ISTJ Credo: "I say what I mean and I mean what I say"

ISTJ Keywords: Logical, Detached, Detailed, Completes, Protects, Organises, Factual, Quiet, Practical, Pragmatic, Sensible, Steady, Loyal

The ISTJ is the behind-the-scenes worker making things happen. Their sense of duty and loyalty means that they will rarely be happy in the front line, preferring to be the engine room. The ISTJ is the sensible, ‘prefect-type’ of character, who wants to get it right and 'do good.' Their value to the team is protection - from mistakes, from omissions, from self-delusion and from going off-track. The ISTJ loves seeing things come to fruition. Ideas, complexity and imagination are of value only of they lead to a practical end result.

An ISTJ needs to be clear on what is expected, and then will plan and work with consistent and steady energy towards completion. Opinions are slowly arrived-at and, consequently will be well-thought-out, tried and tested. The ISTJ is not prone to bursts of emotion, flying by the seat of the pants nor will she thrive in a chaotic environment - unless she has the opportunity to formalise it!

Logical, detached and detailed, ISTJs pride themselves on their store of data and knowledge, all arrived at with clinical procedure and experience. They take great care not to get it wrong and like everyone to take responsibility for their actions - and their mistakes.

Serious-minded, individualistic and thorough, the ISTJ may focus so much on the task that they forget the needs of others - including themselves. ISTJs like to plan, schedule and drive through to completion, in a logical linear sequence. Any deviation from the plan would be questioned and may take some convincing of its merits.

AN ISTJ can be trusted to complete, to work hard and play by the rules. However they may not always articulate how they are feeling or even how things are progressing. The ISTJ plans the work and works the plan, so why should there be any need for up-dates!

The ISTJ naturally tunes into the actualities and specifics of life and thus they will be reliable, loyal and work with existing, known facts and data. Conscientious, hardworking and serious about their undertakings ISTJs are built for attrition, to work tirelessly in achieving the agreed goals. The ISTJ may not have been the one to set the goals but they will make sure they are met - to the letter, working methodically, carefully and taking it very personally. Everything is taken literally (with no irony) and they pride themselves on being careful and accurate about ‘the facts.’

Quiet and thoughtful, the ISTJ work best when they are clear on what is expected and then allowed to get on with it without interruption or interference from others, preferably in a familiar way in familiar surroundings.

The ISTJ does not like being thrown in at the deep-end and they have to feel that whatever they are being asked to do makes logical sense. The new, the untried worries the ISTJ as they rely instinctively on experience and the tried and tested. Sure the ISTJ can change but they need to see a logical reason for doing so. The ISTJ will not be prone to say ‘let’s give it a whirl.’

This aspect of the ISTJ character means that others may see them as slightly cold and impersonal, possibly even as uncaring. However their decisions are based on what makes the most logical sense and as such this can mean the feelings of others may not necessarily be factored into this process. The ISTJ will then systematically carry out the task diligently and to the letter, which can make them appear inflexible, but this is simply a sign of the seriousness with which they embrace responsibility.

The new, the untried can perplex the ISTJ who prefers the known and the traditional and, as they learn best through experience, ie by ‘doing,’ any new activity with which they have no direct first hand experience will cause a wariness and mistrust. This trait also means that the ISTJ may not see the bigger picture or the nuances as they are just so factual. They will see a series of tasks as a process, inexorably linked together and anything ethereal or woolly which does not compute will be received with scepticism.

The ISTJ is logical, objective and factual and all decisions will be made using these criteria, making the call by choosing the option that makes the most sense and which is the fairest course and so they are unlikely to be swayed by emotion or pleading or bargaining - to ISTJ the choice will be obvious.

Concentration, willpower and persistence epitomises the ISTJ approach to work and they will begin at the beginning and end at the end - no deviations, whims or detours! Spontaneity and flexibility are less important to the ISTJ who may simply plough on alone and will be difficult to deflect from the task at hand. This makes the ISTJ less willing to change unless the rationale is crystal clear and makes sense otherwise they may dig their heels in. Conservative, risk-averse and methodical ISTJs come into their own when it needs a steady hand and abject attention to detail. And they are unlikely to EVER drop the ball.

ISTJs are like inspectors, having a keen sense of right and wrong, especially in their area of interest and or responsibility. They are known for dedication to duty - to the cause. Punctuality is so important to them, in fact the person by whom others set their clocks is likely to be an ISTJ.

ISTJs often give the initial impression of being aloof and perhaps somewhat cold. Effusive expression of emotional warmth is possible for the ISTJ but not without depleting their energy resources and so they will then have to move out of the spotlight and spend time alone drawing energy form within.

ISTJs feel most comfortable when ‘sticking to the facts,’ performing at their highest level of effectiveness when employing a linear, step-by-step approach. Once a new process has proven itself (ie has been shown to ‘work’), the ISTJ can be depended upon to carry it through, even at the expense of their own interests and time, ticking each box as they go!

ISTJs are easily frustrated by the inconsistencies of others, especially when these others don't adhere to their commitments or agreements. They do, however, usually keep their feelings to themselves unless they are asked - but when asked, they are unlikely to mince words - truth will triumph over tact - every time! The ISTJ vindicates is the consummate functionary, organizing any event or situation which requires making tough decisions and sticking to them.

The SJ orientation draws the ISTJ into the service of established institutions - home, government, schools, churches, everywhere where tradition rules and the credo is, ‘we've always done it this way.’ Threats to traditions or established processes are alien to the ISTJ.

In a team situation, the ISTJ will bring order, clarity, organisation and planning. Although introverted and so not the most vocal member of the team, the ISTJ will seek to make sure the team is best placed to move towards a 'known' conclusion in a thorough, planned and detailed way.

Famous ISTJs

  • Anthony Hopkins
  • George Bush Senior