So much has been written about whether opposites attract or difference is the key but in real life it is all about understanding the differences, accommodating and managing them. This section will help you see where the potential for conflict exists between personality types and help you manage it.
The INTJ is the patient visionary clear on how the future should look and will work with quiet, logical determination to make it happen. The INTJ loves an intellectual challenge and is stimulated by the abstract, the complex, the new and the untried; facts and figures bore them. They can seem a little detached from others as they quietly process so much information inside their heads.
People focused and action oriented the ESFJ is driven by a sense of duty. Cooperative and helpful, ESFJs are pragmatists, disliking anything woolly, preferring practical solutions to people issues and they will work hard to make this happen. Incredibly organised and great planners the ESFJ can become overly controlling in their desire to help sometimes believing their way is best.
There is no perfect type and in the same way there are no perfect matches. We can all learn to adapt and modify our behaviour if we choose and this section is therefore not designed to suggest particular specific matches but to demonstrate areas of similarity and difference so that a true understanding can happen and thus reduce the risk of misunderstandings.
Being around them
For the INTJ everything has a scientific base so getting close would be difficult initially, as they don’t see the need for emotional connection. Their engagement tends to come via intellectual arguments with like-minded people.
ESFJs are cooperative, sympathetic pragmatists who dislike anything ethereal or woolly as they prefer practical solutions to people issues and they'll work hard at planning to making this happen.
Dealing with emotions
For INTJs emotion doesn’t compute and so they may not understand their impact on others or indeed gauge the emotional reactions of others, which can make them appear as insensitive or a little cold.
The ESFJ is emotional but will tend to deal with the emotions of others in a practical way making sure there is a clear plan and it is followed. However the ESFJ may not like anything they perceive as criticism.
Openness and sharing feelings
INTJs are private and can often be naturally impassive as well, which makes them easy to misunderstand. INTJs want people to make logical sense and so feelings are difficult for them to fathom.
ESFJs are extremely talkative and will voice their feelings easily, including clearly telling others what they should do and also have their own strong views on issues which are important to them.
Drivers and values
INTJs are intellectually curious and love complex problems and analysing data to and come up with unique solutions, driven more by concepts and abstract ideas than by the emotions of people.
ESFJs are driven by a sense of duty, of being at the centre of things and making sure that everything is taken care of with a clear plan of action and that people are following this, in detail.
Some people seek harmony, some see conflict as simply robust discussions, some people are emotional, some more factual. So there is no right or wrong about this and what we are trying to do is help two different people each understand how the other might deal with conflict and what it will mean for the relationship.
Initial response to conflict situations
The INTJ is often impervious to their environment as they are deep and private and love getting their heads into complex problems. They love the intellectual robust debate and won’t really ‘see’ conflict.
Because of their natural ‘take charge’ style, the ESFJ will want to diffuse conflict and ensure that harmony is created. This will be done with a no-nonsense, factual common sense approach.
Issues they'll fight on
For the INTJ it is about creating something new and worthwhile and this will be their focus. They won’t really see the emotional issues and will work at a more cerebral level where they are more comfortable.
Down to earth and practical the ESFJ feels that social obligations and responsibilities come before personal fun or relaxation and they will work hard to ensure that harmony is creative and maintained.
Conflict style / communication
INTJs work more at an intellectual than emotional level and so would see conflict, if they did engage, as simply an extension of the debate and their arguments would be well thought through, based on data.
Under pressure the ESFJ may become quite parental in their desire to control and create harmony. They are the natural people organisers and although emotional will feel it’s their duty to sort things out.
How they feel after
As the INTJ inhabits an internal world of complexity, ideas and possibilities, working towards conclusion, any conflict would simply be seen as part of that process, enacted then it’s time to move on.
For the ESFJ it is about the end result: did the problem get sorted, are people happy now, was the plan followed? For themselves on occasion the ESFJ can feel that other people do not appreciate them.
We all bring something different to the team and we all agree that difference and balance are good things. However when someone is different from us we might not understand them so well so in this section we allow you to compare the differences at work, how these might manifest themselves and how best to manage them.
Contribution to the team
INTJs will overturn established practice be forward thinking and truly radical. They love the intellectual challenge, coming alive with difficult problems to solve then step back again when it becomes mundane.
The ESFJ will ensure the team is protected from mistakes, and will focus on the people issues and the detail. They are painstaking, orderly, duty-driven, conscientious and fretful to get it right.
The INTJ will be at their best with the facility to work for long periods on their own. If they do lead they prefer like-minded people who also love the intellectual debate and complex challenges.
As the ESFJ has the twin focus of getting things done and taking care of the people they will make sure that everything is planned and that the team are equipped and ready to drive for closure.
The INTJ will often find the mundane and routine tedious and energy sapping and may prefer individual contribution excelling at deep diving and working on the unique, the interesting and the complex.
As the ESFJ is driven by a sense of duty, they will take their roles seriously and work long and hard to get it right. They may get bogged down in detail and have to lift their heads to see the wider context.
Attention to detail / focus
INTJs are perfectionists, with an endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. They will work long and hard on such tasks, driving towards closure, impervious to the outside.
The ESFJ will want a plan and closure, they do not like loose ends or anything they perceive as impractical. Great at follow-through they may struggle with anything woolly, or not clearly getting the intended result.
INTJs are ideas people. Anything is possible. INTJs love developing unique solutions to complex problems, and, conversely, if it were not complex or interesting then why would they bother?
The strength of the ESFJ is their focus on people and detail, not in coming up with the original ideas. They will be super organisers and excel at getting people to stick to the plan and making things happen.