Communication is one of the most overlooked factors in the modern workplace, according to Dunning (2003). However, it is also one of the most significant. Improving workplace communication can streamline projects and make the office a more enjoyable environment. Making seemingly minor changes in how you and your team communicate can help you spend less time resolving disagreements or miscommunications and more time on what really matters—increasing productivity and work satisfaction and working towards better outcomes for everyone.
While communication styles used to be something of a mystery, recent breakthroughs have connected individuals’ communicative tendencies to their Myers-Briggs® personality type. In this blog, we draw on Dunning (2003) in order to anticipate how ISTP personality types’ communication styles can be accounted for in the workplace to increase effectiveness and efficiency, while also cultivating a supportive workplace.
ISTP personality types—Introverted-Sensing-Thinking-Perceiving—are what Dunning (2003) calls “practical analyzers.” They tend to analyze data logically, while also drawing on their personal experiences and insights. They often seem informal, tolerant, and easy going, but they are also highly observant, organizing insights about the world or particular data logically and systematically. ISTPs value efficiency, and naturally choose the path of least resistance—optimizing the allocation of time and resources, while also working towards a concrete goal. Because of their flexibility in thinking, ISTPs often do best with a high level of freedom and independence from leadership or authority—they need the space to spend time with themselves and “just work”.
ISTPs’ natural preference for operating outside of traditional conventions, coupled with their introverted nature makes them somewhat impatient with discussions or information that seems vague to them, or which does not make active progress towards completing the task at hand. They tend to focus on connecting data or content to experience, emphasizing facts that are immediately relevant, rather than making abstract or theoretical connections. ISTPs may not fully engage with theoretical ideas unless they can fully understand their connections to more concrete implications. Because of this very task-driven nature, ISTPs may come across as detached or impersonal, especially to more feeling or extraverted personality types. However, if channeled appropriately, their dedication, focus, and linear thinking can be an asset to any team or workplace. In particular, they are highly reliable in emergency situations, since they are able to stay composed even in high stress situations.
When communicating with ISTP personality types, anticipate that they will challenge inefficiency and prioritize optimizing operations. Also, be aware that they tend to be “loners”—preferring to take action themselves rather than explaining their approach to others. They are not so much intentionally excluding others from participation as remaining focused on the final outcome. If you end up giving ISTPs feedback, keep in mind that they tend to be highly critical of themselves, and may value their self-assessment over external feedback. As such, they may need support at times in valuing the input or contributions of others.
By increasing awareness of different communication styles in the workplace, you and your team can transform potential hindrances and communicative mismatches into valuable resources. In doing so, you will be able to take advantage of your team’s diverse strengths and harness their potential to improve your organization and its operations.
- Introduction to Type and Communication. (Dunning, D. CPP, 2003)
Learn More About the MBTI ISTP Personality Type
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