The ISTP personality type (as outlined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® Assessment, or MBTI® Test ) is the Introverted Thinking with Extraverted Sensing type. ISTP personality types are empirical, reasonable, systematic, and judicious, always searching for the most efficient way to deal with a present issue. A Myers Briggs test -assessed ISTP type finds hypothetical or indefinite ideas superfluous unless they are useful to something that the ISTP is working on. They use a huge bank of information stored in their minds to come to sensible conclusions, making them discerning and confident workers:
- At the necessary time, they fulfill the duty of swiftly finding the underlying reason for an issue and then, without hesitation, creating a solution to put into use
- Their technical minds allow information in their brain to be considered without bias or emotional restraints
- They promptly search for a patterned construction that a set of data will follow
- Diligently but quietly monitor the world around them, absorbing a wealth of information each day from their unbiased interpretations
- Actively curious about the inner-workings of things and systems, making them proficient at hands-on projects and duties
- Enjoy speaking on topics that they are well versed in, and have no problem educating others on topics that they are highly informed on
- Go-to employees for trouble-shooting because of their quick and thorough ability to turn around a problem
Straight-Forward Problem Solvers
MBTI test -assessed ISTP types are very straightforward thinkers, seeing things plainly as they are without associating a theoretical “what ifs” to the situation. The information that they have gathered from extensive time spent surveying their environment makes them very confident in their unbiased rationale. This confidence can occasionally translate to aggressiveness if their opinions or thoughts are challenged—they’ll have no problem fully articulating their thoughts if another individual disputes their claims or opinions.
Myers-Briggs test ISTP personality types are outwardly agreeable, or so they seem simply because they do not verbally or outwardly oppose what is being spoken about. In reality, ISTP types internal processes often involve a critical analysis of current situations and what is being discussed.
Occasionally, ISTP personality types may find themselves unable to fully understand the world around them because they spend so much time searching the outside environment for concrete facts and data, not realizing that the world itself isn’t necessarily concrete. Therefore, MBTI test -assessed ISTP types may also find conceptual or emotional concepts such as love, relationships, and feelings difficult to understand.
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Too Much Observation, Not Enough Action
Contrastingly, another road bump that some ISTP types may find is that they can spend too much time observing the world around them, therefore making it almost impossible to spend an accurate amount of time and energy processing the information they gathered. This lack of execution can lead them into hasty decision-making or just poorly informed ideas and opinions.
A Myers-Briggs Test ISTP also falls into the danger of speeding through a project, seeking immediate gratification from the problems that they solve that they cannot see what this means in the long run. A similar problem comes about with their relationships with others—they often lack the ability to see the consequences of their actions and words. The pressure to achieve these quick solutions or to have all the answers can cause a complete shift to a purely emotional state. Because they are not used to dealing with emotions, great pressure can cause ISTP personality types to blow up in an emotional outburst of feelings that they do not understand and cannot control. Thankfully, by allowing subjectivity to influence their views just a smidge, by taking into consideration others around them, and by focusing on long-term goals and projects as well as immediate ones, ISTP types can use their incredible minds more efficiently.[All above information was taken from the following publication- (Isabel Briggs Myers, 1998, CPP Inc.)]
Career Opportunities Suited for the ISTP
An MBTI ISTP personality types unbiased and fact-oriented mind makes them exemplary employees in fields such as computers, engineering, production, and technology/electronics, where their ability to solve a predicament is needed on a daily basis. Examples of occupations that a Myers-Briggs test-assessed ISTP type may find success in include chemical plant operator, mechanic, computer hardware engineer, mechanical engineer, aircraft systems assembler, or electrical technician. An ISTP personality type’s hands-on mentality also makes them exceptional in outdoorsy fields, such as working as a farmer, rancher, or forestry worker (Allen L. Hammer, 1993, CPP Inc.).
In order to best succeed in these fields, ISTP personality types must overcome their desire to look at things on a per-problem basis—by gazing out into the future at their long-term goals and dreams for their life, they can be sure that their success will continue on through the years. Similarly, thinking of their career in broader terms will help MBTI test-assessed ISTP types realize the successes to be had in the long run at their current place of employment, whether that be advancement, transferring, or learning more about the industry with each passing year.
Another extremely important skill for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test ISTP types is to network, network, and network! ISTP personality types are not natural people-lovers, choosing to hold on to their close friendships without searching for new opportunities to meet people. However, by establishing rapport with your coworkers and by allowing yourself to not seem so reserved, Myers-Briggs test -assessed ISTP types will develop their coworker’s trust in their opinions and performances.
Lastly, ISTP personality types must try their best to put logic aside in certain situations in order to discover what is truly important to them, whether that is love, friendships, or something else to come in the future. By working towards all of these things, MBTI test -assessed ISTP types can enhance their career and their relationships with others.
Click on one of these corresponding popular ISTP Careers for detailed information including Career Stats, Income Stats, Daily Tasks and Required Education: Agricultural Inspector, Automotive Master Mechanic, Avionics Technician, Civil Engineering Technician, Construction & Building Inspector, Electric Power-Line Installer & Repairer, Forest & Conservation Worker, Light Truck or Delivery Driver, Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanic, and Operating Engineer or Other Construction Equipment Operator.
Further Understanding ISTPs
ISTPs are extremely tolerant and more often than not prefer to sit back and observe and understand the world around them—that is, until a problem arises. When a problem comes up, they will do everything in their power to analyze the situation, gather any possibly relevant information, and solve the problem in an organized and efficient manner. To some, especially more extraverted personality types, they may seem almost computer-like in their rationality and logic. ISTPs are realists, valuing practicality, efficiency, and factual accuracy above almost everything else, even interpersonal relationships.
Being this strong of a “trouble shooter” is often a good thing, especially when working as one member of a larger team. However, MBTI ISTPs may at some times be so focused on a specific outcome or on overall efficiency, that they risk coming across as dismissive of others’ ideas or contributions. As a result, they may need some extra support in meeting others’ emotional needs and recognizing their various points of view with respect to specific situations. Nonetheless, with a little bit of understanding and support, ISTPs can overcome these difficulties and continue to be an even more important part of any organization.
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ISTPs’ Learning Style: Analytical and Pragmatic
ISTPs in general evaluate information and ideas logically and linearly. In every learning situation, from grade school classes to professional seminars and workshops, they benefit from understanding not only what content they need to master, but also why it is important. They constantly ask themselves, “how will this knowledge or skill help me achieve my goals?” As they go through the steps of learning, they also do their best to connect new information to their past knowledge, experience, and skills. The more connections they are able to make, the more invested they will be in the content, and the more concretely they will be able to apply it to new situations.
Because their learning process is also highly reflective, ISTPs tend to prefer to learn independently, and also benefit from resources that present information in a linear and logical fashion. They tend to devalue activities based on building interpersonal relationships, and instead focus almost exclusively on becoming adept at navigating several different applications of the information presented. On the other hand, ISTPs do enjoy the challenge and unpredictability of solving problems in groups, especially if they are still given the time to reflect on their own learning process.
Most ISTPs also enjoy learning from highly-qualified, knowledgeable instructors who present information succinctly and linearly. That said, they also need a learning environment in which their questions are welcome, and where they have the opportunity to actively participate in their own learning process. They need to be able to reflect on different processes, and determine what will be most applicable to their own learning style and what may not be as effective. In the same way, they tend to benefit from the opportunity to evaluate and critique their own work. They do err on the side of being overly critical, however, and often ignore overly general or overly positive feedback. Instead, they do appreciate specific feedback, that either clearly articulates why their work is strong and should be repeated, or what specific changes should be made to improve their output. In the end, they believe that they cannot change their behavior (or continue to maintain high-quality) unless they know exactly what needs to stay the same or what needs to be changed.
ISTPs’ Leadership Style: Efficient but Flexible
ISTPs tend to be strong, efficient leaders, who manage to strike the delicate balance between making decisive choices and still allowing those decisions to adapt to new information that may become available as time goes on. In this way, they are comfortable being more flexible than many other personality types, and often allow a project’s final trajectory to be influenced by emergent changes in a situation. While this flexibility may seem too carefree or even careless at times, ISTPs are highly aware of and sensitive to seemingly inconsequential changes. They are also able to synthesize and see the significance of large amounts of information very quickly. Thus, their decisions are always well-informed, even if it does not always seem like it is.
When interacting with other employees or team members, Myers-Briggs ISTPs tend to have an informal, easy-going style that inspires others to share ideas with them. They are also exceptional at mentoring and reading others, not only identifying individuals’ strength and capabilities, but also drawing attention to their areas of growth and motivating them to continue to improve themselves. They are also often able to assign tasks based on others’ comfort zones. While in some cases ISTPs can be accused of “playing favorites”, especially since they tend to prefer co-workers or employees who think in a similar logical or linear fashion, this challenge can be overcome if they simply make an effort to communicate more equitably with others on their team, consciously spending time with every individual. In the same way, they should also make an effort to involve others in their decision making processes, even though they may instead prefer to work on problems in the same way that they learn—alone.
While ISTPs are already in many ways natural, flexible leaders, they can continue to develop their leadership skills and mindset by developing additional skills. For instance, while their flexibility is in many ways an asset, ISTPs should also make an effort to envision long-term solutions. Otherwise, they risk being perpetually caught in a loop where “today’s solution may become tomorrow’s problem.” Along the same lines, try to avoid “quick fixes” by instead laying ground work. For instance, while it may be tempting to purchase a flashy new technology to solve one problem, be sure to also consider the cost of training staff members to use the technology to its highest potential. Otherwise, the solution solved by the technology just creates another problem – how to actually use the technology.
On a slightly different note, ISTPs can also benefit from making more of an effort to understand how others think and how they reach their own conclusions or solutions to a given problem. In this way, not only will they begin to build deeper relationships with others on their team and in their department, but they may also be able to gain a new perspective on a problem, and perhaps even a new solution. An additional benefit of better understanding how others on their team think is that these insights may also help ISTPs become better at delegating. Not only will assigning portions of larger assignments or tasks to others make them a stronger leader, but it will also have two other outcomes. First, it will make other team members even more invested in the organization overall, and may even help them improve in their own career trajectories as well. This means that ultimately, ISTPs can build their professional and personal network. Second, delegating day-to-day minutia can also free up time for ISTPs to focus on other areas, and even potentially get new projects, making them even more important for their organization.
ISTPs and Emotional Outlook: Confident but Detached
ISTP personality types are highly confident and waste little time or energy evaluating their internal state. Some may even go so far as to consider a focus on emotions little more than a distraction from the task at hand. They are driven primarily if not entirely by their work, jumping from task to task or event to event. They maintain a high, almost Zen-like sense of self-satisfaction when working under pressure, and may even experience a rush when they successfully arrive at a solution to a problem.
Just as they tend to lead with a fair degree of flexibility, ISTPs also need a degree of flexibility when they are working towards completing their own projects. When given free rein, they will find the most efficient solution given the constraints with which they are presented, but they often feel cramped or overly monitored if the instructions or procedures they are given are too constraining or strict. In other words, when working with ISTPs, try to give them an end goal and a handful of parameters within which to operate, then let them go off to come up with a solution, and return when they are complete.
As should be obvious, ISTPs are heavily introverted, and are not always the most emotional or social individuals. More extraverted personalities especially may perceive them as being insensitive as a result, even though they are generally lively, though perhaps not overly effusive or talkative. That said, ISTPs are heavily invested in logical argumentation and debate, and often focus on convincing others to their point of view by deploying an arsenal of information and detailed facts. However, even in these discussions, they are often more focused on basic principles or frameworks than specific outcomes per se.
Like any other personality type, Myers-Briggs ISTP personality types have their strengths and challenges, but they can continue to improve themselves by focusing on areas in need of development and can be of great value to a team and organization alike.
ISTP Personality Types in The Workplace
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) can impart a deep, nuanced understanding of how individuals function in the workplace. From interpersonal communication and leadership style to workplace contributions, one’s MBTI® personality type shapes aspects of individuals’ behavior in the workplace. Understanding and strategically applying these insights allows individuals to focus on their greatest opportunities for growth—from developing leadership and problem-solving skills to increasing their productivity. One’s MBTI® personality type can also have significant effects at the team and organizational levels and can be applied to mitigate miscommunications and stress. In other words, understanding one’s MBTI® personality type can help teams work smarter and more efficiently.
Introverted-Sensing-Thinking-Perceiving (ISTP) personality types are highly logical. They approach challenges and people systematically, and are much more concerned with empirical facts than with feelings or opinions. They are discerning and confident workers who are able to efficiently identify challenges, develop a plan of action, and execute that plan without hesitation. This document provides details about ISTPs, how they communicate with and lead their teams, and how they approach problems within their organizations.
ISTPs and Communication in The Workplace: Precise and Practical
ISTPs are careful in their communication with others and are guarded when expressing their opinion. They enter conversations already well-informed on salient issues, from current events to client details to production timelines. They value efficiency and accuracy above all else, and do not hesitate to correct others who they think are misinformed or ignorant. They pride themselves on their ability to precisely articulate the current situation, sometimes to the point that less detail-oriented team members may accuse them of hair-splitting or making semantic distinctions where no practical difference exists. On the other hand, ISTPs rarely share opinions on topics about which they are not knowledgeable or which they have yet to research, and may themselves become irritated when others speak on or express opinions about topics about which they are not familiar. ISTPs withhold from such conversations not out of disinterest or ambivalence, but because they want to be able to voice an informed opinion. If an ISTP is vocal about their position, one can be certain that they have done their homework.
ISTPs are also characterized by their practicality and attention to detail. They are highly focused on action, and absorb every nuance of a current situation with the objective of acting based on it. They may become exasperated when others engage in lofty theoretical discussions that have no practical purpose or that are not immediately relevant to the task at hand. Their relative disdain for sharing feelings and personal values also stems from the lack of practical application; since feelings cannot and should not change the current state of affairs, they are not a valuable topic for discussion, from the perspective of an ISTP. Instead, ISTPs show concern for people and issues by sharing their insights with others. They are often respected for their attention to detail, despite their tendency on occasion to lose the forest for the trees.
ISTPs and Workplace Contributions: Efficient and Adaptable
ISTPs are efficient workers who act without hesitation and do whatever is necessary to complete the task at hand. They thrive in fast-paced environments and take pride in being relied upon to resolve emergencies, sometimes even to the extent that they seem more interested in putting out fires than staying current on everyday operations. At the same time, ISTPs are strongly grounded in reality. Although they work quickly, they make an effort to stay aware of changing conditions and incorporate new information into their behavior as it becomes available. ISTPs have difficulty directing their attention to a single task at a time, sometimes to the dismay of their more focused colleagues. However, their contributions to the workplace are sizeable and they can be valuable members of any team.
In addition to their work ethic, ISTPs become an available reference for their teams—walking storehouses of information. They absorb details like sponges, particularly in areas they find interesting or in which they are personally or professionally invested. They add expertise and knowledge to projects where they have technical skills or experience, and are happy to share this knowledge with others and support them in achieving their goals.
ISTPs function best in environments where they feel that their talents are appreciated and their time is effectively and efficiently allocated. Otherwise, they may withdraw their attention and energy, or become unwilling to invest in an organization that they feel is unwilling to invest in them. They may also become overly cynical or negative, criticizing their team mates or their company in ways that are harsh or unwarranted. That said, when ISTPs feel supported, they can be tireless workers who never shirk their responsibilities or shy away from a challenge.
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ISTPs and Workplace Culture: Structured and Supportive
In addition to their direct influence on their organizations’ bottom lines, ISTPs also contribute to the overall workplace environment and culture. Their detached, objective approach may calm their more emotional or people-oriented colleagues, and their ability to resolve multiple major issues simultaneously can relieve stress for others. Complex situations are invigorating rather than stressful for ISTPs, and so they may appear to be more interested in putting out fires than performing routine procedures. Their respect for logic, practicality, and process, and comparative lack thereof for corporate policies and organizational hierarchies can lead them to creative solutions for challenging problems, even though these values may vex their co-workers or supervisors. Nonetheless, one should keep in mind that ISTPs value the immediate needs of their teams above all else, and will take any action necessary to keep their organization running smoothly.
As they continue to grow and contribute, ISTPs should prioritize developing interpersonal skills and empathy for others. Their practicality, while one of their greatest strengths, also means that they tend to point out flaws in others’ plans or approaches without considering how their comments may impact others’ feelings. ISTPs tend to lose patience with those who need constant and unconditional appreciation or reassurance. If you are an ISTP, make an effort to give constructive, supportive criticism rather than becoming impatient. Doing so can help you improve your relationships with your co-workers, leading to more efficient production, if for no other reason than because happy people are more productive.
ISTPs and Leadership in The Workplace: Informed and Respected
ISTPs’ pragmatism and efficiency are reflected in their leadership as they are in all other aspects of their personal and professional lives. They exercise unobtrusive, even-handed authority. First and foremost, they set a solid foundation by only inviting individuals to their teams whom they believe to be competent and well-informed. Rather than micromanaging, ISTPs prefer to give general guidelines and set guardrails, and then allow their team members the flexibility and autonomy to use their skills in ways that they think will best benefit their teams. As long as team members complete the tasks they are assigned in a timely and high-quality fashion, ISTPs will consider them successful.
In this way, ISTPs tend to lead “flat” organizations. They reject hierarchies that require individuals to go through a specific approval process or that can create bottlenecks in production. Instead, they encourage team mates to use their best judgment and take action independently for the good of their team. ISTPs do not typically endorse the traditional chain of command, as they consider it an archaic structure that necessitates an inefficient workflow and allocation of resources. These preferences extend to when ISTPs are being led as well. They value those who allow their team members to lead through example and who judge individuals by their contributions rather than their titles or position within the organization.
ISTPs are not effusive with their praise and recognition. From their perspective, the value of praise, like all commodities, diminishes as its supply increases. As a result, they ration it carefully and share only when an achievement is particularly worthy of acknowledgment. As a result, when ISTPs do recognize their team’s accomplishments, their team members take it to heart. However, the scarcity of praise can damage some team members’ morale. To increase their efficacy even more, ISTPs should make an effort to congratulate and recognize their team members more often, especially since team members who value a more formal leadership structure may weight their words more heavily than they would otherwise expect.
ISTPs and Problem Solving in The Workplace: Data-driven and Thorough
ISTPs approach conflicts in the same way that they do all other problems in their lives—as challenges to be overcome. As with any other challenge, they find interpersonal conflicts invigorating and energizing. They enjoy being able to resolve situations successfully before proceeding to the next. Their approach is simple and systematic. First, they gather all of the details and facts associated with the conflict. Then, they develop an efficient and effective plan for how to move forward.
ISTPs’ approach is empirical and practical. Their position and approach are driven by the facts and realities of their current situation. They are rarely swayed by the emotional underpinnings of a situation, and may be unaware of them entirely, which may exasperate or irritate other members of their teams who may place more importance on the human impact of decisions that are made. On the other hand, ISPTs may become annoyed themselves when others overlook the logic and empirical realities of a situation and instead become bogged down in emotional issues or distracted by lofty philosophical discussions. They are also put off when others sacrifice efficiency or effectiveness for organizational traditional or hierarchy.
ISTPs use internal logic and facts to drive their decisions and solutions. As they continue to develop additional skills, they may need to learn to look beyond logical, linear thinking to consider other, more creative possibilities. For example, ISTPs may be able to maximize their effectiveness in the workplace and as leaders by taking their own and others’ feelings into account when making decisions. They could also indirectly increase others’ efficiency by realizing that conflict can provoke anxiety in for others, thereby reducing their productivity. In short, ISTPs may need to learn to place more importance on the human element in their workplace and personal problem-solving philosophy.
ISTPs and Areas of Growth in The Workplace: Long-Term Impact and The Human Element
ISTPs ability to synthesize and analyze large amounts of information is both their greatest strength and their greatest weakness. They are often able to craft solutions that account for nuances or technicalities that others are unable to recall. However, in doing so they risk losing the big picture. As leaders, ISTPs must learn to distinguish between unnecessary and essential details, and should learn to allocate their time and resources to correcting those misunderstandings that can have a meaningful impact on their teams, organizations, clients, and partners.
A second area of growth is that ISTPs should become more open to having conversations without needing to be the most knowledgeable of that specific topic. While their knowledge and attention to detail is a great strength, ISTPs need to learn that having discussions and sharing information with others is one way of building contacts and strengthening relationships. Sometimes, the value derived from a conversation is not the content per se but from the person with whom one is communicating.
ISTPs should also develop their leadership and delegation skills. Being able to give and receive feedback, including compliments and recognition as well as criticism and suggestions, is essential to being successful in today’s increasingly social workplace environment. While resolving problems independently can be valuable at times, being able to delegate so one can focus on other issues is essential also.
Last but far from least, ISTPs should curb their tendency to leap from one emergency situation to another, and should instead learn to plan and follow through on a specific task or series of procedures in order to confirm that their goal is achieved. This level of perseverance will help them appear more decisive and energetic, and will also help them see their ideas through to fruition, reducing the amount of time and effort wasted because they did not sufficiently invest in a pursuit or support others in their undertakings.
Learn More About the MBTI ISTP Personality Type
Explore additional information that delves deeper into the ISTP Personality Type by examining various personality and career based subjects:
- How the MBTI ISTP Type relates to Innovation
- How the MBTI ISTP Type relates to Project Management
- How the MBTI ISTP Type relates to Emotional Intelligence
- How the MBTI ISTP Type relates to Leadership
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)