What's It Like To Be an "ISTJ"

A Self-Portrait Personality Type Description for ISTJs**

By Linda V. Berens Ph.D. and Dario Nardi Ph.D.

Personality Type:    ISTJ - Planner Inspector
Temperament:   Stabilizer (SJ)
Interaction Style*:    Chart-the-Course
Likely Social Style: Analytic

How to read these Self Portrait Personality Type Descriptions

I think for the most part I try to make my life pretty structured, and one thing that other people can depend on is that I have a very strong sense of duty.

I’m a team player but I work best with some time alone. I like it when everything is laid out and I can just concentrate on doing the job. I hate it when I don’t know where I am going, and I like feedback so I know I’m on the right track. If part of the job entails ambiguity, that’s fine just as long as the goal is to reduce ambiguity. I like being financially secure with the bills paid on time so my family can enjoy the things that we like to do. I like to have a fallback plan. I do like to laugh and have fun too, but work is more important to me, and then I make my little jokes. I always think I have to get my work done before I can go out or go home, when I can just sit down and relax without anything hanging over my head. I take responsibility seriously, and if I’m going to put my name on something, my desire is to insure it’s as good as it can be.

Personality Type Descriptions
by Linda V. Berens, Ph.D.
and Dario Nardi, Ph.D.**


A sense of right and wrong is extremely important, and I will not just stand by and watch people doing things wrong. It really tears me apart. I tend to want things in order and people doing the right things. I want to have some rules. I always wanted to please people, and a safe environment to me is where I don’t have to compete with anyone else’s wishes. If I get into a situation where I feel very strongly and can’t articulate the words or can’t win, I just don’t say anything. I tend to put up with conflict rather than deal with it. I try to deal with stress, but I am not necessarily a good confronter. I would like to be more of a stress avoider.

I find myself duty bound sometimes and find that I do things because of what’s expected of me. People can trust and count on me, and I am very dependable, almost to a fault. I strive to keep balance between work and home, and if I’m going to provide for my family I’m going to have to swallow some things at work. When I see families that really want to be together, that’s a relationship that those people worked at for many years to achieve. Being a friend means caring enough about an individual to call them to see how they are doing, and if I can see someone has held true to their word, then they’ve probably gained my trust. If you were to ask me to define the word love, you would get responses like caring, responsibility, and loyalty.

I am a very private person and I don’t like a lot of attention. Although I enjoy being with people, observing them, and just being a part of the group, I really like some solitude. People who don’t know me perceive me as pretty formal and rigid, and then I’ll get out of character and people don’t know how to deal with that. They misinterpret my subtle sense of humor. I do have some ability to improvise every once in a while. I take a lot of pleasure in the simple things. With a problem, I will try to look at all the parts and line them up to insure I don’t miss something. I have to force myself to look at the big picture and solve it before I can say, “Yes, this is going to work.” I’m not the idea person, but if I have experience I will give my opinion about how I think it should be done. If it’s new, I am very much apt to sit back and take it all in and sit on it and think about it. I try to catch myself, but it’s so unnatural for me to see the good side of things, and turning around my perspective takes a lot out of me. I want a rock-solid case for why I feel the way I do. A lot of my ideas are very practical, not theoretical—the down-to-earth stuff people really need to know. Sometimes when people don’t see my point, I tend to withdraw or stand back.

I can’t stand people who don’t care for others, who are irresponsible or rude, who shoot their mouth off without knowing what they are talking about or who don’t do what they are supposed to do and want something for nothing. I especially can’t tolerate people who don’t take other people’s time or privacy into consideration.

I get up in the morning and do my routine. And I take time at the end of each day to try to plan what’s happening the next day, what I’m going to be working on first, second, third, and so on through out the day, to eliminate the unexpected. Sometimes I might carry a book or something in case I have to wait somewhere. That makes life easy and full. Stability is important to me and change may not be that easy, but variety is good too. I seek advice when I need to change.

This concludes "What's it like to be an ISTJ,"
A Self Portrait Personality Type Description.

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**The Personality Type Description shown above is wholly owned and copyrighted by the authors Linda V. Berens Ph.D. and Dario Nardi Ph.D. and is used herein with their permission.

For a complete set of Personality Type Descriptions by Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi please see: "The 16 Sixteen Personality Types - Descriptions for Self-Discovery"

*Interaction Styles as developed by Linda Berens, is a powerful lens with which to better understand people. For a complete understanding of Interaction Styles see:
"Understanding Yourself and Others, An Introduction to Interaction Styles"

Practitioners, Organizational Development Consultants, HR Managers, Leadership and Teamwork Trainers,
click here for professional level training by Linda Berens in:
Interaction Styles, Temperament, and Personality Type