In the early 1900s, Katharine Briggs began research on personality types and the theory behind it. She was inspired by Carl Jung, a psychoanalyst who aimed to identify a number of archetypes within each individual. Briggs, along with her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, took Jung’s work to a whole new level.
In 1962, Briggs Myers published the MBTI Manual, a tool used to identify people as one of 16 personality types. Although the MBTI Manual has been updated in the past 60 years, we still identify people by these personality types today. Ever heard of an ENTP? INTJ? ESFJ-A? These all come from the work of Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother.
Not sure if you're an ESFP? Learn more about the Myers Briggs Test to find out!
What Does ISTJ Stand For?
When you break down ISTJ, you get introvert, sensing (or observant,) thinking, and judgement. Does this sound like the ISTJs in your life? If you’re new to the Myers-Briggs personality types, don’t worry. I’ll break down each of these letters for you.
I is for introvert (as opposed to extrovert.) An introvert is more likely to be focused on their internal thoughts and feelings, rather than outside stimulation. Introverts are not necessarily shy, but they do gain more energy from reflecting on their own feelings than by surrounding themselves with other people and external stimulants.
S is for sensing (as opposed to intuition.) This is also identified as “observant.” Rather than relying on intuition, ISTJs use real-time facts and observations to interpret what is happening around them. They look for the most obvious solutions and use straightforward, logical methods of thinking to help them get there.
T is for thinking (as opposed to feeling.) People who lean toward thinking over feeling draw conclusions from the head rather than the heart. They are more likely to make a logical judgment based on thoughts, perceptions, and analysis instead of where their emotions are leading them.
Finally, J is for judgment (as opposed to perception.) Judgment and perception are often identified as the “least obvious” of the four letters in your personality type. Think of this as how a person works within a structure. People with a J in their personality type prefer structure. They take control of the structure of their day. They make judgments about how tasks are approached and when a job gets done.
When you put all of these personality traits together, you get someone who relies on logic and hard facts to make decisions. The Logistician is the perfect title for people with ISTJ personality types. But although they often want to be the person who makes decisions, they aren’t always the best person for the job. We’ll get into that later.
Functions of ISTJ
I, S, T, and J tell us how a person takes in the world around them. But there is more to this personality type than just receiving information. Carl Jung also developed the concept of functions that each person plays to help them make decisions with the information they have received. When Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs came along, these functions were paired with each of the 16 personality types. Each personality type performs four functions: their dominant function, auxiliary function, tertiary function, and inferior function.
The dominant function of ISTJs is Introverted Sensing (Si.) This function causes them to rely significantly on their experiences in both the past and present. They can live in the moment by taking in the information of their surroundings, bringing it into their inner world, and organizing it with the internalized information from past experiences.
Next up, we have the auxiliary function: Extroverted Thinking (Te.) ISTJs use their extraverted thinking to help them make decisions based on logic rather than emotion. Productivity is crucial to them, and they act efficiently/practically by focusing on details instead of getting distracted by abstract ideas.
The tertiary function of ISTJ types is Introverted Feeling (Fi.) This function will often battle with ISTJs more practical and dominant functions. Their judgments come from their internal values, and their decisions are mainly based on logic. However, their Fi causes them to recognize certain instincts that may not match their logical interpretation.
Finally, the inferior function of ISTJ Types is Extroverted Intuition (Ne.) This function essentially allows ISTJs to have a fond interest in new experiences or opportunities to learn. However, it is very short-lived and leads to some “lightbulb” moments that provide them with great ideas.
Real-Life Examples of Famous ISTJ
Using logic and observation will make you successful in many jobs. Mathematicians rely on logic, detectives rely on logic, and...Robert DeNiro?
The most famous examples of ISTJs include psychologists and philosophers, but also actors, politicians, and the richest man in the world. Here are some real-life examples of ISTJs:
- George Washington
- Condoleezza Rice
- Jeff Bezos
- Henry Ford
- Robert De Niro
- Julia Roberts
- Denzel Washington
- John Malkovich
- Sigmund Freud
- Thomas Hobbes
- Gordon Sumner (Sting)
Strengths and Weaknesses of ISTJ
What does it take to reach the success of Denzel Washington, Thomas Hobbes, or Condoleezza Rice? You need to have discipline, drive, and take your responsibilities seriously. Fortunately, these are all strengths of an ISTJ. While The Logistician is obviously logical, they also are known for these strengths:
- Strong will
- Calm and practicality
- Ability to create and enforce order
ISTJs are going to be the person that makes decisions, whether or not they are asked! But the S in ISTJ isn’t always a strength. While logic, observations, and the data in front of you can help to make a decision, that decision isn’t always the best. Intuition, understanding the feelings of others, and pulling in more abstract concepts can add a lot to someone’s decision-making process.
ISTJs often face setbacks because they are:
- Overly Defined by Rules
- Quick To Blame Themselves
- Resistance to Change
But hey, no one is perfect!
Basic Stats About ISTJs
Do you know a lot of ISTJs in your life? Don’t be too surprised! While some personality types only appear in 2% or 3% of the population, ISTJs make up 12% of the general population! That’s around 1 in every 8 people. Most likely, these people will be men. ISTJs make up 16% of men and 7% of women.
Working and Living with ISTJs
With few ISTJs in the world, their communication styles and relationship habits may not be easily understood by other types. But you may run across an ISTJ at work, in your social circles, or on dating apps. Consider their strengths and weaknesses as you communicate, set goals, and solve problems together. You may need to show your appreciation in slightly different ways or adjust how you perceive blunt feedback, but that is all a part of working alongside others.
ISTJs at Work
While some people loathe the “9-5” schedule, ISTJs thrive in it. They have a routine within those eight hours. (ISTJs usually have routines outside of work, too!) The ISTJs at your workplace are the ones that work best within a structure. They like having clear, step-by-step directions that they can follow. As long as you offer them deadlines, they will meet them.
You can be direct with the ISTJs on your team, and expect them to be direct, too! Blunt, clear communication is their specialty. They’re not trying to be offensive, just productive! If you need them to adjust their communication style to meet the needs of more sensitive folks on your team, tell them. They can handle it, although they might be resistant to your advice.
Do you have an ISTJ for a best friend? Then you can guarantee that they are going to stick by your side. In their personal relationships, ISTJs are very trustworthy and loyal to the people in their lives. You will not have to doubt their commitments or their word. They are very goal-oriented, so if a healthy relationship is one of those goals, they will work hard to maintain it.
An ISTJ doesn’t express their appreciation and love in the way that other types might. Small acts of service or honoring their word may not seem like much, but they are a lot to an ISTJ. Look for these small moments and know that you are loved.
ISTJ Compatibility and Romantic Relationships
When ISTJs are in romantic relationships, they are likely to take their commitment very seriously. Therefore, if they get married, they will consistently honor the vows they’ve made. They focus on their duties in the relationship and put forth an extreme effort to fulfill responsibilities as a partner (this applies to non-romantic relationships too).
Are you an ISTJ looking for a relationship? Your perfect match is an ESFP or ESTP. This person sees the world in a completely different way. You can both learn a lot from each other, and together, The Logistician and The Entrepreneur can build an empire!
Advice For Those with ISTJ Friends, Colleagues, and Partners
A user on the ISTJ subreddit asked ISTJs about the nicest gifts and gestures they ever received. Here are some of the answers:
- “Wife makes home cooked meals for me to take to work regularly. Whenever i have a exam, assessment or big day at work, she will get up and make me a full English breakfast. Sometimes she would bring me coffee in bed. I dont care about gifts, but small acts of service like this mean alot”
- “My friends tolerating me when I had anger issues. I am truly grateful
- “It's not one big nice thing, but all the small things. Whenever I am stressed or worn down, my INFJ boyfriend just... picks up the slack. Cooks me dinner, cleans up stuff, always there to listen to me rant. To me that's the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.”
Acts of service really show the ISTJs in your life that you are care about them!
Curious about ISTJ relationships? Have more questions about logisticians? Reddit is a great source for all things MBTI. You can find a general MBTI subreddit and subreddits for each of the 16 personality types.
Assertive vs. Turbulent ISTJs
Did you know that each of the 16 personality types are broken up into one of two groups? ISTJs either fit into the category of ISTJ-A or ISTJ-T. Here’s the difference.
ISTJs are very resistant to change; however, assertive logisticians (ISTJ-A) are more flexible when changes present themselves. Interestingly enough, they are also the least impulsive. This can be seen as positive because they are less reactive when their emotions are involved and more likely to have an open mind.
ISTJ-Ts, or “turbulent logisticians” are more likely to have emotional reactions and expressions towards certain situations. They don’t like change and get stressed in the face of uncertainty. Other’s opinions mean more to them, which causes them to struggle with self-confidence when they don’t feel validated.