People with ISFJ preferences are patient individuals who apply common sense and experience to solving problems for other people. They are responsible, loyal, and traditional and enjoy serving the needs of others and providing practical assistance. Words or phrases that describe people with ISFJ preferences at their best are highlighted in the MBTI® Type Head below:
People with ISFJ preferences enjoy a sense of belonging at work and like to work with people who care about and support each other. They are drawn to roles where their keen observation skills and accuracy are valued. They are compassionate in their approach and often work behind the scenes to get the job done. They enjoy traditional and stable working environments. Jobs typically attractive to ISFJs are those that reward loyalty and a sense of duty, including jobs in healthcare, secretarial roles, and social service and research.
People with ISFJ preferences readily remember specific personal details from their past, which becomes the basis for the decisions they make in the present. (Beware, if they share these personal details with you, they could expect you to remember them as well!) Motivated to provide practical service to others, people who prefer ISFJ typically like to help one person at a time, guiding him or her toward an efficient and swift resolution to whatever problem they’re trying to solve. They are careful about decisions they make, such as choosing an academic major or career, but once those are made, are reluctant to change them, even if they find that another choice might be more suitable.
Jobs That Typically Appeal to ISFJs
Licensed practical nurse
General family physician
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People with ISFJ preferences make up less than 4% of leaders globally while representing over 9% of the general population.* Their preferences may help them take information from what they have learned in the past and apply it in the present in practical ways that are considerate of others.
*Note: Global leadership sample includes 960,000+ supervisors, managers, and executives; global sample representing the general population includes 21,000+ individuals. See Introduction to Myers-Briggs® Type and Leadership (2015).
Lean on Me
While STs tend to focus on the execution of objectives and problem-solving as their key strengths, SF leaders more often reported that building relationships (83%), developing others (77%), and promoting teamwork (75%) were among their major contributions. These findings were not surprising given what we know of the SFs' natural approach toward providing for others’ needs. From this, SFs in leadership positions may demonstrate a natural proclivity for:
People with ISFJ preferences will typically become stressed by the factors highlighted in the MBTI® Stress Head above. During initial stress they may trust only past experience, saying things like, “that’s not how we do it around here” and have difficulty considering new ways to tackle problems. In extreme circumstances they tend to be accusatory and pessimistic, often thinking the worst and shutting down emotionally. Download and share the ISFJ Stress Head to remind you (and your colleagues) about the things that stress you.
People with ISFJ preferences are generally dependable and usually honor commitments and like to preserve traditions. Their partner, peers, family members, and friends will likely describe them as being empathetic, responsive and proactive in caring for others.
Find out more about Types and Relationships
Interested in learning more about how ISFJs compare to other types? Register for MBTIonline.com and compare all types to each other across various areas, including decision making, spending time together, expressing yourselves, and making plans.
People with ISFJ preferences during conflict will “work toward restoring harmony, concerned that there be no long term-ill effects” (Introduction to Type® and Conflict, p. 25). This can work well for them when getting closure on conflict. However, it could also result in hurt feelings getting bottled up inside, later resulting in an outburst that confuses them and anyone on the receiving end.
The FJ conflict style of people who prefer ISFJ works because it helps others feel like they are understood—that they have been heard. It could backfire for people who prefer ISFJ if they don’t also take care of their own needs somewhere along the way.
Who are some famous ISFJs?
Unless they have taken the MBTI assessment and shared their personality type preferences, it’s impossible to know. Anything else is just speculation, and we call it “type-casting.”
Where do our data come from?
All figures and data are representative of our own assessment samples collected at the time users take the Myers-Briggs personality assessment.
Think you might have ISFJ preferences?