ISTJ Communication

ISTJs are straightforward, practical, logical and efficient people. They are task oriented people that focus on the facts and details.  They often have a wealth of stored information and knowledge and base their decisions on this information which they most deeply trust.

They do not like abstract theories or ideas, preferring logical and factual evidence.

When they are expressing themselves, they are no-nonsense, practical and efficient as well, they do not like to spend time on the small talk but prefer to get on to the task at hand.

They use their words economically, only saying what is necessary to get the task completed. They give others exact instructions and expect others to follow through.

They believe that the status quo is there for a good reason, and they firmly maintain the way things are done.

Communicating with them

When you are communicating with an ISTJ:

TELL THEM EXACTLY WHAT YOU EXPECT OF THEM

From the start, inform them in precise terms what is expected of them. Do not beat around the bush or spend time in small talk.

PRESENT INFORMATION IN A CLEAR, PRECISE, STEP-BY-STEP MANNER

State information sequentially and expound practically when necessary. With each step, state any directions, instructions, expectations and benchmarks.

GIVE THEM TIME TO REFLECT BEFORE ACTING

Do not expect ISTJs to respond to you immediately. Often, they need to check back on their previously stored information and consider how yours fit in. This takes some level of consideration, and therefore they require additional time to respond.

GIVE THEM PRACTICAL EVIDENCE AND FACTS TO WORK WITH

When you want to convince or persuade ISTJs, give them practical evidence and facts that they can observe and verify themselves. Stay away from abstract ideas or theories.

Conflict Points

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

CHALLENGING THEIR AUTHORITY

ISTJs strongly base their decisions on previously known experiences, and they will often stand firm because they believe in the reliability of their experience and knowledge. Challenging their decisions, especially without the same basis will lead to conflict with the ISTJ.

Seek to understand their point of view and the experience on which it is based; they have legitimate reasons for doing things the way they do. If an alternative solution is really necessary, offer them solid, practical evidence of your case to persuade them.

SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME ON PERSONAL MATTERS

As mentioned, ISTJs are task-oriented people who prefer not to talk about personal issues, especially at work. While they can tolerate a little small talk, spending too much time on it will evoke an uncharacteristic hostile reaction from the ISTJ who believe that time is being wasted.

Get to the point immediately. While it may not suit your style, ISTJs are perfectly happy with it.

NOT GIVEN TIME TO CONSIDER DECISIONS

ISTJs do not like to be asked to make last minute adjustments. They need time to process, plan and reflect on any changes that need to be made. If you or your organisation tends to make changes to decisions too often, ISTJs will feel extremely frustrated and unsettled.

Unless there is no alternative, strive to make your last minute changes minimal and let them know any new decisions far in advance.

LACK OF FOLLOW-THROUGH

ISTJs value competence and persistence and they need to see that in people around them too. If an idea is suggested or a decision made, but no follow-through is done, ISTJs lose respect for that person or organisation quickly.

When you decide an ISTJ, ensure that clear steps are being taken to follow through to the end.

Communication Growth

If you’re an ISTJ, 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.

LEARN TO MAKE EXCEPTIONS

While it is important to follow the status quo in making decisions, understand that sometimes certain events or circumstances are not fully captured by the system. As a result, you have to allow exceptions to the rule to fulfil the ‘spirit’ of the system.

LEARN TO GATHER MORE INFORMATION BY ASKING QUESTIONS

You may tend to come to conclusions too quickly. As a result, you might come to faulty decisions based on insufficient information. Learn to gather information by asking open questions, or learn to listen emphatically.

Give time for others to share without passing any form of conclusion or judgement on the situation.  Sometimes the additional information you gain will make you change your stance and possibly save you some embarrassment.