Friday, October 29, 2010

ISTJ? Endless Possibilities!

When I was teaching graduate school I would spend an entire class on personality assessments.  Most graduate students are in the work world, so almost all of them had experience with personality assessments.  I thought it was my duty to cover personality assessments because of the misuses of personality assessments.  After the introduction of the class subject I would introduce the Myers-Briggs and tell my students, “I’m an ISTJ and proud of it.”  At that moment there would be one or two students who would shyly glance up from their notebooks, a small smile would appear and I would know instantly who the other ISTJ’s were in the classroom.
Personality assessments are meant for personal growth and development.  But almost all the time, they are misused in business to categorize and cubby-hole employees – specifically defining what an employee is or is not capable of doing.  That’s crap!  My absolute favorite form of abuse in corporate america is when companies have employees put their “type” as a sign on their desk – leading other people to automatically misjudge that person without truly knowing anything about them except a letter or a bunch of letters – it is so abusive.  Another day for that – back to the ISTJ’s.
ISTJ’s are probably the most misunderstood of all the types and the most abused.  For too long – the ISTJ personality type has been presented in a negative and abusive manner. If you look at most written descriptions of an ISTJ or listen to a misinformed trainer describe an ISTJ, you would think that ISTJ’s are the nastiest people on earth.  After all, ISTJ’s are judging, number crunching loners with watches on both arms, sticky notes everywhere and whose main focus is our planning calendar packed with objectives and deadlines.  We can’t see the big picture, we over think everything and we aren’t sensitive to other people’s feelings.  That’s CRAP and yet people hear this crap over and over again in training sessions and classrooms.  Every time a negative generalization like that is used (it doesn’t matter who’s smiling when it’s said) its abuse.  Since the ISTJ is an extreme type – it tends to be the one type that is most often written up using language that doesn’t contain positive terms and leads to negative stereotypes.  ISTJ’s can’t change stupid trainers or authors, but ISTJ’s can take charge, change their lives and excel higher than anyone could imagine – if they are serious about their personal development.
The ISTJ is a magnificent personality type that has the opportunity to excel at anything they try.  Keep in mind the purpose of the Myers-Briggs is for personal development.  If the Myers Briggs is presented in a positive – personal-growth oriented manner that doesn’t negate, abuse or stereotype any particular type, the ISTJ will listen and learn.  If the ISTJ takes the Myers Briggs seriously (oh and they can take things seriously) as a personal growth instrument the chances for self-improvement are off the chart.   When an ISTJ is presented with positive techniques for personal growth and success, your high ISTJ is going to really think about that (T), quietly mull it over (I), take a close look at areas that currently aren’t working for them (S) and identify how they can improve their life (J) and make a detailed plan to make it happen.  When an ISTJ learns to embrace personal growth opportunties like the Myers Briggs continuum – get out of their way cause something really special is going to happen.  And…….the possibilities become endless.
If all of your ideas of what an ISTJ is are based on canned stereotypes from corporate training, you’re missing out.  If you really don’t know an ISTJ, you really truly don’t know what an ISTJ is capable of doing or being.   The true friends of an ISTJ will tell you that they are gregarious and extremely compassionate.  The bosses who truly understand and develop their ISTJ will tell you not only can they work well on teams, but they can see the big picture AND they can bring the big picture results - on-time and on or under budget.
ISTJ’s - grab that Myers Briggs continuum, and learn about the other styles / types. Focus on your personal growth and opportunity for success.  Don’t let any article or trainer hold you back or stereotype you.  If someone (who matters) gets obsessed with your ISTJ sticker – tell them that’s only part of your personality – there’s a lot more.  Learn how to use all the different aspects of your personality – as you need them – in your daily life. If you choose to be all you can be (which I know you can) you will set the direction of your life and as Dr. Seuss would say – “Oh, the places you will go.”

Two videos worth 30 minutes of your time.

1 comment:

  1. This was a fantastic read. I am an ISTJ to the core doing an ISTJ type job (software developer) and have been pegged negatively by the tendencies of my type. A lot of people don't realize that the things that you like to pick at about an ISTJ (them being quiet) is the same thing that helps others when they need it (ISTJ being quiet to listen to a friend). Instead of prejudging that the ISTJ is just giving you a type of advice because they don't care, you fail to realize that they just gave you a practical solution to your problem that you can actually do. ISTJs feel like anyone else feels. They have different ways of expressing it. Once people open their minds , we can come to appreciate all types as complimentary instead of contradictory.