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  1. #1
    Member JFrombaugh's Avatar
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    Default INFJs and authority

    (Note: When I say "Authority" in this post I'm mostly referring to relationships with instructors, bosses at work, group leaders, etc. - not how well INFJs would perform in a leadership role)

    I've always been reading about how ISFJs are described as being people who are very service-oriented & loyal to authority (and hence they often find satisfaction in service careers, medical, etc), but yet INFJs seem to be more oriented towards being valued for their unique contributions, which leads me to ask this:

    When you're faced with an authority figure (like a teacher or a supervisor) that you don't like or have issues with their approach to leadership, how well are you able to just accept their authority/put your feelings aside to get the job done?

    I'm just curious as I'm an INFP and this is something that I have always kind of had trouble with. I mean, I'm loyal to authority for a time, until I begin to feel that they're just pushing me around rather than leading based on what is best for the greater good. I can be a loyal follower to the right kind of leader, but if I don't like the person in charge, it will show.

    I know everybody has had teachers/bosses they've hated, what I'm saying is, I think that the problem about it for me is that the toxicity that these experiences engender seems to linger in the INF mind. Perhaps it's because authority figures usually seem to expect quieter people like me to bend to their will, just going along with whatever they say rather than risk a confrontation. Or maybe it's just the stress of being a 4w5 and then seeing somebody more outspoken than me try to install a mentality in me that I personally disagree with/have no desire to become.

    So are you INFJs the same way or are you better able to give & take orders easily?
    INFP | 4w5 | Phlegmatic-Melancholic

  2. #2
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    I can definitely relate to having trouble with it. And yes, the experience lingers on in the mind. I can get passive-aggressive in those situations (which have been rare, fortunately, so far) but I also realize that it's best to get things done fast. I'm definitely not happy doing that, though. I've found that it's helpful to rationalize it and try to find some angle, something to enjoy that would make the whole experience more tolerable. I can be very patient and the way I really feel would not show, most likely. However, I am more likely to suck it up than address it, until I've reached the point where I just don't care anymore and blow up. How mature of me, haha.

  3. #3
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    I don't mind it necessarily.. I rebel with some, and sometimes I feel like encouraging some who have more to offer than even they think. Like, my last boss. I think she was ISTJ, and we both respected each other. I remember early on though, looking at her bookshelf, how there were some self-help titles about talking to people, leadership, etc.. There was something about that that made me feel bad. I always felt like pointing out her good side, because that's all I thought she needed (as time went on, it turned out right too). And at the same time, simply showed her how easy it was. I became this employee that did everything those books probably preached. Unfortunately, it kind of backfired, but thats another story.

    Ever seen that scene where William Wallace persuaded Robert the Bruce, how he'd be glad to serve him, if only he got his head straight..? Otherwise, he was going to do things his way. I think that's my style too :P

  4. #4
    Senior Member Tabula's Avatar
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    It depends entirely on the reason for my disliking of him/her. If I feel I don't like him/her as a PERSON, I consciously stow that away and direct my focus completely on my work (admittedly, not as simple as it sounds.) I have no trouble with authority as a concept, and have met with success, more often than not, leaving personal opinions at home.

    However, if I think the boss/teacher/authority figure is INCOMPETENT, it becomes rather tricky. It pains me to have to defer to such a person, when I can easily see an easier, more efficient way of doing things, but I don't intentionally undermine authority. If I can offer up a precise, complete, new, and easier method, I will bring it to the boss, and present it as unassumingly as possible a la; "do you think that maybe X could work better for this project because of Y, Z?" But generally, if I don't have a fully-conceived alternative, I will, reluctantly, do what I was asked. Reluctantly doesn't equate sloppily, however. My problem lies with the boss, not the project--no reason to sabotage MY work because of it. It's still a direct reflection of me, and I do not want to be incompetent BECAUSE of incompetence.

    After looking over this post, I find it rather curious that I'm more personally affected by an incompetent boss than one whose personality I clash with. It seems counterintuitive.

  5. #5
    Member JFrombaugh's Avatar
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    The best example from my life of what I mean is this:

    From 2006-2008, I took taekwondo at ATA in Katy, because it seemed like a fun hobby, a good way to get exercise, and a great learning experience. Martial arts is something that does require you to be respectful of authority (namely your instructors). And...the actual learning of the martial arts moves was fine, if a bit repetitive at times. But the thing was, I couldn't stand a couple of my instructors, namely a certain college woman who would take the majority of the classes during the Christmas & summer holidays. Her particularly loud yelling out of exercise orders to the class during the warmup overwhelmed me, as did her energetic coaching and pushy approach to the art.

    I found that I usually didn't mind the instructors' authority when they were just doing their job and being helpful, and usually hated it when they were trying to play the role of coach in that way.

    I think I later found out, she was being loud and pushy because she was a fairly new instructor who was trying to make herself look good during the times she was down in Katy (she also went to Texas A&M, a fairly militaristic college in general). And looking back on it, I can understand why she would try to be this way given how physical taekwondo is, but to me at the time, it really felt like she was getting angry at us just because we weren't as quick and into it as she was.

    And going into the lingering in the mind part that sky is blue mentioned from my OP, this experience is a major reason why I've come to resent pushy people in general over the past few years...and also why I've decided that I prefer mental spirituality to physical.

    So it's not really so much the being told what to do that I dislike per se, as it is being told in ways that make me angry. And I was wondering if INFJs were the same way, or better able to just ignore it.
    INFP | 4w5 | Phlegmatic-Melancholic

  6. #6
    Senior Member Tabula's Avatar
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    " So it's not really so much the being told what to do that I dislike per se, as it is being told in ways that make me angry. "


    Who wouldn't dislike that? By definition, no one, else it wouldn't make them angry. I see what you mean, though.

    I think I'm better able to ignore an offensive presentation of a message than objections to the actual content of one.

  7. #7
    Senior Member wedekit's Avatar
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    I think for me it all adds up to people I don't respect. I had a boss I worked for for two years and her arrogant, small-minded way of approaching our jobs (Resident Assistant) really bothered me. She slowly turned a job about helping and assisting students adapt to college life (and help them have fun too!) into a mindless "business" where we were more concerned about making money, filling out forms, and avoiding liabilities. I really despised her and was glad to graduate. I was also office manager and area coordinator, so I saw her OFTEN and had to put up with her BS more than I cared for on a weekly basis.

    Currently in grad school, I have a teacher that obviously knows less about the courses she's teaching than I do. She mispronounces vocab words and the names of historical psychologists (e.g. pronouncing Karen Horney's last name as "horn-ee") so often that I have to really bit my tongue. She covers her deficiencies as a professor by saying "welcome to grad school." Actually, this has worked out in my benefit since I am more motivated to study hard and do well on all tests/papers/presentations because I feel like I'm rubbing her face in the dirt. However, generally, I can't stand the sight of her.

    I once worked for a woman in the campus mail office that I respected greatly, and so I never complained about my job. She was the director of the department, but she was never above jumping in and helping us sort the mail, run mail through the postage machine, etc. She would never ask me to do something she wouldn't do herself, and because of that I always tried my best to make sure I took as much work off her hands as possible. She valued me as a worker (acknowledging that I was helping her immensely) and I valued her as an employer. I did end not applying for the job again the next year because I was tired of standing on my feet all the time, but that had nothing to do with her as an authority figure.
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  8. #8
    Member Evi's Avatar
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    Normally I consider myself to have a healthy disrespect for authority, but I know I don't come across that way, I don't appear to be rebellious. I haven't really figured out yet how to handle bosses I really don't like. I tend to get really aggressive in my head, but don't show it to their face. Generally if there is one other person to at least share an eye role with during the day I'll be alright. A job well done is something I value so sometimes that's enough but I've also made myself sick doing that. Although actually talking to the person about a problem I have with them has sometimes worked out better than I thought it would.

  9. #9
    Senior Member wedekit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evi View Post
    Normally I consider myself to have a healthy disrespect for authority, but I know I don't come across that way, I don't appear to be rebellious.
    Oh don't get me wrong. These authority figures have no idea that I covertly despise them. I don't rebel at all, though I'm sure people I don't like get a feeling of coldness from me that may seem against my nature.
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