated against as leaders, especially in a world where war is a business used to generate wealth or secure resources.
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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Agreed. I am a solid leader, if a less aggressive one. And I just found out I’m INFP.
We’re good at leading but not the mundane administration work…
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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I think what you say is true, as far as INFP’s are concerned. We have to find something of economic value that we’re passionate about and ruthlessly chase it, for year’s, decades if we have to. we don’t have to be rich, we just have to believe in our work. but we usually have to fight to get it. That mean’s exercising our shadow functions and tapping into our inner brutality for the greater good. We’ll have to forgive ourselves for what feels like presumption and audacity, and momentarily let go of our desire for harmony for now so to work for harmony in the future. We have to suspend our idealism without abandoning our ideals. We have to embody our values, remember that the world doesn’t really notice or care, then figure out how to negotiate with the world to make ourselves heard. we have to let go of a stary eye’d view of things, while still finding our cherished sense of wonder.
Our deep reservoirs of feeling give us energy to fight through our discomforts and to feed our resolve, if we can find it to begin with. we have to find something we’re all in on. An ace in the hole. I’m not sure how to find one: it’s different for everyone. I think our greatest asset is interpersonal relationship. If we have the courage to share, people like use when they get to know us. They can help us short up our difficulty in navigating the darkness around us. If someone can validate our feelings and offer us a place in the world, that can go a long way as far as motivation. Ultimately, I think our only path to success is to find people who can help us and let them: no small feet for an INFP.
While I agree that having certain functions in certain positions can make you more likely to have poor leadership skills, I don’t believe having high Te or Fe makes you more adept for leadership by default, nor do I believe high Ne users can’t be focused on their goals enough. I’m still struggling to know whether I’m an NFP or INFJ, and I don’t want to feel like I can’t be a leader if I don’t have the right functions.
Bah, INFP are natural leaders constantly forced into the position while usually clawing in the direction to get out of it. We sort out the values half of the story with whats going on first with Fi before we move on to the practical sorting Te, we actually are so capable and knowledgeable most of the time we have the sense and luxury to avoid it and when we cant we use the strengths of those around us to full advantage, you dont need Fe manipulation skills when you have the ENFP toolbox always handy. And Fi is notorious in its lack of desire to affect others. Leave it to a INFJ to over think it….. :P If were not *notable* leaders its more to do with our chronic lack of motivation and being casually above the game though we never admit it.
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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Theres nothing bad about not being the leader type, everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses. INFPs usually aren’t the type that want to dominate over people and win over the approval of others too much. You be you.
hiii just to say, i wanted to reblog this via tumblr and didn’t let me, something is not working. Have a look if you can fix it.
Are you sure it’s not just your computer? Works just fine for me…
When it comes to a NFP millitary leader， maybe T.E Lawrence is a good example.
I’ll look into it.
I’m not finding anything on him as an INFP. He comes up as an INFJ in my search. Do you have any link we could read explaining why he might have been an INFP?
In the movie yes, in real life we dont know…
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!
I always interrupt the queue for excellent questions. This website is my problem-solving-Ni addiction. Like Sherlock, I put the interesting cases first in line.
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