MBTI® ISTJ and Workplace Behavior – Having information regarding the details of an organization’s most valuable asset, its people, can provide for an optimal work environment, which has productive communication, uplifting leadership, and consequently, an overall inflated bottom line. In the workplace, individuals having each MBTI® personality type will behave differently based on their innate personality function. An ISTJ (Introverted-Sensing-Thinking-Judging) may display behaviors which are opposite of an ENFP’s. For example, an ISTJ Personality Type may prefer to complete their work tasks with consistency and on a previously devised schedule, where an ENFP may prefer to have flexibility with deadlines. ISTJs also often pay special attention to specifics, where other personality types could have an inclination to focus on a comprehensive strategy. Generally, ISTJs have a strong work ethic and have been known to remain dependable, even during company hardships. ISTJs often have inflated organizational skills which are useful for improving an organization’s standard operating procedures (SOPs). Most of the time, an ISTJ will require to have an established goal or task in place and to be given the appropriate tools to complete assigned tasks in order to reach those goals and perform at their highest levels.


Learn about ISTJ Personality Type behavior in organizations

However, when doing so an ISTJ typically will pay most attention to verifiable information which is presented to them. Additionally, they may disregard long-term consequences and instead turn to short term solutions. This personality type should remember to include future possibilities, as well as their organization’s “big picture” goals to accompany their daily operational goals. Each member of an organizational team can bring different skills and innate personality traits that, when in collaboration, will add to the success of the business.

Organizational Climate and ISTJ Disposition

There are many benefits to creating a positive organizational climate. Having a team which understands each other’s different innate personality tendencies can not only improve their interpersonal relationships, but also increase employee performance, motivation, satisfaction, and most importantly, the organization’s overall bottom line. An ISTJ tends to contribute to this climate by implementing focus and structure. This personality type is known to be “task oriented and firm-minded” (Hirsh, S. & Kummerow, P.10). Additionally, ISTJ Personality Types are generally spirited individuals who can provide an organization with reliability and consistency. They tend to be driven by goal-oriented tasks which produce tangible results. In order to produce these results, ISTJs generally prefer a quiet environment which allows for concentration. ISTJs may find disturbances to be disrespectful, especially when performing a task requiring extreme focus. They also typically enjoy privacy while working and may become overwhelmed if assigned an abundance of team driven projects. However, when collaborations are necessary, individuals with this personality type will often keep the group on task and focused. It is important for other personality types to understand that if they are working with an ISTJ, and are submitting incomplete, incorrect, or sloppy work, they will be provoking conflict. In order to reduce workplace conflict when working with an ISTJ, colleagues can follow established procedures, meet deadlines, and stay on task for procession toward a common goal. ISTJ Personality Types also commonly respond well to recognition for their efforts, especially if they had exceeded the responsibility of the tasks at hand. These individuals naturally prefer working hours which are set and do not waiver from their normality.

During the hiring process, a Human Resources professional typically will consider not only education, skills and abilities of the prospective employee, but also the individual’s personality compatibility with current staff members. “This does not mean that an organization needs to add a “missing type” to its group; rather, members should be encouraged to use all perspectives” (Hirsh, S. & Kummerow, P.7). Learning about other personality behaviors and consistently developing one’s personal behaviors can elevate successes of a business to new heights. ISTJs can develop their personality function by practicing new behaviors which may be contrary to their preference. For example, they can become less rigid in their time restrictions for deadlines, giving special attention to conceptual ideas. They can strive to be more personable by offering support to others in need. They can also practice celebrating small accomplishments, even if it means a goal has not been reached.

Workplace Association and Interaction

Arguably the most important function of an organization is the communication, both internally and that relayed beyond the company. Just as with everything else, each personality type will associate and interact a little differently than other types. For example, an ISTJ may prefer to communicate by having one-to-one discussions, as opposed to large group relations. When large meetings are necessary, this personality type generally will also prefer to have notes communicated in written form so that they may follow a predetermined plan of action. ISTJs may even use a systematic, pre-planned approach when communicating during their individual conversations as well.

Learn about ISTJ Personality Type behavior in organizations

ISTJ Personality Types will often want others to view them for their positive characteristics. This may include their hard-working approach, their consistency and responsibility, and their accomplishments. They may also expect others to have the same escalated level of these particular characteristics and can sometimes run into workplace conflict when coworkers are not performing at the same level. In order for an individual with the ISTJ Personality Type to avoid these conflicts, they can improve their patience and educate themselves on other Personality Type’s communication styles. Increasing their tolerance for others’ shortcomings and lowering their expectations of others, will help an ISTJ while they are developing these workplace communication skills. It is common for others to state their ISTJ coworkers as being too traditional or uncompromising, but many individuals with this personality type will want no more than an opportunity to reflect on innovative ideas or allow for a little time to find facts which can back up an action plan. Many ISTJs hold their passion and enthusiasm for new ideas to themselves and may need coaxing from coworkers to withdraw them.

During company meetings, an ISTJ generally will prefer to have goals discussed first, followed by the tasks which are needed to be accomplished in order to reach those goals. This personality type has been known to want to have these communications be brief, well managed and well planned. They generally do not appreciate being surprised by anything which takes them off guard and have a preference to stay focused with work related topics. When new processes and procedures are being discussed, an ISTJ will often like to know the pros and cons of introducing the new ideas to the organization. They will want to be presented with factual information to support the idea, and possibly even an analysis on how the proposed change will impact the people involved. This personality type will want to use this meeting time for communication to agree on responsibilities of tasks and deadlines for each to be accomplished. During these meetings ISTJ Personality Types may need to practice showing appreciation to others. They have been known to “neglect interpersonal niceties” (Hirsh, S. & Kummerow, P.10) which may cause them to give the impression to others as being closed-off or impersonal. They may have this innate tendency due to these individual’s common preference to utilize facts first and their emotions secondary and as an accessory. However, they also can often be convinced by reasoning which was reached using other’s emotions as their primary means of gathering information. Considering that ISTJs are known to have high exceptions of others, if decisions are made in company meetings, they will often see those decisions as final and unmalleable. They will commonly expect others to view the decisions this way as well. This may be related to why an ISTJ generally will prefer to have directions and decisions which are comprehendible and accomplishable.

ISTJs and Operational Efficiency

The operations of an organization are generally managed by how employees are empowered and coached. An ISTJ will typically absorb the most information when it is introduced to them in a chronological fashion. This personality type also has a tendency to appreciate directions which are instilled with a systematic approach. They often want to understand how new information or new processes and procedures will help them perform or function at a higher level immediately, as opposed to several years from now. However, ISTJs also will generally want to know how this new information will benefit them and effect their long-term day-to-day processes as well. They often learn best by using a hands-on approach and may want to experiment with these innovative solutions for any ongoing issues.

When an ISTJ is given the opportunity to lead others and use the information which they have learned to teach their peers (or subordinates), they have been known to do so with an established, classic approach. For example, this personality type has an inclination to use traditional means of education, using tools which have been previously successful and building on them with new experiences they have gained. They often lead by example and are commonly found working alongside their subordinates and colleagues. They may be found using a reward system to motivate others, even rewarding their associates with intrinsic rewards, such as compliments or high-fives. They are even known for rewarding others for simply abiding by set organizational rules. When an ISTJ is placed in a position to make decisions on an organization’s behalf, they commonly do so by using facts they have gathered, oftentimes based on their previous involvements with the task at hand. Due to their preferential Judging Function, this personality type often will feel a sense of relief when a decision has been made and in doing so may tend to make hasty decisions. However, because of this innate behavior, they also have been known to be recognized for their contribution towards making timely judgements in stressful environments. ISTJs are also often accredited for having proficiency in duties concerning the creation of company policy. Additionally, it is common for this personality type to create lists for others to complete, as well as for themselves, in order to bring awareness to the predominant or sensible needs of their organization. ISTJs can build on their leadership skills by remembering to not only focus on the immediate needs, but to also remember any ongoing tasks which may fall through the cracks of their proposed to-do lists. Building on their innate behavior of stability and consistency will only improve their leadership abilities.

Using the MBTI® in the Workplace

Organizations use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® assessment as a development tool for many different reasons. As discussed, understanding one’s innate personality function, as well as those of team members, can produce an appreciation for each other’s actions and behaviors in the workplace. This knowledge can also help organizations build a healthy work culture and allow for innovative solutions for current obstacles. It can also assist with finding unique strengths among staff, in order to capitalize on individual talents among these team members. Having this innate personality behavior knowledge can also help an organization with their training programs, conflict management strategies, and recognition procedures. The MBTI® is a powerful tool that can help an organization develop their overall company culture by determining how employees focus their attention, how they gain energy, take in information, make decisions, and interact with others. Most importantly, once this information has been determined, it can be used to modify and develop behaviors for heightened overall company performance.

Learn More About the MBTI ISTJ Personality Type


Introduction To Type in Organizations (Hirsh, S. & Kummerow, J. CPP Inc., 1998)