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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had some sort of leadership positions a couple of times.

Here is my take on it: Even though I have a much, much better idea of the group dynamics than other people, I don't seem to be able to tell people what to do very well, in fact, I seem to prefer not to.

I think that I would be good at leading if I were able to figure this out, and given the opportunity to do so... because I know what needs to be done and how to get there. I think I am able to phrase things diplomatically for the most part, to the right people.

Anyone ever been in a situation where you had to direct others? How did you fare?
 

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I feel ya, I don't like giving commands or orders to people. Nor do I like teaching people things because I don't want them to feel inferior or have doubt in themselves. I try to find a balance in making a task seem difficult yet easy so when they do it they feel like they've really accomplished something(so they feel good). When it comes to giving "orders" or getting someone to do something, I usually do it through a question. More of something like "Could you please do *insert*?" Or "Can you do me a favor and *insert*?" Something like that. I don't want to feel like a dictator like how so supervisors say "Do this *insert*.... please" or "Take these binders to the other desk." Or any sort of command.
 

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Horribly. Bossing people around requires that you be, well, bossy, which is something pretty contradictory to my character.

Being diplomatic can ease tensions (which is what INFJs can be good at, I suppose) but it's not necessarily going to focus people on getting a job done.
 

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Horribly. Bossing people around requires that you be, well, bossy, which is something pretty contradictory to my character.

Being diplomatic can ease tensions (which is what INFJs can be good at, I suppose) but it's not necessarily going to focus people on getting a job done.
Yeah, bossy is definitely not something I want to portray myself as, and I'm very careful about not acting like that. Seems like being polite and encouraging is enough to get people to do things and yields a different type of respect, one that I'd prefer.
 

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At first people are attached to my leadership qualities but when they realize I'm not going to bossy them around they tend to follow people who will

besides I like the feeling of guiding someone is what I live for.
 

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I have a natural tendency to take charge. I think it is due to my need for things to run smoothly. It drives me nuts when I know there is a better way to do things so I guess I just end up taking charge to make sure things run efficiently. I was responsible for managing people during my entire business career. I liked the parts of leadership that involved training staff or implementing the plan for getting a job done. I seem to be especially talented at hiring people and putting together a good team. I could have a 15 minute interview with someone and tell you exactly what kind of employee they would be. I guess that talent really fits the INFJ personality type. But I HATED the part of leadership that involved having to deal with people that weren't performing up to par. I didn't shy away from it because I knew it had to be done, but I hated it. So as I change careers, I am trying very hard to avoid being a manager again. Although I would happily take on any leadership roles that didn't require me to be responsible for other people's performance.

But my advice to any INFJ that is faced with having to manage people would be to try to approach it from the standpoint that you are helping the people you are managing even when you are telling them they have to change their behavior. You are helping them be a better employee, so that they can succeed in their job.
 

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Well... what's the use in taking charge when you can just give advise to the leader? Leading can be such a hassle. Leaders need to be tough.

Leaders tend to ask my input on questions they have... or just in general. From what I've heard that's pretty universal among us INFJs. Which is why I guess some systems call us the Confidant. Something about us screams "Ask us stuff".

Despite not really enjoying it... I have stepped up to be leader quite often. I don't really like giving orders or being bossy, as everyone else said... when I do lead, I like to ask rather than demand... I put each person in the group "in charge" of a certain part that needs doing. I tell each person in the group how their work contributes to the greater whole, or maybe help them with what they're doing to show them I'm not above helping out.

But if I'm in a group... leader or not... I'll make sure my co-workers are happy, and not fighting each other. We INFJs oil the cogs of the machine.
 

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I had a managment job years ago. I ran the store very well. I actually surprised myself & worked with my employees well. I basically told them what I needed from them & was firm about it, yet I showed them that I cared. They could come to me whenever they needed to. And boy did they! I let them see that I was the same as they were...I did all the work that they did. I disliked the part where I had to fire someone. I had that happen only once. I brought the store up out of the red into the black. Then I left that job. I did not stay in management after that. For me, it was too taxing.
 

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I had a managment job years ago. I ran the store very well. I actually surprised myself & worked with my employees well. I basically told them what I needed from them & was firm about it, yet I showed them that I cared. They could come to me whenever they needed to. And boy did they! I let them see that I was the same as they were...I did all the work that they did. I disliked the part where I had to fire someone. I had that happen only once. I brought the store up out of the red into the black. Then I left that job. I did not stay in management after that. For me, it was too taxing.
As someone who's had a lot of shitty bosses, I want to say that the best leaders aren't necessarily people who want to lead.

For too many leaders, ego plays too big a role. Sounds to me like you sincerely wanted to help as a leader, which is invaluable in of itself.
 

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I was placed in a position of authority a few times in the military. I did not really enjoy it, and much prefer life as a peon, or even better, self (or un)-employed. My general style is to lead by example and never to ask someone to do something I am not willing to do myself. A lot of times I would attempt to compensate for the lack of others, and take too much responsibility upon myself, to the point where I became swamped. I finally learned to delegate tasks to others. I am good at recognizing people's strengths and weaknesses, and tend to employ them in areas in which I know they will excel and feel comfortable, and still get the job done. I think it is good when people feel empowered. I try to be encouraging, and to be quick to compliment and slow to criticize. And I attempt to foster a warm, casual atmosphere in which people can feel comfortable and never be afraid to voice opinions or ask for help. I strive for consistency. When I take over leadership form someone else, if what they were doing was working, I tend to continue with that system, and only change it if there are inherent weaknesses. I am patient and have been told several times that I have a calming effect on people and situations.
 

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I try to be a democratic as possible whenever I am put into a leadership position. I organize things and get them sorted out, says what needs to be said. Ask people what they want to do, what they are best at. When things happen quickly and there is no time I am very commanding, direct and forward but not an ass hole about it.
 
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I had a managment job years ago. I ran the store very well. I actually surprised myself & worked with my employees well. I basically told them what I needed from them & was firm about it, yet I showed them that I cared. They could come to me whenever they needed to. And boy did they! I let them see that I was the same as they were...I did all the work that they did. I disliked the part where I had to fire someone. I had that happen only once. I brought the store up out of the red into the black. Then I left that job. I did not stay in management after that. For me, it was too taxing.
I can relate to how it feels to have to fire someone. I had to fire and lay off quite a few people over the years. But the worst was when I had to layoff an entire department at once, and several of the people were excellent employees. It was an INFJ nightmare! After that, dealing with employee issues was somewhat easier - nothing seemed quite as bad in comparison.
 

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This is a great thread. I have been a manager a couple times in my career. I happen to think that INFJs make very good managers - certainly at line level - not so sure about climbing the corporate ladder.

Many of the qualities that people mentioned about being polite, leading by example, lack of ego etc are qualities that many look for in a leader. There is a big difference between setting dierction, providing clarity etc and bossing people around.

It's interesting that many shy away from leadership due to not wanting to "give orders" or "tell people what to do". Good modern managers really don't have to do that very often - the trick is to use it sparingly and at the right time.

Good managers are expected to have great coaching and listening skills - guess what we are good at.

I think part of the problem is that the vast majority of us have never actually been managed by a truely outstanding leader - most managers are expected to just muddle through with little training and experience. So role models are hard to come by.

disciplinary and layoffs are not nice - thankfully I didn't have to do this very often. I remember doing a formal discpplinary once where our HR person (who knows me very well as a warm kind hearted type) was shocked at how direct I could be. Preparation is really the key to dealing with these kind of situations. you have to force yourself to become very facts oriented and directive. I don't think INFJs do this side of management naturally but we can do it and do it professionally
 

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I have a tendency to take charge. Though I am quite assertive, I am not necessarily an aggressive personality and they are different (thus the paradigm "passive aggressive").

My approach is more team oriented as I sit down with my team and discuss our objectives. We discuss what we need to do and what we can do. After that, I set timelines and discuss responsibilities with an overall sense of urgency.

During the whole process I like to overcommunicate by checking against set milestones and if there are any issues so we can tackle them together.
 

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Taking a leadership position is what I do for a living

I have to guide the customer around their computer so I can help them fix it

It's very mentally exhausting on me, but since everyone else can do it no sweat, I look like I'm not trying hard enough
 

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We take charge by being natural leaders.What i find is most people gain power by either being a sycophant(Kissing butt) INFJ's refuse to do this.I have always been a leader in most situations.One need's to control one's ego when making decisions.As the protectors,we generally treat people very well and we always know what's best for others...Winks.Thank you for the friendship add Humilis.Good question also.
 

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As someone who's had a lot of shitty bosses, I want to say that the best leaders aren't necessarily people who want to lead.

For too many leaders, ego plays too big a role. Sounds to me like you sincerely wanted to help as a leader, which is invaluable in of itself.
Yeah, I know what you mean about an egostical boss...have one of those now. His antics cause me to shake my head!

Thanks. You should have seen me when I got home! Ugh...had no energy left! I prefer being a piece of the backbone.
 
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I can relate to how it feels to have to fire someone. I had to fire and lay off quite a few people over the years. But the worst was when I had to layoff an entire department at once, and several of the people were excellent employees. It was an INFJ nightmare! After that, dealing with employee issues was somewhat easier - nothing seemed quite as bad in comparison.
Oh my, I can only imagine because of my empathy. You are a strong person indeed! The store I managed was a small one. Thank goodness! I'm a quiet kind of leader. I rather be part of the backbone & get things started. I'm not very good up in front of a crowd. I'll let those type of people run with my insights. I'm just delighted that I have good insights & others are comfortable with them. Somehow this creates a balance for my INFJness. I use my energy without overwhelming myself. :happy:
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have enjoyed reading everyone's responses.

I am interested especially what it takes to be an assertive leader. Chaseut mentions "over-communicating". One of the problems I encounter frequently, and I am not sure if this is true for other INFJs, is that other people have trouble following the logic or reasoning behind my actions -- it either requires a lot of faith or a lot of explaining. With people who don't ever see my more serious side, I find myself explaining myself a lot -- it is as if they don't believe that I am capable of contemplating something rationally and at length....

I find the back door methods of getting people to do what I want the easiest, which is frustrating, since I really don't like manipulating people unless I absolutely have to. Also, it's a lot of work when I could just be giving it to them straight. We seem to keep falling into the previous pattern, however, and I am not sure why. Path of least resistance?

Assertive INFJs, how did you learn to be this way?
 

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I find the back door methods of getting people to do what I want the easiest, which is frustrating, since I really don't like manipulating people unless I absolutely have to. Also, it's a lot of work when I could just be giving it to them straight. We seem to keep falling into the previous pattern, however, and I am not sure why. Path of least resistance?

Assertive INFJs, how did you learn to be this way?
Please, please, please do not be this way! It drives me crazy when someone "asks" me to do something without actually asking. Some people may not realize that you are being manipulative, but another INFJ surely will. My husband's ex-wife must have been like this, because he often assumes I have some hidden agenda and it drives me crazy! He's been conditioned to believe that he is supposed to figure out what I'm really trying to tell him instead of taking my statements at face value. You are doing yourself and the person you are communicating with a great disservice by not being straightforward.

I'm not sure how I learned to be assertive. Maybe it was because I was in JROTC in high school and became the commanding officer - it's easy to be assertive in a military-like setting because orders are orders, you are not supposed to ask you are supposed to command. But in the rest of society, obviously that kind of leadership is not such a good idea. I think that maybe one thing that has continued to drive my assertiveness (even though I'm super-sensitive to conflict) is the need for efficiency that my "J" provides me. When I see something that needs to get done, I know that the most efficient way to accomplish this is to be direct (although polite and empathetic) about it. Think about how much energy (and often time) that is often wasted when you try to get things accomplished the indirect way.
 
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