Honor their commitments
Take their relationship roles very seriously
Usually able to communicate what’s on their minds with precision Good listeners
Extremely good (albeit conservative) with money Able to take constructive criticism well
Able to tolerate conflict situations without emotional upheaval Able to dole out punishment or criticism when called for
Tendency to believe that they’re always right
Tendency to get involved in “win-lose” conversations Not naturally in-tune with what others are feeling
Their value for structure may seem rigid to others
Not likely to give enough praise or affirmation to their loved ones
What does Success mean to an ISTJ?
People with the ISTJ personality type are serious, methodical, analytical, and hard-working. They store knowledge gained from their experiences, and use this knowledge to tackle new problems and ideas. They will work a problem through to its identified conclusion. They work towards defined goals; their analytical objectivity gives them the tendency to make goal-oriented decisions that are not waylaid by the concerns of individuals. They’re uncomfortable with ideas that are completely new to them, or that are totally theoretical in nature. Since they have no direct experience with the new concept, they have no tools for knowing how to deal with it or what to think about it. They need to get the framework for a new concept before they’re able to deal with it. An experienced ISTJ is usually a very capable person, and makes an excellent manager. ISTJ’s have great value for the “tried and true” approach, and are reluctant to adopt new systems until direct experience proves the validity of the new system. They internalize and value the rules and structure of the society in which they live, and disapprove of behaviors that go against these rules. ISTJ’s highly value the cornerstone institutions of society such as Family, Work, and Church. Their hard-working, dedicated nature is especially well-suited for holding up such institutions. An ISTJ’s feeling of success depends upon being able to use their experience for the benefit of an institution, and also
upon the level of structure and lack of chaos in their life, and in the health and welfare of their family or other social structure.
Allowing Your ISTJ Strengths to Flourish
As an ISTJ, you have gifts that are specific to your personality type that aren’t natural strengths for other types. By recognizing your special gifts and encouraging their growth and development, you will more readily see your place in the world, and be more content with your role.
Nearly all ISTJ’s will recognize the following characteristics in themselves. They should embrace and nourish these strengths:
Their desire to execute known systems against concrete facts makes them happy to chunk through large amounts of routine work.
With their respect for rules and order, they value honesty and integrity and seek to live with these ideals.
An ISTJ has a “stick to it” attitude. They’re not afraid of hard work, and will put forth a great deal of effort towards something that they are interested in. This persistence will help the ISTJ to achieve any identified goal.
The ISTJ’s value for social structure makes them more interested in being social than is true for many Introverts.
ISTJ’s who have developed their Extraverted Thinking will complement their interest in their inner world of concrete data with an interest in the welfare of the rest of the world, especially with regards to upholding social systems and traditions. These ISTJ’s enjoy these very special gifts:
They will move beyond an expectation that others should follow rules into a dedication and willingness to work hard to uphold standards themselves.
They show a dedication to maintaining personal relationships that lends them a respect for individual differences.
They will use their inner store of facts for the benefit of an institution or society in general, rather than to satisfy their own interests.
The more they develop their Extraverted Thinking, the better they will become at strategizing. They will be able to brainstorm multiple possible solutions to problems.
ISTJ’s are often uncomfortable with decisions based on values rather than on objective criteria, but the more they develop their Extraverted Thinking, the more likely they will become able to use Introverted Feeling as a positive force rather than strictly a negative one. This will allow them to understand a value judgment that is based on personal perspective rather than social obligation.
Potential Problem Areas
With any gift of strength, there is an associated weakness. Without “bad”, there would be no “good”. Without “difficult”, there would be no “easy”. We value our strengths, but we often curse and ignore our weaknesses. To grow as a person and get what we want out of life, we must not only capitalize upon our strengths, but also face our weaknesses and
deal with them. That means taking a hard look at our personality type’s potential problem areas.
Most of the weaker characteristics that are found in ISTJ’s are due to their dominant Introverted Sensing function controlling the personality to the point that all other functions are being used to defend Sensing demands, rather than for their more balanced purposes. In such cases, an ISTJ may show some or all of the following weaknesses in varying degrees:
Excessive love of food and drink
Lack of interest in other people, or in relating to them Occasional inappropriate emotional displays
General selfish “look after oneself” tendencies
Uses judgment to dismiss other’s opinions and perspectives, before really understanding them
May judge others rather than themselves
May look at external ideas and people with the primary purpose of finding fault May become slave to their routine and “by the book” ways of doing things, to the
point that any deviation is completely unacceptable
May have difficulty communicating their thoughts and feelings to anyone Explanation of Problems
Nearly all of the problematic characteristics described above can be attributed in various degrees to the common ISTJ problem of Introverted Sensing overtaking the ISTJ’s personality to the point that all other functions become slaves to Introverted Sensing. A more “whole” personality needs to have a good balance between its dominant and auxiliary functions. For an ISTJ, the dominant Introverted Sensing needs to be well-supported by the auxiliary Extraverted Thinking function. If Extraverted Thinking exists only to support the desires of Introverted Sensing, than neither function is being used to its potential.
Introverted Sensing is a personality function that constantly gathers data and stores it in a sort of informational database to be accessed at will in the future. As the dominant player in a personality, it has the effect of constantly bombarding the psyche with facts to store. As something new is perceived, it is added to the vast warehouse of Introverted Sensing data. Introverted Sensing does not in itself analyze this data for meaning or connection–it just takes it in as information. In order to sort through and make use of this information, a judging function must be applied. It is the judging function that does the analysis and ordering of the data.
When Introverted Sensing is too dominant, or Extraverted Thinking is not developed sufficiently, we see the ISTJ using Extraverted Thinking to order the individual’s world in such a way that Introverted Sensing can reign without interference. This may include dismissing the importance of relationships, or pushing away anything that threatens the ISTJ’s highly introverted way of life. In this manner, Extraverted Thinking is used against the external world, rather than against the ISTJ’s internal data. It is a defensive shield, rather than a useful filter.
The better, more “whole” use of Extraverted Thinking for the ISTJ would be to use it to order and evaluate its own rich store of data, and therefore generate useful solutions to problems and efficient systems. Like all types, most ISTJ’s will show some signs of this kind of weakness. This does not mean that they’re hopelessly flawed. The real problems occur when an ISTJ personality has become so imbalanced that its owner is extremely selfish and unable to consider the importance or validity of anyone else’s perspective.
To grow as an individual, the ISTJ needs to focus on applying their judgment against information that they have gathered, rather than against single facts or ideas coming from others. Before judging, put all new data into the context of existing facts. Working with all of the facts at your disposal will greatly improve your ability to judge effectively, and will reduce the likelihood that you will become offensively reactionary and isolationist.
An ISTJ who is concerned with personal growth will pay close attention to the subject of there judgments, and their motivations for making judgments. Are they judging something external to themselves, or are they judging something within the context of their stored knowledge? Is the motivation for judging something to be able to understand its usefulness in the world, or to dismiss it? Too often, an ISTJ will judge something without properly understanding it, and with the intention of dismissing it. Seek first to understand, then to judge.