What follows is a brief description of the ISTJ personality type, including:
• Natural Strengths
• Common Tendencies
• Interaction Styles
• Stressors and Coping Mechanisms.
• Ideal and Corrupt versions of the ISTJ
•ISTJ Stack

ISTJ Basic

Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging. ISTJs are very knowledge focused, but they also tend to be skeptical of what they themselves know, so they often seek confirmation from outside sources; relying on the past (through routines and traditions) or relying on others (through experts). In turn, they don’t like to experiment and can become frustrated with anyone or anything that “casts doubt” on things they’ve previously verified. They are slow to change.

ISTJs are very aware of “potential dangers” and often stick to the “tried and true” and “the familiar” as a way of protecting themselves (and others). They rely on others to “chart a new path” and then guide them (if someone has “prior experience”). Just knowing that someone “does have prior experience” will really help to reassure an ISTJ).

ISTJs often see it as “their role” to cite “potential dangers,” and can easily become “very frustrated” if others refuse to listen to them. In some cases an ISTJ may even intentionally “set someone up to fail” as a way of reinforcing that “you should have listened to me.”

ISTJs tend to be “single-minded,” often focusing on some form of “research and study.” As a result, they can be a bit oblivious to social conventions, though they regard it as their duty and responsibility to conform. They often strive to “dress appropriately” and maintain a clean and organized space. In some cases ISTJs may feel a compulsion to “organize other people’s things” (believing that there is “one correct way to organize things”).

ISTJs favor order, planning, and clearly established expectations. Any time things become “unpredictable” or “improvised” (including social or emotional situations), ISTJs become stressed. They respond by placing a greater emphasis on concrete details, logic, routines, and solitude. If the problem persists, they can become intensely emotional, critical (of themselves and others), and pessimistic. Often the way to help them is by “giving them their space,” reducing their responsibilities, and allowing them to express their emotions (if they choose to) while remaining calm and free from judgement.

ISTJ Ideal

ISTJs are the keepers of tradition. They believe in “learning” and “remembering.” They strive to see all things with objective fairness. They work hard to protect and support their community. They are “down-to-earth” practical, and they never ask others to do anything they won’t do themselves. At first they can appear quite serious, but once they have fulfilled their duty, they open up, becoming warm and playful.

However, in their desire to be objectively “fair,” they can be rigid, emotionally cold, and overemphasize “minor details” in an effort to “exactly recreate” (for the sake of precise fairness).

ISTJ Corrupt

ISTJs strive for objective fairness, but when they become corrupt they become excessively controlling. They (sometimes) believe that they have determined what is the perfect “state or routine” for everything. Any deviation from their script is inherently “wrong.”

Of course (even without getting into other issues) this idea assumes that “the world will remain unchanging (once the ISTJ establishes their “perfect order”),” and even if it was possible to maintain the status quo in the ISTJ’s community (or kingdom), there will always be “something” that exists “outside of the ISTJ’s control, and (at some point) that will lead to “a change” that necessitates “adapting/changing” as well.

Often “this kind of behavior” stems from an earlier stage in their life where “not enough routine and control” was exercised, and too much was improvised, leading to a system that was changing too frequently and “too haphazardly” to avoid chaos and trouble.

A second, more extreme form of ISTJ corruption is the egotism of “my personal well being matters more than anything else.” They may have been raised to believe that they are superior (just because “they are”). They accept it without question. Anyone who does question it (or in any way undermine it) will be crushed without mercy (the corrupt ISTJ has no empathy and no respect for other people’s ideas). In the absence of actual defiance, ISTJs may “find people to punish” because the corrupt ISTJ perceives “something about them to be ‘defiant” (though in some cases the ISTJ may just be looking for an excuse to assert their dominance).

There is only one right way, and it is the corrupt ISTJ’s role to be “the one voice that says what that ‘one way is’ (and determines if/when it should be revised).” The ISTJ has knowledge and wisdom that “needs to be shared,” and they will not allow a little thing like “everyone else disagrees with them” to stop them. Everyone else’s judgement is clouded by emotion. Only the corrupt ISTJ can “see clearly.”

Through it all, the corrupt ISTJ will still pride themselves on being objectively fair, so if they are not being fair, if they are in fact being “self-serving” (or emotionally biased), and they recognize it, that is “one way” to “get them back on track.”

ISTJ Stack

The stack is essentially “what distinguishes one personality type from another.”

1. Si (Memory)
2. Te (Effectiveness)
3. Fi (Authenticity)
4. Ne (Exploration)

5. Se (Sensation)
6. Ti (Accuracy)
7. Fe (Harmony)
8. Ni (Perspective)

If you would like some basic information about what the 8 skills and 8 roles mean (in general, please click the button below.