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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just dropping by to get a bit of advice regarding an INFP manager, who has been great for the most part.

However, a few things have been driving me up the wall to the point of where I've almost snapped. It takes a lot to get me to that point and now for a while, I've about had enough.

He's very indirect when giving feedback. He also talks a lot and doesn't listen very well to the point where I will be driving home a great presentation during a meeting, he'll interrupt me and completely derail me and take charge. Sometimes he crashes the presentation train and then just looks at me when shit goes awry. What the hell? I am generally very respectful of him talking and not interjecting too much. But he does this to me literally almost EVERY meeting where he is directly a part of it and not necessarily the key player.

In my opinion, he does it for no good reason either. Other than maybe he thinks I can't handle my own shit? I honestly don't think he does this intentionally. Any advice for me in ways I can tell him to cool it down a few notches?
 

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Hey Miso, I am a supervisor to an ENTJ and an INTJ and I know that I get on their nerves sometimes in a major way, because my style is so very different than theirs. I know if I ever interrupt someone's presentation it's usually because of 3 things: 1) you're giving out bad information or your delivery style is poor and I'm trying to save the presentation from going off the rails; 2) you're making an excellent point and I want to elaborate on it; or 3) you're giving only part of the story and I want to flesh it out more.

If your boss compliments you on your presentations afterwards, it is a good sign he's happy with you and it's probably item 2 or 3, in which case you might want to just touch base with him before your next presentation to make sure you're hitting all the points he wants to cover. If he doesn't praise you after your presentations, it might be that your presentation style and/or content could use some work, and he doesn't want to hurt your feelings by telling you so. That's when you approach him and say you're concerned your presentations may be missing the mark, since he often interrupts you, and could your boss offer suggestions for the next time? That hopefully will elicit some response and guidance.

ENTJs are usually excellent communicators, but sometimes you can be a little too direct, and that can be an issue, especially if the topic is sensitive. Or, as you know, your type has a reputation for being cocky/arrogant and it can be very off-putting to an audience if you're coming off like you think you are superior to your audience (even if you don't think it at all, your body language may be communicating that).

Hopefully your boss is familiar with MBTI, and if so maybe you can just have a chat about style (or, better yet, give him printouts or links to websites that describe your type, so he can understand what makes you tick better). I know I tend to communicate with people the way I prefer to be spoken to (I can pick up easily on the messages behind indirect communications), but I've learned with my ENTJ that directness (or what I would consider to be blunt on the verge of rude) is appreciated. It couldn't hurt to tell your boss, "Please be brutally honest with me. It won't hurt my feelings." He might drop the indirect style a bit. And once you get that dialogue going with him, please do explain why the interruptions are a concern for you (and give specifics).

Best of luck! I hope this helps!
 

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MOTM Dec 2012
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Make it personal.











Ok, seriously....

I would ask him why he feels like he needs to interrupt you every time you present. To me, the why question is the most important because it fuels everything I do, that is, on my own volition. If I interrupt you, it's usually because I see some salient point that needs to be made. I can't speak for all INFP's, but I tend to keep my opinions to myself unless I feel really relaxed or really pissed off. It seems to me like your boss has a chip on his shoulder. I can't put my finger on it, but maybe it could be that he's trying to look more in control in front of his peers? As an INFP, I'm not a natural leader, someone who likes the spotlight. But I am more than capable of "fake it 'till you make it" mentality.

Or...he could have gone off the reservation.

 

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Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration...

Everybody is entitled to their opinions, and take into the consideration of the small nuances that other people see and hear. If he is your boss, then find out why he wants and said this or that. Maybe it is better if you went and talked to him one to one, and ask him where you went wrong in the presentation.

INFPs are indeed keen to keep good feelings, and good positiveness all around. IF at any point in time someone stopped you and it was starting to derail, then that is why they would step in. If you were in front of customers, then take a hint of your boss' interjection. "Yes, sorry... as my manager made an important point, this is a possibility..." you bring back in what he/she mentioned and add this back into your presentation too. While you are doing the actual presentation, he could be already scanning the room to check the responses from the recipients of the presentation too. He worries that they are not responding positively. If the collaboration is working, you will also see the positive feedback and response from the other participants also too.

If you feel that your manager is undermining you, then to tackle this is possibly to send him a copy of the presentation beforehand, ask him to verify, and for his approval. Literally ask him this. "May I have your approval on these presentation slides?" Also, maybe it is worth you asking for his feedback after the meeting on how well you did or not etc. Which part he liked and doesn't like and why etc.

Your INFP may only waffle on (in your words) when he sensed that something is likely to go wrong.. and it is going downhill... Even though you may think that the shit hit the fan was because of him, but he probably could've sensed that prior towards that, cos he already has that bigger picture in mind, and the possibilities of the directions that it could go down in. What people do not say or do not cover sometimes will indeed be as important also.

Also, remember this, key player or not, he is still your boss. You can give a decent presentation and let it come forward and then hand it over to your boss to summarise. If he is an attendee, then he will have the overall say as well. Especially if the circumstances require him as a stakeholder to make decisions.
 

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MOTM Dec 2011
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He's very indirect when giving feedback. He also talks a lot and doesn't listen very well to the point where I will be driving home a great presentation during a meeting, he'll interrupt me and completely derail me and take charge. Sometimes he crashes the presentation train and then just looks at me when shit goes awry. What the hell? I am generally very respectful of him talking and not interjecting too much. But he does this to me literally almost EVERY meeting where he is directly a part of it and not necessarily the key player.

In my opinion, he does it for no good reason either. Other than maybe he thinks I can't handle my own shit? I honestly don't think he does this intentionally. Any advice for me in ways I can tell him to cool it down a few notches?

I'm not trying to throw the blame somewhere else, but what you describe is so uncharacteristic of INFPs I don't even know what to say about it. INFPs are sort of EPIC listeners, it's practically a defining mental pattern for INFPs in that Dario Nardi experiment.

It's possible this person is ENFP, IMO. If you consider the interaction styles of types, what you describe sounds more like "Get Things Going" to me: Interaction Styles

Extroverted Intution involves a lot of crossing contexts to bring forth many new ideas all at once like a christmas tree lighting up. This can cause something someone else says to trigger an idea explosion, and yet, it may appear that there is no connection between what was just said & what the person is now excitedly sharing. This may look like they were not listening or valuing what you were saying, but really, you INSPIRED their tangent.

If a person is characterized by this more than listening closely to content so as to carefully evaluate for consistency when someone is finished, then I'd suggest they may be Ne-dom and not Fi-dom. Although, this seems to be the worst in tertiary Ne types, and especially ESFJs (something about Fe feeling justified to interrupt to control the emotional environment and Ne randomness without the Ne big picture...they interrupt and go on useless tangents a lot :X ).

I'd approach this person with your concerns, but ease any potential conflict by
- Giving the benefit of the doubt. Don't assume bad motive or self-absorption on their part. Try and consider what would motivate a person to take this approach that is coming from a good place, even if it's not effective. Try and consider what about you might trigger this response in them, that this is likely a dynamic between you two rather than this person just being annoying.

- Try reinforcement of positive behaviors & pointedly ignoring negative ones. FPs in general (especially Fi-dom, in the event this person really is one) tend to notice what is NOT said & often assume criticism in the areas ignored. Is it possible to redirect back to your points in a way that subtly points out his interruption was not helpful? You might say, "Thanks for the input, but back to what I was saying....". This can emphasis that what he was doing was derailing & not positively contributing. Again, FPs are VERY SENSITIVE to criticisms and non-positive feedback (neutral also, not necessarily negative), so a little goes a long way here.

- NFPs are also usually very interested in alternate views & other people's perspectives, so as to complete the "big picture". Some of what this person may be doing is trying to explore other ideas where they feel you may be focusing too narrowly on one vision (more Ni style, & perhaps Te has already edited out other ideas not deemed logically possible). What you might do is try & follow their tangents & then tactfully explain your process of narrowing it down, as opposed to appearing dismissive of other ideas (which NTJs can do, and which may make an NFP stubborn to keep bringing up other ideas - which just look like nonsensical tangents to you). Again, if Fi-dom, the person prefers rational arguments to support an idea, so potential is written off faster than for a Ne-dom. But they require an explanation, or else they will find you dismissive. And this person will be evaluating for a level of consistency much higher than Te (which is what makes us so idealistic).

If Ne-dom, you kind of want to get them on-board with a decision and then moving the possibility exploration to the next level below. You might be like, "Okay, after considering all THAT, X seems the best decision because (insert brief explanation)". Use softer language, which emphasizes perception of a conclusion over black-and-white judgements. Notice I said "seems" over "is". This is subtle but important in how confrontational the person will receive you.

I have to do this with MY boss, who I think is ENFP, because she'll get stuck in decision paralysis otherwise. It's weird for me to play that role, but again, it can be about dynamics as much as individual habits. Sometimes I'll pretend like she actually gave me a decision, and this can prompt her to just agree or disagree, which brings the possibility train in the station finally.

- NFPs are not linear thinkers (aka "left-brained"), because evaluation is more about relation in terms of a whole, and Ne is more like putting together a puzzle by grabbing different pieces randomly & just knowing what picture they will form without having to actually fit it together. Like most, we assume others do our processes also, so when someone needs something "spelled out" in a more linear manner, they can actually look "stupid" to us. We may think, "Why can't they make that connection as I did?".

So you have to make an effort to put together the different pieces they are handing you, to see how it all fits & DOES make sense in terms of how it all relates (there IS a consistency). If you dismiss it as irrelevant randomness, then you're just dismissing their viewpoint as a person, and perhaps unfairly so.

In short, you may be hitting each other's buttons because much as a Fi-dom may not appear to make sense to you, Te-dom actually appear that way to Fi-dom. Probably hard for a Te-dom to grasp, but it's true. Instead of sounding rational, Te-dom can just look like a gorilla beating its chest. And our reaction to that may just be to throw bananas at you, thinking, "This person is ridiculous! I'm just going to throw bananas at him & while he tries to consume some, maybe he'll slip on a peel". In getting their respect & support, you may have to adjust your style a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks all for your input. I have a feeling he feels the need to show his manager-power over me because he is a first time manager. I have a feeling he overdoes this at times.

He knows what MBTI is, but he thinks it's bullshit. So I don't think me sending him anything about my personality is going to help.

He doesn't compliment my work often. In fact, he keeps giving me small projects and is quite frankly making me feel useless. He makes fun of me. If he's unhappy with my work or doesn't like my attitude, I would hope he would say something or at least hint towards it.

I'm naturally curious and super enthusiastic about things, he just sits there and makes fun of me. I have a feeling, that he in general doesn't respect me at all.

It has nothing to do with me not respecting my manager's input and this isn't an issue with collaboration. I work well with my other co-workers, both above me and peers. I have no issues with other co-workers in this space...only him. In fact, he's the only person that interrupts me and others have noticed and have said it's awkward.
 

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Thanks all for your input. I have a feeling he feels the need to show his manager-power over me because he is a first time manager. I have a feeling he overdoes this at times.

He knows what MBTI is, but he thinks it's bullshit. So I don't think me sending him anything about my personality is going to help.

He doesn't compliment my work often. In fact, he keeps giving me small projects and is quite frankly making me feel useless. He makes fun of me. If he's unhappy with my work or doesn't like my attitude, I would hope he would say something or at least hint towards it.

I'm naturally curious and super enthusiastic about things, he just sits there and makes fun of me. I have a feeling, that he in general doesn't respect me at all.

It has nothing to do with me not respecting my manager's input and this isn't an issue with collaboration. I work well with my other co-workers, both above me and peers. I have no issues with other co-workers in this space...only him. In fact, he's the only person that interrupts me and others have noticed and have said it's awkward.
Miso, sounds like he might be threatened and/or intimidated by you and doesn't want look weak or less in control than you ... which is especially characteristic of inexperienced managers who are learning the ropes of supervision. Your boss being a male INFP might feel very much like he can't let his true nature show because of the "softness" issue so he is coming off hard when inside it's killing him to do so. So it's probably going to take some time for things to even out, and if they don't I expect you will probably move on to another job where there's a better dynamic with the boss.

Is there another supervisor/manager in the organization who knows you both well who might be able to give you some objective insight/advice about how to deal with the situation? If so I would encourage you to seek out that feedback. In the meantime, I think speaking to your boss about the concern regarding the interruptions and figuring out what is prompting the interruptions is a good step. Sometimes the hardest thing to do when you have a difficult relationship with your boss is to keep an open line of communication, but that's when it is the most necessary, you know?

And, going back to him being a new manager, just bear in mind that INFPs are rarely drawn to leadership positions; in most cases it is very much outside our comfort zone (unlike with ENTJs, who seem to relish any chance to lead). He is probably in a really uncomfortable place in his life and is trying to deal with it as best as he can (I bet 100 times a day he's wondering why in the heck he wanted to be a manager, and feeling completely incompetent at it). I made SO MANY mistakes as a new manager, it's painful to even think about it. Try practicing empathy, and see if it helps (a little empathy practicing never hurts an ENTJ, LOL).
 

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Thanks all for your input. I have a feeling he feels the need to show his manager-power over me because he is a first time manager. I have a feeling he overdoes this at times.
Regardless of this, so what, right? At the end of the day, both of you are employed by the company and you got to work well together. Know and define a process which works well between the two of you. Sometimes you may need to adjust it here and there, and other times, you got to really just play follow the leader.

He knows what MBTI is, but he thinks it's bullshit. So I don't think me sending him anything about my personality is going to help.
Lol. Why do you need to tell him about mbti ? This is something you posted online here, and I presume that you are seeking for answers, to deal with a personal work issue. Why would you go back to your own boss and tell him to learn mbti? Think about it. It sounds really unprofessional. "Hey boss, I want you to learn more about mbti please, so that you can understand me in a deeper level, and so that I can work better" (disregarding his position in the company, and your professional image in his eyes).

I do not know about you but what we replied here is more for your own benefit and understanding, because the context of what you wrote here is actually on an mbti forum... talking about efficiency of how one can recognise their own mbti in order to be more self aware and grow in one's life...

He doesn't compliment my work often. In fact, he keeps giving me small projects and is quite frankly making me feel useless. He makes fun of me. If he's unhappy with my work or doesn't like my attitude, I would hope he would say something or at least hint towards it.
Maybe you need to earn his trust and his understanding before you can be given more work and allow him to see your true capabilities. At the moment, based on what you write here, it seems that he also do not know how to pitch the relationship with you.

I'm naturally curious and super enthusiastic about things, he just sits there and makes fun of me. I have a feeling, that he in general doesn't respect me at all.
Maybe he's trying to find his humour and footing. lol... To me, I only tease very close NF friends that I know well, and sometimes I misfire but they understand it. It is like a method of dramatising thing. Exaggeration is a form of NF humour. :) Sometimes people also laugh out of awkwardness too. There is also another level as well sometimes between male and female manager-subordinate relationships. He may need to find his footing as not to actually get himself any sexual harrassment deals too. I find that married guys normally know how to pitch the level, but for young colleagues and professionals, I can also sense the awkwardness too.

It has nothing to do with me not respecting my manager's input and this isn't an issue with collaboration. I work well with my other co-workers, both above me and peers. I have no issues with other co-workers in this space...only him. In fact, he's the only person that interrupts me and others have noticed and have said it's awkward.
When I say collaboration, I meant his approach is all about collaboration. I did not mean to criticise you on how you should be more collaborative. I was merely explaining to you why your manager behaved a certain way so that you can actually understand him so much better, and therefore work with him on a better level.

The point I was trying to make is, regardless of who your manager is and their type. You got to be professional in the sense that you have to enter each presentation with full unity as a department or a business unit. Any deviation from that in terms of behaviour from you or knowledge on what you guys represent as a department makes your whole department look like a mockery.
Regardless of other colleagues seeing these critiques, it is too easy to jump on board that bandwagon and lose your perspective as well and start to personalise and single out your own manager as a personal vendetta target. Cos you won't learn anything then.


If what I write above does not make sense to you at all, then I would follow these strict guidelines over a continuous period to see improvement in your relationship so that he gets used to your working style.

1- Before each presentation and meeting whereby you need to present, send him a copy of presentation say 4 days at least in advance so that he gets a chance to read it through, and ask him for any additional points or correction if necessary.
2- Ask him for feedback straight after a meeting. If he doesn't do verbal, then ask him if he can send you an email of bullet points to you directly so that you can address it.
3 - Reduce the gossiping of you and your managers relationship with other colleagues in other departments cos if this gets out, then this becomes office rumour and it definitely WILL ruin your relationship from there on. So nip it in the bud. If he doesn't have a vendetta against you, he will, cos talking about your boss behind his back within the office is not a nice thing. It undermines trust. Also, if other managers also see this then it means that you are not a team player within your own dept.
4 - If you have ideas on how to improve team spirits and morale and ways of working, always bring it up as a suggestion within your team meetings itself. Channel the correct complaint in the correct context and place.
 

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MOTM Dec 2011
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Why have you typed this person as INFP?

Not having issues with others doesn't remove the possibility of this as a dynamic issue (you hit each other's buttons), because otherwise, are we supposed to buy this guy is just evil or something? That is rarely the case with people. I think you want to settle this down to him being threatened by you. Well, you've been given suggestions on how to mitigate that. Otherwise, there is nothing you can do. If it makes you happier to hear that he's 100% to blame & there is no solution on your part, then I guess you can think that. You can only change your behavior though; you cannot alter someone else's. That's wishful thinking.
 
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Maybe he doesn't really like you and your ideas. Sometime when I am in a meeting with some co-workers and this one guy in particular starts going off on his big ideas that to me, never make a lick of sense, I might contradict him and nit pick. Sometimes it's hard for me to be objective with someone when they bug the hell out of me all the time. Even if they have a great idea, my first reaction might be to poo-poo it and sometimes go as far as to make him look silly in front of others. i know it's pretty lame of me and disrespectful, and I have no excuse other than I have a hard time containing my emotions and if I have the chance to be sarcastic and biting to someone I don't like, then I do it. Maybe that is how he feels about you. Do you think he likes you?
 

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He's probably not even thinking about you. INFP work relationships are the same as INFP everything relationships. What he wants from you as an employee is for you to like him. He may possibly think that things like efficiency and progress are best left to the individual to struggle with on their own.

He's probably in a high position because he's smart and knows what he's doing, but he views his work (and work in general) as personal, and probably also doesn't anticipate the input of others.

If you want more feedback, ask him for it directly. If his answers don't satisfy you, you'll just have to figure out a way to evaluate your own work quality.

I had an INFP art teacher. He never gave any real feedback and was always extremely vague on the details. A lot of people were put off by this, but I found that he tended to prefer people who were self-sufficient and inventive over people who kept bugging him about instructions. 'If you need instructions, you don't know what you're doing', basically was the philosophy. That's pretty standard for a lot of INFPs in authority positions.

INFPs also don't often see any reason to follow a plan or a formula if they can think of something different. That may be why he derailed your presentation, because he had a thought or noticed something or had a question or a theory. When working with an INFP be prepared to improvise. A lot. Think fast on your feet.
 
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