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Work Motivation - ISFP and INFP Occupations and Careers Advice

Deidre has a Masters in applied linguistics and translation for her 20 years overseas. She's worked as a certified provider of the MBTI®.

We have the choice of situations that energize us and drain us. Certain things build us up or can tear us down. Such knowledge can help guide us in team building at work or in managing our own lives. Employee engagement and motivation can be better encouraged by considering individual personality types. Let's look at the ISFP and INFP personalities.

Two similar personalities

by joshdeweese

by joshdeweese

Why Personality Type?

Personality type is a way to understand what keeps us going and what energizes us. We have a natural inborn preference that determines certain kinds of work situations as more comfortable and therefore more enjoyable. Careers and occupations with these work situations are more ideally suited for us and provides some of the how to motivate employees.

Each of the 16 Myers-Briggs® personality types uses mental energy in a unique way. This is an important element behind employee productivity.

What personality type is

Our 4 Mental Functions

There are four mental functions, or processes, according to Jung's typology; two opposite ways of gathering information and two opposite ways of making conclusions. The two ways of gathering of information has to do with how we Perceive, and the two ways for making conclusions has to do with how we Judge.

 4 Mental Functions   



Through detailed facts from experiences 

ways we gather information 


Through global wholes of possible interrelationships 






On objective logical analysis of the information

ways we make conclusions


On the value of the information


We all use each of these four mental functions. A basic way we differ from each other, though, is how we use each of the four. Ever wonder why siblings brought up by the same parents in the same household in the same location can still be so different? You've got it! The way each uses the four mental functions can make huge differences!

The Favorite Mental Function

Each person uses one of the four mental functions as their favorite. This favorite (or dominant) mental function uses the lion's share of a person's psychological energy. This favorite mental function is therefore the most conscious of the four -- the one we are most aware of and can most readily control, or direct.

This is how we can know what energizes us mentally! We very much enjoy using our favorite mental function and tend to acquire a lot of experience and competence with it. We naturally tend to choose to take on tasks, relationships and even careers, that energize us in this way.

ISFP and INFP Energizers

Let's look at what energizes the ISFP and INFP Myers-Briggs personality types. You share the same favorite mental function, Feeling, to make conclusions by the value of the information. As introverts you use this in the inner world.

Here are the Feeling activities, environments and resources you ISFPs and INFPs most enjoy and derive benefit from, and therefore are what energize you at work.

Energizing environments and resources

Activities You Enjoy Environments You Enjoy Resources 

Doing what you value

Cooperativeness, openness & congeniality 

Time alone 

Helping and affirming others 

Valued for who you are 

A close friend 


Respect for your valued role 

Something fun! 


Flexible deadlines

Relaxing activity



Refocus on what is right, valued & of priority

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How the Likes of the ISFP and INFP Differ

In addition to these common features, you ISFPs appreciate clear structures, defined responsibilities and value loyalty and security, having Sensing as your second favorite mental function. This is reflected, too, in your desire for work environments where there is minimal competition, uncertainty and complexity.

You INFPs have a greater liking for independence and achievement, wanting the chance to express yourself aesthetically, having iNtuition as your second favorite mental function. This is seen too in the individual initiative you tend to take and your desire work in settings that allow flexibility and change.

Sensing vs Intuitive

Typical Resources and Remedies

You ISFPs and INFPs will know you have become a veteran of life's struggles by having learned well to

  • Accept your power needs
  • Acknowledge personal competence
  • Moderate your own idealism

Realizing what energizes you, in particular, is a way to grasp what it is that you can do to counteract many of life's energy drainers. You managers may find, when you know an employee's personality type, you can better motivate your staff through engaging them in work activities and environments that energize, rather than drain.

Managing our own activities, environments and resources, or that of our staff, may help avoid low morale and even staff attrition more often than not. I encourage you to give this a think, and a try!

© 2010 Deidre Shelden

Comments from upstate, NY on September 16, 2011:

I'm talking about linking my hubs to yours, the way you did to my hub. I just want it to look good on the hub.-WBA from upstate, NY on September 16, 2011:

Ms Dee-

Thanks for the terrific information! I’m going to keep in mind what energizes me as an INFP and also the need for achievement, flexibility, change and independence. I'm still trying to find the best way to link to your hubs! - WBA

nettraveller from USA on September 08, 2010:

How very interesting! I took the test and came out as ISFP. Of those the only part I'm reasonably sure about is the "I". So many choices, it can be confusing. How do you distinguish between all of them?

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