ISTP Leadership

This section ISTP Leadership is about the strengths and weaknesses of ISTPs in leadership and management roles. I also offer some suggestions for leadership development.

ISTPs are quiet and observant leaders who seek to get things done in the most effective way possible with the least amount of effort. They are approachable, flexible and will almost always be open to new ideas and suggestions from others. They are also extremely resourceful; having a keen understanding of realities and knowing how to use them to achieve maximum results.

Leading Self

ISTPs live in the moment and are usually only concerned with the here and now. They do not seek to impose their values or their beliefs on any situation. Rather, they accept reality as it is and adapt to it.

They also do not like to be tied down by commitments to people or tasks, and will resist any effort by anyone to tie them down; this may be true even when the commitments are necessary.

In the same vein, they may find it hard to forgo present pleasure to fulfil long term personal goals. The idea of sacrificing today’s happiness for a future benefit is a concept that seems foreign to most ISTPs. To succeed, ISTPs instead need only to find something they love to put their hands to work on; they will perform their best even without a goal in mind.

Setting the Vision

ISTPs are flexible and adaptable when setting an organizational direction. While they can make a decision on how to move forward based on their keen observation of current circumstances, they will constantly change their direction when they see that circumstances have changed.

However, they are not comfortable with setting long term goals or casting big visions for the team. This means that sometimes they may end up fire-fighting symptoms instead of solving root causes of problems. Also, their constantly changing of direction may frustrate those under them who desire some certainty or stability.

Connecting with Others

ISTPs leaders take a democratic, informal and casual style of leadership. They are open to new suggestions and ideas and therefore are very approachable leaders.

Hence, they usually create an open office atmosphere where thoughts, ideas and opinions are freely shared.  

However, ISTP leaders may fail to notice the feelings and needs of others in the course of their work. They may notice, but also choose to ignore these as they feel these emotions, when discussed, may complicate the process of work.

Being introverted and task-focused, they may also see no need to build personal relationships in the office. Co-workers and staff may find ISTP leaders to be cold and distant as a result.

Accomplishing of Goals

ISTPs are very action-oriented and prefer doing to talking. They do not like long meetings and as leaders, they rather just get down to the task immediately than discuss the best way forward. While performing the tasks, they are flexible to change plans according to what they see and observe.

However, ISTP leaders often find it hard to manage the resources given to them. Given a choice, they prefer to just do it themselves and expect the team to decide themselves on how they want to participate in the accomplishing of the task. This of course, makes it very confusing for the team with regard to roles and responsibilities.

ISTP Leadership Development

Here are some tips for development:

  • Practice patience

    Others may not understand information the way you do or do not pick up skills at the rate you expect them to. Be more patient with these people and try understanding how they process their learning, and learning to speak their language. Refrain from critical words that may hurt or offend; trying using positive words of encouragement instead.

  • Follow through on deadlines

    While you are more comfortable with a flexible deadline for tasks and projects, some people need certainty in order to schedule and prioritize their tasks well. By following through on deadlines which you have set earlier, you facilitate this scheduling and prioritizing for others and ultimately you boost your credibility as a leader by keeping to your words.

  • Learn strategic planning

    Take a step back on look at the bigger picture. Current problems are often symptoms of more fundamental issues that have to be addressed. When you observe a crisis, consider the processes, structure in the organization can be adjusted such that a similar crisis will not happen again.

    Look the trends and patterns in the industry; are there opportunities that you can take advantage of if you position your organization well today?


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