ISTJ (introversion, sensing, thinking, judgment) is a four-letter code representing one of the 16 personality types found on the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator (MBTI). People with an ISTJ personality type tend to be reserved, practical and quiet. They enjoy order and organization in all areas of their lives including their home, work, family and projects. ISTJs value loyalty in themselves and others, and place an emphasis on traditions.
In this brief overview, we'll take a closer look at the characteristics of the ISTJ personality type.
The Myer-Briggs Personality Indicator identifies your personality preferences in four main areas: 1) Extraversion vs Introversion, 2) Sensing vs Intuition, 3) Thinking vs Feeling and 4) Judging vs Perceiving. For each of these dimensions, the MBTI identifies you as tending toward one end or the other of each dimension. As you can see, the ISTJ personality tends to be Introverted, Sensing, Thinking and Judging.
- Introversion (I): How you direct your energy and relate to the world around you. ISTJs prefer spending time along or with small groups of close friends.
- Sensing (S): How you take in information from the environment. ISTJs prefer to focus on the details rather than thinking about abstract information.
- Thinking (T): How you make decisions. ISTJs make decisions based on logic and objective data rather than personal feelings.
- Judging (J): How you orient yourself to the outside world. ISTJs are planners; they like to carefully plan things out well in advance.
Some of the main characteristics of the ISTJ personality include:
- Focused on details and facts
- Interested in the present more than the future
- Observant, but slightly subjective
- Interested in the internal world
- Logical and practical
- Orderly and organized
ISTJs enjoy an orderly life. They like things to be well-organized and pay a great deal of attention to detail. When things are in disarray, people with this personality type may find themselves unable to rest until they have set everything straight and the work has been completed.
Because of this need for order, they tend to do better in learning and work environments that have clearly defined schedules, clear-cut assignments and a strong focus on the task at hand. When learning new things, ISTJs do best when the material is something they view as useful with real-world applications. Concrete, factual information appeals to ISTJs, while theoretical and abstract information has little value unless they can see some type of practical use for it. While they may exert tremendous energy into projects they see has valuable, they will avoid wasting time and energy on things that they view as useless or unpractical.
ISTJs are both responsible and realistic. They take a logical approach to achieving goals and completing projects and are able to work at a steady pace toward accomplishing these tasks. They are able to ignore distractions in order to focus on the task at hand and are often described as dependable and trustworthy.
ISTJs also place a great deal of emphasis on traditions and laws. They prefer to follow rules and procedures that have previously been established. In some cases, ISTJs can seem rigid and unyielding in their desire to maintain structure.
People with this personality type are usually very loyal and devoted to family and friends, but may struggle to understand their own emotions and the feelings of others. They can be quite reserved and sometimes fail to pick up on the emotional signals given by other people. However, once they are close to a person and develop an understanding of that person's feelings and needs, they will expend a great deal of effort toward supporting those needs.
Famous People with ISTJ Personalities
A number of famous individuals have been described as having an ISTJ personality based on analysis of their lives, works and behaviors. Some of the possible famous ISTJs include:
- George Washington, U.S. President
- Henry Ford, inventor
- Johnny Carson, entertainer
- Elizabeth II, Queen of England
- Calvin Coolidge, U.S. President
- Evander Holyfield, boxer
- Warren Buffett, businessman
A few fictional characters that demonstrate the characteristics of the ISTJ personality type include:
- Cliff Calvin, Cheers
- Darth Vader, Star Wars
- Joe Friday, Dragnet
- Eeyore, Winnie the Pooh
- Dallas, Alien
Best Career Choices for ISTJs
ISTJs tend to do well in careers that require order, structure and perseverance. Jobs that involve dealing with concrete facts and figures (accounting, library science, computer programming, etc.) are all good options. Jobs that require accuracy, respect for rules and stability often appeal to those with an ISTJ personality.
By understanding your underlying personality, you'll be better able to select a career path that appeals to your strengths. Some ideal career choices for an ISTJ include:
- Computer Programmer
- Police Officer or Detective
- Military Leader
Butt, J. (2005). Introverted sensing thinking judging. http://typelogic.com/istj.html
Myers, I. B. (1998). Introduction to Type: A Guide to Understanding your Results on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Mountain View, CA: CPP, Inc.
The Myers & Briggs Foundation. (n.d.). The 16 MBTI Types. http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/the-16-mbti-types.asp