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« 3. EQ at work: ISTJs at their best »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute. MBTI coach with over 25 years MBTI experience, and author of the new book: "INFJ: What's it like to be one."

Emotional intelligence and personality are not the same thing. However, as different types of people react differently to their own and other people's emotions there is much to be learnt from discussing these together.

I have used the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI - 16 personality types) for over 20 years and find the classifications of personality very valuable.

ISTJ is one of the 16 types on the MBTI. The I stands for Introversion, S for Sensing, T for Thinking and J for Judging. It is not an uncommon type in Australia and is found particularly in certain professions, such as accounting, and in the public sector.

Although not all people of the same type will have the same levels of emotional intelligence they may find some aspects of emotional intelligence easier to develop than others, may use their emotional intelligence in different ways, and may benefit from focusing on different applications of EQ at work. 

Also, I am certain that some types will be more interested in emotional intelligence than others! However, if some people are not interested in their EQ at work, the people with whom they work and interact probably are, as it impacts directly on them.

This is one of a series of articles on personality and emotional intelligence, and will look at how the ISTJ can enhance their EQ at work. The article examines:

  • The emotions that may typically arise in an ISTJ in particular situations.
  • Ways that an ISTJ may manage these emotions.
  • Communication methods they may adopt that suit their type.

Here are five ways ISTJs can use their EQ at work and get the best out of being an ISTJ.

Different types have different aspects of emotional intelligence they find harder and easier. However, developing their emotional intelligence is vitality important for each type. Come join with me in this exciting new emotional intelligence coaching package and I will make sure it is personalised to you and your type.

EQ at work - ISTJ: 1. Ask for details

  1. ISTJs work best with details, in a step-by-step linear sequence.
  2. ISTJs know that there are right and wrong ways to do many things, such as speak grammatical English or correct ways to signal on roundabouts. They are likely to become irritated at people who get it wrong.
  3. While INTPs analyse, ISTJs are evaluating correctness of procedure in other people's actions. ISTJs correct other people's imperfections, they proof read and mentally correct everything.
  4. Of course being a sensate means they notice details that the iNtuitive may miss.

If details are missing they can feel frustrated, stressed or paralysed. If they are not given the details they require, for instance by an iNtuitive boss, they may be unable to comprehend what they are being instructed to do. One ISTJ explained to me that if this happens they can feel that the boss is inadequate or stupid for not understanding the needs of the person he/she is instructing.

If you are an ISTJ in this situation, one simple way to overcome the lack of details is to ask questions until you get them.

This can require confidence as you won't want to seem stupid in front of your senior people, but it will mean you will be able to do your job, and this in turn will help you shift your emotions into a more positive status.

This will be particularly helpful when you are talking to an iNtuitive, as they notoriously do not given enough details for an ISTJ.

An ISTJ has written a contribution in the book on INFJs, you may find it interesting to help you understand your differences. There is also a section on the differences in communication between iNtuitives and Sensates.

Get your copy here: It could save a lot of time.

One aspect of emotional intelligence is the ability to be able to move through unhelpful emotions to more helpful ones.

Dwelling in resentment at the boss who hasn't given you the level of instruction you need may not help you, whereas deliberately requesting more details may.

Given that some iNtuitives may not be able to give you the exact details you need in the linear way you may prefer, so meeting them with this insight may help you avoid too much self-blame or implicit criticism of the boss.

Knowledge of the types can help people manage their emotions and understand their own emotional reactions. Self-awareness is a crucial element of emotional intelligence and very helpful at work for ISTJs.


EQ at work - ISTJ: 2. Work in peace and quiet

Noise, constant interruptions or people talking while they're trying to think, can all reduce the productivity of ISTJs and leave them feeling frustrated, annoyed or agitated.

They are typical of many Introverts in this regard. If ISTJs can't concentrate on their jobs and hear themselves think, their productivity diminishes and their tension and stress increase.

If you are an ISTJ and experiencing such frustration, consider altering your work environment so you have peace and quiet in some way or other.

I know one ISTJ who was put in a noisy open-plan office close to others who were talking on the phone and to each other. He became despondent because he couldn't focus on his work. ISTJs are known to be steadfast in completing tasks. When they can't do this it is stressful for them.

This ISTJ complained to the senior manager about the working conditions. He ended up accepting a run-down building to work in as he could have his own room. He is much more relaxed and enjoys his job again. As a consequence his work benefits as he is at his best and productive.


EQ at work - ISTJ: 3. Keep things the same

Most ISTJs prefer their lives to be predictable and can feel unsettled when things change, especially if there seems to be no good reason for it. They may live by the motto, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". They feel most content when things stay the same. This contrasts with some other types who may get bored if things don't keep changing.

In a world and a workplace that is subjected to constant change this can require an ISTJ to have considerable emotional intelligence skills to cope. One way to handle work, if you're an ISTJ, is to choose a job where you can build up experience and knowledge over a period of time.

I spoke to an ISTJ woman recently who said, "I like to stay in the same job because my satisfaction comes from building up my experience and knowledge. I haven't changed jobs for 15 years and I'm happy where I am". This is fairly typical of an ISTJ and in complete contrast to iNtuitive types who often get bored when things don't change.

Different types have different aspects of emotional intelligence they find harder and easier. However, developing their emotional intelligence is vitality important for each type. Come join with me in this exciting new emotional intelligence coaching package and I will make sure it is personalised to you and your type.

EQ at work - ISTJ: 4. Watch out for catastrophising

All types have what Carl Jung called an "Inferior Function" or shadow side to their personalities.

Your Inferior Function is the part of you that is the least well developed but under times of significant stress may take you over. At these times you may become more negative in some way; in what way is determined by your type. As an ISTJ your inferior function is extraverted iNtuition. This means you may become swamped by feelings about a negative future. 

ISTJs under the stress of their inferior function can fall into "catastrophising". They imagine the worst happening. Their loved ones may be late home and they presume ambulances have taken them to hospital, when really they just stopped to chat to colleagues; they have a hard task to complete and are sure "It's going to kill them", when over time they master the skills required and do an excellent job; and so on.

Simply knowing this can help an ISTJ use his/her rational logic at this time. However, even more important for an ISTJ at work is to be able to sense when stress is mounting, before it becomes so strong that the Inferior takes over. They may not find emotional self-awareness easy though and this is an area that they could usefully pay more attention to and develop.

There are many different ways to develop more EQ at work, and the priority aspects to focus on may vary for each type and each person. Having an emotional intelligence assessment will, of course, help establish the priorities for each person.


EQ at work - ISTJ: 5. Get to know your type

ISTJs can enjoy tasks and hobbies such as reading, although they may not naturally read self-help books, and are more likely to read technical manuals or scientific journals.

However, if you're an ISTJ, take the time to read about your type and to become more knowledgeable of who you are, how you react at work, and how you work best. ISTJs, like all types, have many strengths and gifts. Know what these are and develop them fully in yourself.

What is your EQ at work? How well are you managing your emotions?


EQ at work -ISTJ: Understand your type, increase communication effectiveness and lower conflict

There is so much that you or your team can learn so that you develop greater understanding of, and skills with, your communication, personality and relationships at work and home. The EI Institute has a number of options to help you as an ISTJ:

  1. If you are have to live or work with Intuitives, especially INFJs, then this 2018 book by Rachel Green, our Director, is a must read: "INFJ: What's it like to be one."  It contains a contribution by an ISTJ and a section on communicating with people with a Feeling preference and with people with iNtuition as a preference.
  2. Meditation appeals to many introverts and we have a very popular audio-download on meditation called: "Happy Not Hassled". A perfect way to introvert and stay healthy.
  3. There is superior 1-1 coaching; and the MBTI is included as part of our smart leadership coaching package. Develop the skills you need, with Rachel Green.

For more details or to make a booking e-mail us now or pick up the phone and call us.