ISFP Personality Type – Introverted Feeling with Extraverted Sensing
The ISFP personality type (as outlined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® Assessment, or MBTI® Test) is the Introverted Feeling with Extraverted Sensing type. ISFP personality types are unquestioning, sympathetic, receptive, and tender individuals who would love nothing more than to devote their lives to helping others, enjoying the feeling that they get from seeing the effect that they have on another’s life. They are firm believers of “living in the now”, and take pleasure in getting the most out of each moment. Myers-Briggs® test -assessed ISFP types live life by their own rules, forging their own path and creating a life for themselves based on their desires. In the workplace, ISFPs’ kind hearts and quick learning abilities make them often everyone’s favorite employee:
- Proficient at completing tasks and projects on time, especially when these situations hold a certain weight for themselves or others
- Always include a certain level of zeal in their work, even if they don’t necessarily enjoy the task or duty that they are completing at that present moment
- Skilled at understanding what is happening in the world around them, especially with the people in their lives (peers and coworkers)
- Often bring a certain level of happiness and excitement to their individual workplaces
- Quick, hands-on learners, discovering new skills and information from completing different tasks as opposed to learning from studying or reading a book
True Believers in Freedom and Personal Choice
MBTI test -assessed ISFP personality types believe that everyone should be able to choose how to best live their own lives, and only through doing so will someone be truly happy. They are attentive, accommodating, modest, and not pretentious. ISFP personality types try their best to live their lives based on their morals and hope that others see these morals and values coming through them in their everyday lives.
An ISFP types connections with other people are very important to them, and they work hard every day to create lasting friendships with those they hold dear to them. ISFP types often show their love for these people in natural yet unobvious ways. They also appreciate those peers of theirs who enjoy learning about the ISFP and his or her beliefs, and who believe in them to accomplish their goals.
ISFP personality types find happiness in the natural world, especially with living things. They feel a certain kinship with the critters and animals that they encounter, much like how they feel with other people. They value the opinions of others, unless these people directly challenge something that they care about.
The quiet, nonconfrontational nature of MBTI test -assessed ISFP type sometimes works against them. They are oftentimes only really themselves (where they will come out of their shell) around those that know them well—otherwise, some people never get to see the fun and jovial side of them.
Unfortunately, this can mean that ISFP personality types can be misjudged by others, seeing as they prefer to mostly keep to themselves. The ISFP oftentimes can share these thoughts about themselves, feeling as though they are not fulfilling their desires or that they aren’t allowing people into their lives.
An ISFP can often let others or their own internal emotions affect their decision-making. Sometimes, Myers-Briggs test ISFP types may make split-second choices only based on what is on their mind at that present moment, without taking into account the world around them or the long-term consequences. When they feel as though they can’t make a choice on their own, ISFP types may simply follow another’s plan of action, even if they disagree or feel that their decision doesn’t reflect the ISFP types inner beliefs.
Because they mostly keep to themselves and don’t have the highest level of self-confidence, MBTI test -assessed ISFP types may become overwhelmed when given a complicated situation to deal with, feeling as though they don’t know what they’re doing. They can become to think incredibly little of themselves and fail to give themselves credit for their achievements. However, if ISFP types can learn to exert some of their emotions on the outside, as well as find the benefits of their own work and its effect on others, they can become happier and more efficient in the long run.[All above information was referenced from the following publication- (Isabel Briggs Myers, 1998, CPP Inc.)]
Career Suggestions for the ISFP
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Personality Test ISFP types kind-hearted nature and desire to help others acts as a natural preparation for careers as veterinary assistants, veterinary technicians, nurse’s aides, coaches, and drivers. Similarly, working towards combating an immediate problem is a theme in many ISFP-popular occupations, such as electrical power installer, general maintenance repairer, telephone installer, and recreation worker (Allen L. Hammer, 1993, CPP Inc.).
Being individuals who enjoy living in the moment, Myers-Briggs Test -assessed ISFP types often time have a hard time creating goals that apply further than in the present, meaning that most of their decisions are made with less extensive thinking than they should be. By focusing on creating long-range plans and ideas for the future, the ISFP type can prepare themselves for what comes ahead and work on making more well thought out decisions.
Without putting themselves out there, Myers-Briggs Test ISFP Types may find it difficult to create lasting connections and relationships in the workplace that could benefit them in the future. ISFP types should do their best to expand their personal and professional networks, allowing their true personalities to shine in order to let their peers see what they are truly capable of. In doing so, ISFP personality types will be able to see their own beneficial qualities and reflect on how their presence affects their workplace.
Lastly, ISFP types need to work on their own self-confidence in their decisions and actions. Decision-making needs to be a priority for ISFP types, especially how much thinking goes into each decision and how much of their own values they are applying to them. ISFP personality types especially need to work on not letting outside influences affect their choices. By taking charge of their own decisions and putting themselves out there more, MBTI test -assessed ISFP types will see themselves transforming into confident and decisive employees and people.
Click on one of these corresponding popular ISFP Careers for detailed information including Career Stats, Income Stats, Daily Tasks and Required Education: Bill and Account Collector, Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks, Cashier, Medical Transcriptionist, Nursing Assistant, Packaging & Filling Machine Operators, Pharmacy Technician, Physical Therapy Aide, Procurement Clerk, and Team Assembler.
Further Understanding ISFPs
Above all, Myers-Briggs ® ISFP Personality Types are quiet, sensitive, and kind. They have a strong internal moral compass, and work towards embodying those values in the way that they seek to live their lives. They live life joyfully, and want to be able to find that joy in every aspect of their life, from their personal relationships to their workplace. They are acutely aware of people and the world around them, as well as about the feelings, strengths, challenges, and needs of others, whether or not they interact with them personally. By extension, ISFPs are also careful to consider how their own actions and behaviors may impact other people or have consequences in different settings. They understand that some decisions or actions may have unintended consequences that reverberate far beyond their original context. As a result, ISFPs do their best to reduce the negative impact they have as much as possible, in the hopes of ultimately improving the world around them.
While some other personality types, especially those that are more outgoing or extraverted, may mistakenly think of ISFP personalities as stuck-up or rude due to their quiet, private and reserved nature, it is important to keep in mind that when ISFPs do take the time to build relationships, they are strong and stand the test of time. ISFPs can also be spontaneous, living life to the fullest, especially when they are in settings in which they are fully appreciated and in which they can fully appreciate others. This kind of harmony is absolutely necessary for ISFPs to feel fulfilled and thrive.
ISFPs’ Learning Style: Reflective and Personal
MBTI ® ISFPs ultimately learn by making connections. To them, the most valuable subjects or undertakings are those that will directly benefit others, either in a material way or by supporting their own social and support networks. From an ISFP’s perspective, the more connections a certain topic has to personal and human values, the more important it is. They enjoy seeing the impact they can have on others as a result of their learning as quickly as possible. This impact increases their motivation, and makes them feel more involved in the learning process. ISFPs also have a tendency to build strong personal relationships with other individuals involved in their learning process, from mentors and role models who help them see beyond the scope of the classroom, to peers and group members.
Many ISFPs may prefer more individualized, personalized learning settings, especially since they are often benefited by having the opportunity to reflect on material before discussing or applying it. However, they also generally do appreciate relatively informal, unstructured group work or discussions that allow them to build new connections within the material, and relationships with others in their classes. They especially benefit from being in small classes, in which they can get to know each of their co-workers or peers individually over a period of time. Once this sense of loyalty and cooperation is developed, ISFPs can be valuable group contributors. However, they do find it challenging to participate in groups that are constantly changing, or in environments where they do not have the opportunity to reflect on the material as individuals before beginning to engage with it in a group setting.
In the same way, ISFPs also appreciate having instructors or coaches who teach in a personal and supportive manner. Individual rapport and relationships with instructors is key for ISFPs becoming invested in pedagogical material. They care just as much about who the course material affects and how it is delivered as they do about the actual content of the course. It is also important to keep in mind that balance is important for ISFPs. There may be times where they may prefer more “traditional” lectures as well, which afford more time for reflecting on and processing material, rather than more “interactive” classes in which ISFPs need to negotiate interaction with others on top of potentially challenging material.
In terms of feedback. ISFPs benefit most from personalized, sensitive feedback. They may find it challenging to accept corrective feedback without taking it personally, especially if it is presented in a manner that is overly objective or harsh. However, from a supportive mentor with whom ISFPs already have a well-established personal relationship, corrective feedback can be welcome and highly beneficial.
ISFPs’ Leadership Style: Supportive and Holistic
In general, Myers-Briggs ® ISFPs are much more content to follow strong leadership and be significant contributors to a team than they are to become leaders themselves. However, when they find their passion, a mission they are truly called to, they can step up to the plate and demonstrate their formidable abilities as leaders.
As with any other undertakings of theirs, ISFPs value relationships in any team or organization they take charge of. They welcome others’ perspectives and views, and are acutely aware of the impact of their initiatives on external contexts as well as on the internal dynamics of their own teams. As such, ISFPs are flexible and careful to adapt their program’s goals to any situational or personnel change. However, ISFPs sometimes are so highly invested in the opinions of others and in building relationships, that they can lose their direction and mission. Instead, they should make an effort to remain conscious of staying true to their own values, and to learn to value others’ perspectives without losing the big picture and long-term goals.
Because they are so community-oriented, ISFPs have an astounding ability to inspire others and to tailor specific messages to meet others’ needs. They value trust and loyalty when working in team settings, and are incredibly aware of people as individuals as well as of intragroup and intergroup dynamics. That said, their overly positive attitude and environment may not be adequately challenging to others as more competitive personality types may grow stagnant without a more motivating environment. Furthermore, ISFPs, perhaps more than other personality types, may have trouble relating to others whose values or choices are highly different from their own.
As they work towards accomplishing specific goals, ISFPs tend to be very realistic and practical, aware of the connections between their own work, their team’s abilities, and the contexts in which they are working. They are also strong troubleshooters, both in terms of resolving issues or roadblocks in a particular project, as well as in helping others identify their own weaknesses and finding ways to develop and bolster them. While their laissez-faire attitude towards structure and deadlines can be unnerving to some, especially for more time-oriented individuals, when they do finish a task, it is of the highest quality.
As they continue to grow and develop as leaders, ISFPs should try to slightly reserve themselves from getting too emotional regarding feedback that they give and that they receive. Giving specific corrective feedback that others can use to improve their product and output is not necessarily a negative experience when such feedback is given in a caring and supportive manner. Furthermore, some personality types, especially those who are more analytical, may actually prefer specificity, since it offers the information necessary to make specific changes in their behavior. While ISFPs’ generally positive, supportive attitude is highly beneficial in many ways. One thing that ISFPs can do in order to improve their leadership skills is to make an effort to give more specific, relevant feedback while still maintaining their overall supportive, nurturing persona.
ISFPs are surprisingly aware of their own feelings, moods, and emotions and are often able to perceive and resolve others’ high emotions, sometimes even before they themselves are aware of the issue at hand. They tend to notice stress in others, and can help them resolve it in a calm and collected manner. Interestingly, while ISFPs are capable of handling stress of that sort, they still tend to be most comfortable and at home in spaces that are quiet, private, and comforting and with people who are supportive and encouraging. In such environments, ISFPs feel they can truly relax and thrive. That said, they should, however, be conscious of how they react when this “bubble” is penetrated. For some ISFPs, this may be perceived as an invasion of personal space or privacy, and the feeling of losing control that follows may have serious consequences for themselves and for others.
In terms of “style” and preferred experience, ISFPs tend to enjoy change and having different experiences, and they also benefit from having the flexibility to work independently in their own office or studio. Unlike others who may be easily distracted by this level of freedom, ISFPs actually show increased motivation when they are given more freedom, are trusted to be able to monitor and regulate themselves, and have a quiet environment in which to work. Because of how much benefit they derive from their own independence, ISFPs are also highly concerned with promoting a similar sort of independence for others, especially those towards whom they feel a sense of loyalty.
As they continue to develop their emotional intelligence, ISFPs can consider ways to expand on how and why they make decisions as they do, as well as how they can develop more outcome-oriented thinking rather than limiting their values to interpersonal considerations. Furthermore, they should make more of an effort to keep the “big picture” in mind, and not lose the forest through the trees. Learning to think in a more linear, logical way can be helpful for achieving these goals.
ISFP Personality Types in The Workplace
Introverted-Sensing-Feeling-Perceiving (ISFP) personality types are considerate, passionate people who are keenly sensitive to others. They may be perceived as having a peaceful or even meditative disposition and may seem difficult to get to know or to become close to. However, ISFPs are highly emotional and are willing to invest time to develop intimate friendships and interpersonal relationships. They tend to be reserved in professional settings as well, and often prefer to work independently rather than in large groups, especially since they may find it stressful to balance the conflicting needs of many different individuals at the same time. However, ISFPs do enjoy spending time working in cooperative, harmonious environments with others.
ISFPs and Communication in The Workplace: Sensitive and Practical
Above all, ISFPs’ communication embodies sensitivity. They work best when they have the ability and flexibility to meet others’ unique needs. They have a way of making other people feel supported and appreciated, seemingly effortlessly, simply by saying the right phrase or making a thoughtful gesture. At the same time, ISFPs are also knowledgeable, and pride themselves on being able to provide practical, precise, and relevant information to the right people at the right time. Though they often hold back from voicing their own thoughts and opinions in order to make space for others, ISFPs’ contributions are often indispensable to their projects and teams. However, they can be short-sighted—so narrowly focused on the specifics of the present that they overlook long-term implications of their decisions or opinions.
ISFPs have a mild disposition and are not often irritated by others. However, they may become cross when a colleague or peer seems overbearing or overly confident, or if they are not considerate enough to allow others the opportunity to present their own thoughts or opinions. Because of their dedication to harmony and balance, ISFPs value contexts in which everyone is given their own time on stage. A second source of stress for ISFPs stems from their own practicality. ISFPs value information and actions that have an immediate impact on the world around them, and which account for the human element. As a result, they may become vexed when others become overly involved with conceptual models or philosophical theories and neglect the everyday concerns, experiences, and emotions of the people whom those models affect.
ISFPs and Workplace Contributions: Interpersonal and Applied
ISFPs’ greatest contribution to the workplace is the value they place on their colleagues, employees, and supervisors. ISFPs are uniquely able to respond to others’ needs. They show respect and kindness in a natural and genuine way that relieves stress and cultivates courtesy, empathy, and loyalty not only in return but also in the environment overall. Their intentions are humanitarian, and they rarely act without considering how their behavior will affect others in their environment. The joyful and cooperative attitude with which ISFPs approach every task coupled with the flexibility and tolerance they show on a daily basis reduces stress in the workplace. They are able to adapt to changing situations, and in doing so inspire and enable others to do the same.
ISFPs’ practicality also contributes to their organizations in other ways. For example, their ability to provide practical, hands-on support in crisis situations can save the day, especially since they are able to do so calmly, even when under time pressure or in other stressful contexts. However, their intense focus on reality rather than possibilities can frustrate colleagues who may think in more idealistic or abstract ways. Along the same lines, ISFPs have a strong preference for security and certainty in their decisions. They will choose a certain outcome and forgo a possibility for a much greater achievement in order to reduce their overall risk. This fear of failure limits ISFPs’ experiences and ability to continue to grow and develop. ISFPs should make an effort to challenge themselves and go beyond their own horizons, to become more aware of all that life has to offer.
ISFPs and Workplace Culture: Peaceful and Supportive
For ISFPs, a workplace is as much about the relationship between people as it is about completing and being paid for a job. They are driven to contribute to their colleagues’ happiness and wellbeing. They are keenly aware of others’ lives, often keeping track of significant events such as birthdays and anniversaries, and being aware of any losses or challenges others may be working through. ISFPs value others’ needs over their own. They may offer to work late so that a co-worker can spend time with their sick child, or take on other additional responsibilities if others on their teams are already overworked. ISFPs build relationships effortlessly, and have a way of making people feel valued in every way. However, being so giving can push ISFPs to their limits, especially if they do not have their own support system willing to make sacrifices and take responsibilities off their backs as well.
In general, ISFPs prefer to support rather than organize situations. They thrive in quiet environments in which people work relatively independently, but where cooperation is encouraged as long as it directly contributes to the outcomes one is trying to achieve. At the same time, ISFPs need the option for privacy. To them, collaboration should be a conscious choice rather than a default. Having a variety of possible contexts provides flexibility and in turn security, that regardless of the kind of environment or support they need at the time, they will be able to access it. At the same time, ISFPs work to make their workplace environment aesthetically pleasing as well as emotionally pleasing. They cultivate their physical environment in the same way they do their social environment, for instance by adding a nice piece of artwork, a small fountain, or a living plant to an otherwise dry office environment.
That said, ISFPs are still practical and do best in action-oriented environments where they and their co-workers are able to make progress towards a defined goal. It is also important for ISFPs to find a workplace environment where they feel valued and appreciated, and where their contributions are respected. Otherwise, they may become frustrated and withdraw, turning themselves inward and even becoming excessively self-critical. They may become depressed or feel underappreciated or undervalued, sometimes spiraling downward until they find the support they need to recover.
ISFPs and Leadership in The Workplace: Encouraging and Action-Oriented
ISFPs rarely find themselves in leadership positions, as they prefer to support rather than guide teams. While they are willing to dedicate themselves to causes that they find sufficiently important, even then they prefer a team approach, often acting more as a mentor or coordinator rather than a leader per se. They motivate others using personal loyalty and relationships rather than financial or material incentives, and gently persuade them to take action by tapping into their good intentions.
As they set a direction for their team, ISFPs are able to tailor their messages carefully to their audience, often giving different team members slightly different explanations or justifications based on what that individual needs to hear. This awareness extends to the facts of the current situation, and they use their knowledge to adapt their objectives as needed based on the specifics. While this level of flexibility can be a benefit, ISFPs may be so focused on the immediate situation that they lose sight of deeper causes or long-term impacts. Similarly, by placing too much weight on others’ perspectives or viewpoints, they may appear uncertain or unwilling to make firm decisions.
As they continue to progress towards their goal, ISFPs are excellent at troubleshooting, encouraging others while remaining realistic about what can be achieved in the time allotted. They may consider several different approaches before settling on the best course of action and moving forward. Both along the way and once their objective is achieved, ISFPs are generous and open with their praise and support. On the other hand, ISFPs often refrain from expressing criticism, even if it is warranted, out of concern for the feelings and emotions of their team.
To build on their leadership skills, ISFPs may need to develop more traditional ways of asserting authority, such as strategies for debating and selecting among ideas or how to have “an iron fist in a velvet glove.” While ISFPs should be true to their interpersonal values and their need to support their teams and colleagues, they must have the tools to address whatever situation could arise.
ISFPs and Problem Solving in The Workplace: Collaborative and Empirical
ISFPs solve problems collaboratively and show a genuine interest in others’ opinions and points of view throughout the process. They seek input from their team members, especially those who may be knowledgeable about the problem or whom the problem may affect. Once they have compiled all of the relevant facts, they balance the importance of such empirical details with the importance they place on others’ emotions and interpersonal relationships. As they make decisions, ISFPs not only value cold, hard fact, but also their possible impact on people. They carefully examine problems from all perspectives before deciding and acting on a solution.
While this level of collaboration can be valuable, ISFPs may appear indecisive, especially since they have a tendency to raise a valid and detailed concern only to abandon it when faced with even slight resistance. While their intent is to maintain strong relationships and a harmonious work environment, ISFPs may need to learn that individuals can disagree without necessarily being in conflict with one another, and that moderate divergences can strengthen teams. Debates can be focused on finding mutually beneficial solutions rather than consisting of personal attacks. At the same time, ISFPs may themselves become frustrated when other team members automatically or insensitively put down their own or others’ proposals, or when they lack common sense.
ISFPs and Areas of Growth in The Workplace: Leadership and Feedback
As ISFPs continue to grow as professionals and leaders, they can maximize their effectiveness in several ways. First, ISFPs may be too trusting of the information that others provide. They may be unwilling to question it for fear of upsetting them, disturbing their mental health, or causing them to lose credibility in a professional or casual environment. However, while others’ psychological wellbeing is important, ISFPs may need to develop a healthy skepticism and be willing to ask clarifying questions, especially if their team’s production is founded on the unreliable information of another person.
In this vein, ISFPs may also need to learn how to approach and manage conflict, particularly around giving and receiving negative feedback. Negative feedback, when targeted, constructive, and action-oriented, can be a valuable tool in helping individuals increase their output and perform more effectively. If handled appropriately, such conversations can be conducted in a supportive way, in which the participants are positioned as working together towards a common goal rather than against each other. Avoiding such difficult conversations is not always the best option, as issues may pervade or even escalate if they go unaddressed.
Last but far from least, ISFPs tend to focus on immediate or short-term benefits and impacts of specific situations. Instead, they may need to develop a broader, more future-oriented perspective. Widening their scope in this way will allow them to discover root causes of problems and challenges and long-term consequences of supposed solutions. This process of discovery may also open their eyes to intricacies and interactions to which they were previously oblivious, allowing for even more creative solutions in the future.
With a little targeted effort, ISFPs can improve the impact they have in the workplace. They can even change how they are perceived by their peers, and become more effective leaders and professionals. For example, by providing balanced rather than entirely positive feedback, they can earn the respect of their team members while also helping them become more productive. The first conversation is always the hardest, but the most important step you can take is the first one. Small changes can collectively have an enormous effect on how a business functions.
Learn More About the MBTI ISFP Personality Type
Explore additional information that delves deeper into the ISFP Personality Type by examining various personality and career based subjects:
- How the MBTI ISFP Type relates to Innovation
- How the MBTI ISFP Type relates to Project Management
- How the MBTI ISFP Type relates to Emotional Intelligence
- How the MBTI ISFP Type relates to Leadership
- The ISFP Celebrity Personality Types
Click on a link below to read more about different MBTI Personality Types
Introduction to Type (Isabel Briggs Myers, 1998, CPP Inc.)
Introduction to Type and Careers (Allen L. Hammer, 2007, CPP Inc.)
Introduction to Type and Leadership (Richmond, S. CPP. 2008)
Introduction to Type and Learning (Dunning, D. CPP. 2008)
Introduction To Type® and Emotional Intelligence. (Pearman, R. CPP, 2002)
Introduction To Type in Organizations (Hirsh, S. & Kummerow, J. CPP Inc., 1998)