ISTP Communication

This section ISTP Communication is about how ISTPs communicate.

This includes how they usually communicate with others, how you can reach an ISTP through speaking their language, what are some possible conflict points when working with ISTPs, and some pointers on how ISTPs can improve their communication style.

How ISTPs communicate

ISTPs are clear, calm, objective and detached individuals. They are easy-going, tolerant and informal people and are adept at adjusting themselves according to the situation.

They are generally observant of details and practical realities, and they analyse these with logical analysis to find the most efficient course of action.

Efficiency is the name of their game, and they dislike any dialogue that would slow them down to achieve their objectives with the least amount of effort.

Because of this desire to find the most efficient course of action, they dislike micromanagement or close supervision, and prefer to have their own way of doing things, rather than to be bound by rules or policy. 

They also dislike theoretical problems or vague ideas, preferring to give their energies to solving immediate and practical problems.

Also, ISTPs are people of action and rather not be explaining the rationale of their actions, but let their work of their hands do the talking for them.

How to reach an ISTP

When you are communicating with an ISTP:

  • Be logical, precise, direct and objective

    ISTPs do not like sharing emotional or personal information, especially at work. When you are presenting information to an ISTP, keep it short and sweet, and keep it objective.

    There is little need to go into small talk or social niceties with them before you get down to business. 

  • Present the practical problem and talk about immediate solutions

    As mentioned above, ISTPs do not like abstract or theoretical problems.

    Presenting the big picture or global issues and future consequences of such issues will not move them to action.

    To communicate with them, bring these global issues down to a practical problem and then talk about what immediate actions can be taken to solve these problems.

  • Give concrete data, evidence or information to work with

    ISTPs trust concrete facts and data, and especially information that link to what they already know and trust. Explain new information in a sequential step-by-step manner.

    If it is possible, let them use their five senses to absorb the new data, rather than just telling them about it. ISTPs trust information they learn experientially.  

  • Tell them ‘what’, not ‘how’

    Because ISTPs are motivated to find the most efficient way possible forward, as much as possible, just give them the objectives of the task and allow them the freedom to operate independently and let them find their best way there.

    Resist the temptation to tell them what methods they should use to get to their objective; ISTPs actually find it stifling.

Conflict Points

That said; let’s look at what will possibly cause conflict with an ISTP, and how you can avoid it. 

  • Taking things too personally

    ISTPs are logical, objective and matter-of-fact, especially when it comes to their work. When they put a case across, it is with the intention to improve the situation, solve a problem or meet an objective; they do not make it with the intention to hurt or offend anyone.  

    If their peers or colleagues take their words too personally or make work too personal, it gets on their nerves. They consequently find it extremely hard to work with these people.
     
  • Big ideas overriding common sense

    ISTPs need information that is precise, focused and concrete. When there are too many big vague ideas going around, it is a major source of frustration for them because they are by nature practical and realistic people and these do not make sense to them.

    When these big ideas affect their daily work, it will be a source of conflict. Even if you are convinced your big idea will work, break it down so that it makes sense for the ISTP.

  • Unfairness in the workplace

    ISTPs believe strongly in fairness and that each should be rewarded according to their effort, and all should be treated on equal ground. If they detect a hint of favouritism and unfairness in their supervisor, it could become a source of conflict. 

    If you are dealing with an ISTP who feels there is unfairness, explain to the ISTP the rationale behind your decision logically and objectively. Show that there was no emotional or personal reason why a decision was made.
     
  • Micromanaging them

    ISTPs want the freedom to choose how they meet an objective, and they prefer to operate independently.

    As such, they dislike managers who tell them what to do and then dictate how they are to go about to doing it. It will cause great frustration and stress to the ISTP.

    After you give ISTPs instructions, trust them to complete it in the most efficient way. Unless necessary, refrain from giving them directions or methods.

Tips for development

If you’re an ISTP, consider these as avenues for development:

  • Practice small talk before you get to the task

    Understand that for some people, harmony in their working relationships is important as well; they need to like you before they can work with you. So practice just talking with your co-workers before you get to the point, you will find that when people like you, tasks get accomplished faster as well.

    Consider learning by watching some of your co-workers in action when they first meet with a new business acquaintance. Watch how they find a casual non-work related common ground before proceeding to business.

  • Offer positive reinforcement and learn to deal with personal issues at work

    For others, encouragement and positive feedback can be motivation for them to excel in their work.

    Learn to offer words of praise for small accomplishments or small gestures of kindness. You may feel it’s not significant, but these small acts of kindness can go a long way in building a strong working relationship.

    Also, realize that for some people, there is no such thing as a work-life divide. If they are going through personal issues, they will find it hard to focus or excel at work. Be ready and willing to help others with their personal issues, and also learn to share a more personal side of yourself.  

  • Understanding long term implications of your immediate actions

    For ISTPs, finding the most efficient solution to the current problem is key. However, it may mean that you will neglect the long term consequences of your actions. 

    Consider doing a cost-benefit analysis of the long term implications of your decision, especially important ones besides just considering how it solves the immediate problem. 


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