People with ISTP preferences tend to enjoy learning and perfecting a craft through their patient application of skills. They can remain calm while managing a crisis, quickly deciding what needs to be done to solve the problem. Words or phrases that describe people with ISTP preferences at their best are highlighted in the MBTI® Type Head below:
People with ISTP preferences like analyzing problems and responding to crises. They enjoy working autonomously and tend to prefer analytical work. They enjoy working alone or alongside a few trusted others. They enjoy their autonomy, finding rules and procedures restrictive. They enjoy mental and physical challenges in their work and place emphasis on having fun, as well having opportunities to work outdoors. Jobs that appeal to people who prefer ISTP are those that include action-oriented, technical, practical roles, particularly in engineering and business.
People who prefer ISTP will thoroughly think through most decisions and might surprise co-workers when they present their conclusions as a “done” deal—no discussion or input needed! They tend to be very aware of their environment and seek careers that involve using their five senses. With S and T working together, people who prefer ISTP are focused on the bottom line and accuracy and thus typically choose jobs or careers that involve data, specifics, math, science, and efficient systems. They are often attracted to solving practical problems that produce a tangible result. Also of interest is the SP combination, which indicates that they tend to seek out fun and possibly thrilling sorts of careers and/or hobbies. The SP combination also motivates them to seek out occupations such as firefighter that give them the opportunity to react quickly and accurately within their environment.
Jobs That Typically Appeal to ISTPs
Electrical power installer/repairer
Chemical plant operator
Computer hardware engineer
Mechanical engineering technician
Precision aircraft systems assembler
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People with ISTP preferences make up 4.5% of leaders while representing 9% of the general population.* Their preferences may help them when making decisions to analyze both the pros and cons of an issue and focus on the practicality of new ideas.
*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).
Doing it Right the First Time
Key contributions of ST leaders were found to include many activities related to the execution of work; not surprising given their common ‘bottom line’ approach. Their top strengths were listed as solving problems and analyzing issues (81% of those surveyed) and taking initiative (68%). As a result, it is likely that in leadership positions, ST leaders will be naturally good at:
People with ISTP preferences will typically become stressed by the factors highlighted in the MBTI® Stress Head above. During initial stress they may appear overly critical and stubborn. In extreme circumstances they may tend to feel alienated, upset, and hypersensitive. Download and share the ISTP Stress Head to remind you (and your colleagues) about the things that stress you.
People with ISTP preferences are often described as egalitarian and generally tolerant of a wide range of behaviors, but they can surprise others around them by voicing their firm judgments when their logical principles are attacked. People who prefer ISTP can be a challenge to read, as they tend to be quiet and reserved.
Find out more about Types and Relationships
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For people who prefer ISTP, conflict is not to be taken personally, and they are “often amazed at how emotional others become when dealing with conflict” (Introduction to Type® and Conflict, p. 28). This can work well for them when it’s important to deal calmly with the conflict without getting personally involved. However, it could backfire when others think their calm, “let’s-get-it-over-with” approach indicates that they aren’t invested or don’t really care.
The TP conflict style of people who prefer ISTP works when it is useful to keep exploring the “who, what, when, where, and why” of the conflict. However, it could fail when they don’t push to resolve the conflict and then never get any closure.
Who are some famous ISTPs?
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 ISTP preferences?