8 Styles of Intuitive Leadership



Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Picture in your mind an enormous cargo ship, like a barge, being brought into a harbor for docking. The kind that have 80,000 cubic feet of storage capacity. Massive. Now picture a little tugboat that’s guiding that barge. Barely a quarter the size of the cargo ship, it almost looks like a toy in comparison. Cute, really. But without the tugboat, the barge would never get to dock. It would sit there, forever, a stagnating Goliath.

Leadership could be likened to playing the role of the tugboat, guiding huge groups of people to their destination, making all their hard work of heavy lifting worthwhile.

But let’s take this illustration one step further. As an Intuitive, when you pursue leadership it’s not simply about managing people. There are a lot of managers, supervisors and cat herders out there, regardless of their Intuitive preference. For you, it’s about something with much more impact: leading people off the path and into unexplored territory.

The Challenge of Trailblazing as an Intuitive Leader

As a trailblazer, your hope is to bring humanity to it’s next stage…wherever and whatever that happens to be. But the majority of people (approximately 75% of the population) feel very uncomfortable off the beaten path. Their sheer numbers mean there’s going to be a lot of weight and resistance against innovation. They are a barge, and you’re going to have to become a tugboat.

This is a good thing – you can’t have all of society jumping from one new idea to the next. It’s an internally constructed check-and-balance system. But it means you’re going to have to really love your mission, and it means you’re going to have to develop the chops to be an effective little tugboat. You have to become a leader.

Fortunately, there’s no single way to lead and there’s no single ‘best leadership style’. There is, however, a best leadership style for you. Knowing which style you are is the first step to persuading and inspiring others, as well as leveraging your team to get the most out of them.

There are 8 different types of Intuitive leaders, each with their own style and strengths, as well as blind spots they have to watch out for. Below is the list of Intuitive leadership styles. Which one resonates with you?

Note: The persons quoted below may or may not be the same Myers-Briggs type as the leadership style.

The 8 Intuitive Leadership Styles

1. The ENTJ Executive

“Leadership is taken, not given.” – Various

When most people think of a commander, this is the type they generally think of. Executives are the field marshals, the “take charge” sorts. They are unparalleled at making grand, elaborate plans, and then applying those plans to the real world. They get the job done. They influence others with their commanding presence, as well as their reputation for effectiveness. Executives, however, can have difficulty with focusing too much on the task while forgetting the needs of their people. They have to learn patience with differing work styles and personalities.

2. The INTJ Planner

“The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” – Henry Kissinger

Planners have an incredible understanding for how ideas can be applied to the real world. They have a talent for distilling theory and turning it into something practical. As such, they are the best to hit the drawing board and sketch out the plan to turn ideas and ideals real. Planners also possess a deep insight into the psyche of others, and can captivate them with profound foresight. Planners have to watch out for their tendency to take things too personally. They also have to work out their tendency to become unproductive as soon as the planning phase is over.

3. The ENTP Visionary

“I used to think that running an organization was equivalent to conducting a symphony orchestra. But I don’t think that’s quite it; it’s more like jazz. There is more improvisation.”

– Warren Bennis

The visionary is inspired to take on unique, ingenious projects. They never lack for the newest innovation or exciting discovery that will transform the organization. Visionaries are early adopters and tireless workers. They tend to easily influence people with their abundance of energy and enthusiasm. Others always want to be on board with where the visionary is going. They are great at starting new projects, but can have a difficult time following through on old ones… which is frustrating to followers. Visionaries can also have trouble with distractions.

4. The INTP Engineer

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Engineers tend to be the least personal of the leadership styles. Instead, their greatest strength lies in their ability to create efficient, step-by-step systems for others to follow. Engineers tend to first understand the mechanics of a task, then devise a logical list of requirements for subordinates to follow. Done correctly, the team works like an orchestra, harmoniously accomplishing the task at hand with incredible efficiency. Engineers tend to influence others with their strong sense of logic, encyclopedia-like knowledge-base, and ability to cut through irrelevancy. The engineer has to work around their weakness at forming personal connections and networking. They also have difficulty motivating and inspiring others.

5. The ENFJ Harmonizer

“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi

Whereas engineers are the least personal, harmonizer types are the most. Harmonizers have a very strong belief in the saying “many hands make for light work.” They have an incredible sense of the needs and dynamics of social groups and are typically very productive individuals. Encouraging others to pitch in and help is an easy task for this type. Not only do they get people working together in the first place, but they keep them going through tirelessly resolving disputes and conflicts. Harmonizer types best influence others by reminding them of their social obligations. If you are this type, watch out for your tendency toward being high strung…you have to relax and not take things so seriously. Otherwise, you can come across as overbearing.

6. The INFJ Sage

“A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.” – David R. Gergen

Sages bring a very unique and incredibly useful insight into the minds of other people. Their understanding is almost psychic in nature. Many sages have such a strong intuition that they feel the emotions of others before they do. As a leader, sages bridge the gap between our ideals and what people are actually capable of, or open to, doing. Whereas the planner takes theory and makes it practical, sages take human values and explain to us the way to live by them. Sages best influence people through their insightful understanding, as well as their gracious, gentle demeanor. They make people comfortable. However, sages have to keep a look out for the signs of feeling overwhelmed. Their sensitivity can come around to hurt them. Sages also have to work at, or set up their life to avoid, dealing with impersonal situations such as firing an employee.

7. The ENFP Charismatic

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

After the executor, this is the second most common leadership style that people think of. The charismatic leadership style has the remarkable ability to develop an instant rapport with just about anyone. People trust the charismatic type. Many people with this style have an easy time making connections with people that even the charismatic type thinks are socially “above” them. They create opportunity for their team and make everyone feel understood. With a charismatic type in charge, everyone will likely feel represented and cared for. People of this type only need to turn up the charm to influence people. If you have the charismatic leadership style, then watch out for your pitfalls! You will likely have difficulty with being reliable and consistent. New people and opportunities are always a temptation, and you can often have high and low swings of ambition.

8. The INFP Inspirer

“The best example of leadership is leadership by example.” – Jerry McClain

Inspirational types are the furthest from the “take charge” and “give orders” style. Instead, they prefer to motivate others to act on their own. Inspirational leaders have a strong connection with their personal ideals, as well as the ideals of others. They love to inspire a team by explaining to them how they are here to make a difference. Morale is rarely low with an inspirational leader in charge. They best influence others by reminding them of their personal values and what is at stake. However, inspirational types have to avoid their penchant for being impractical. Inspirational leaders also struggle with organization and their personal productivity. They have to be careful to not “drop the ball.”

Do you resonate with these leadership styles? Let us know the challenges and successes you’ve had as an Intuitive leader.


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Showing 14 comments
  • Edina Barna

    INFP, inspirational. Spot on. Helping others with values, why they are doing the work, why it’s important, how they can become self-motivated.
    Hugely irritated by nonchalance. Overly harsh and forceful with them, or avoid them. I’m still trying to find balance.

  • Nach

    I test as INTJ, though I’m more likely on the INTx cusp.
    My leadership style is definitely more of a major “PLANNER” and minor “engineer”…with occasional “executive” bouts to kick myself out of daydream Ni-land.
    All in all, I would say that I find it tough to stay in action-mode most of the time. However, my projects are way too important to be half-a$$ed, no matter what the cost.
    It is modern society that requires leaders to juggle all hats while trailblazing, because there are always so many variables to account for and so many collateral damages to anticipate.

  • Matt

    Im an engineer, here’s your blueprints. K thx bye.

  • Ben

    I’m an INTP and I can definitely relate to the engineer style. I work at a CPA firm mostly preparing tax returns. One thing I’m very good at is organizing my work-papers so that they are easy for the detail reviewer to follow. Many of the detail reviewers have told me that they love seeing a return with my initials on it because of the quality of my work and how well organized my work-papers are.

  • Daniel

    I’m an ENTJ and I’m 21years old. It’s only a few times I have been voted into leadership, most times I just plant myself into the position because who is better to make decisions that will affect me than me?

  • Rebecca

    I’m and INTJ with a combo harmonizer/sage/inspirer for leadership style. Kinda depends on the situation at hand.
    Interesting article. Thanks!

  • Ethan

    I am an INTJ yet I am not sure which type!? It seems that my type is Executive though the Harmonizer seems applicable too!?
    May be I need to focus on both as an executor without harmony can become quite rigid and over-demanding and vice versa. It seems without conscious attention, I would oscillate between these two extremes.
    Can any one comment on it?

    • Maurice Lomboy

      Hello, my fellow INTJ! I’m an INTJ also; so I understand. I think you’re overthinking it — which is a typical thing for us to do! We are naturally great at planning (dreaming) and executing (turning said dreams into a reality).

      Your feelings are inward, and express itself in the form of “Authenticity”, rather than “Harmony”. So it’s important for you to FEEL that your actions are thoughtful and meaningful.

      My advice is this: DON’T overthink your leadership style. As an INTJ, you’re already a thoughtful leader. Your team will respect you for that!

      I hope this helps …

  • Omar Haddad

    Hi all,
    Is it possible that someone have combined INTJ and ESTJ,
    I feel that I have common personality between these types. I tend the most to the management
    and planning and Business.
    I’m a civil engineer but actually I’m intending to switch my path towards business and entrepreneurship as I’m thinking about Management Consultancy.
    But still I need to get your advise how to ride the best road towards this. I’m 29 years old and
    I’m currently working in Construction Company for construction project.
    Any recommendations?

  • Amos

    Regarding INFJ
    Think you got it spot on. I am one and i think i most enjoy when everyone around me is getting to their best. I really do enjoy to be in a self actualized society where everyone is happy about themselves and even ready to be more

  • Laura

    Regarding 4. INTP,

    This reminds me of something I did today. We had a new colleague join today and though I felt very weak at the personal side of things (it was like ‘Hi. You work here now? Ok, tomorrow I will show you…) I had already created a ‘handover list’ for the job he is going into, to make sure that every possible task was covered, with instructions on how to do each task as well as general notes. This might seem like a lot however the notes are quite brief and really more of a checklist I wanted to create so I wouldn’t forget to discuss anything.


    I notice in my leadership roles, I tend to do a mix of the INFP, ENFP and INFJ as described above. Seems a perfect mix for me in leadership, facilitating , managing etc…

  • Michael

    I’m an INTJ leader and the ‘Planner’ is a very good description of how I approach things and my pitfalls. I would elaborate that beyond planning my ‘Effectiveness’ paired with my insight into the nature of the problems that are encountered allows me to steamroll with relative ease through any said problems that may arise. I’d also add to the pitfalls my tendency to be oblivious to or not concerned with problems of a personal nature that may arise within my team. I’ve dealt with this by making sure I have a few NF’s on my leadership.

  • soheil(INTJ)

    Hi miss Dodge
    Thanks for these useful information I always enjoy Reading your articles.
    I find useful information in comparison Article between ENTJ and INTP and Asking to Please make these Comparison with INTJ/ENTJ and INTJ/ENTP.
    Best regard

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