ISTP Personality Type

The Detective in Myers Briggs

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What is the ISTP personality type (The Detective)?
People with an ISTP personality type tend to be curious, pragmatic, and confident in their behavior. They are unpredictable and spontaneous, but are often quiet, preferring to think and process information internally.

ISTP Personality Traits

Detectives are generally more reserved and prefer being alone. They are self-sufficient, independent thinkers.

They are very observant and focus on the details of a situation, trusting facts and making decisions based on the here-and-now.

ISTP types favor logic and reason over emotional influences. They base their decisions on what makes sense.

They are also spontaneous and prefer keeping their options open. Detectives are often more adaptable and less aware of time.


In summary, ISTP personality types tend to...

  • Focus on the specifics and details rather than the big picture

  • Trust logic and reason over emotions when making decisions

  • Seek alone time and privacy to think, process, and recharge

  • Reject rules and regulations and favor spontaneity

  • Study the world around them and seek to understand it

ISTP Strengths

Every personality archetype has strengths and blind spots, and these are often amplified in professional settings where we often encounter a diverse group of people with vastly different backgrounds and value systems.

Strengths that are typically associated with the ISTP personality type include...

  • Ability to adapt to new situations

  • Positive and light-hearted attitude

  • Deep curiosity and passion for understanding

  • Thorough, logical, and creative thinking

  • Natural confidence and calm demeanor

ISTP Weaknesses

Weaknesses that are typically associated with the ISTP personality type include...

  • Logical thinking bordering on insensitivity

  • Difficulty focusing on long-term goals

  • Spontaneous nature leading to excessive risk-taking

  • Struggling to commit to others

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How ISTP personality types like to work

Communicating with an ISTP personality type

Recognize their need for independence; avoid emotional expressions and focus on logical arguments when communicating with an ISTP type.

Meeting with an ISTP personality type

Address the concern clearly and logically while working to keep the meeting concise.

Emailing an ISTP personality type

Avoid pleasantries and surface-level conversation when emailing ISTPs; Instead, focus on being direct.

Giving feedback to an ISTP personality type

Give straightforward feedback, focusing on the details and specifics.

Resolving conflict with an ISTP personality type

Communicate conflict clearly with ISTP types; avoid displays of emotion.

ISTP Motivations

When people experience pain, stress, or dissatisfaction, it can usually be attributed to energy-draining activities. Therefore, it’s important to know what kinds of activities energize each personality type and which activities drain them. 

ISTP personality types tend to be motivated and energized by...

  • Taking things apart and figuring out how they work

  • Flexible schedules that allow them to be impulsive

  • Freedom to be independent and alone

  • Exciting new adventures and experiences

  • Finding unique solutions to difficult problems

ISTP Stress

ISTP personality types tend to be stressed and drained by...

  • Pressure to commit to long-term projects

  • Monotonous or purposeless routine

  • Spending too much time around other people

  • Dealing with interpersonal conflict   

ISTP Careers

ISTPs tend to thrive in environments that allow them to be independent and problem-solve at their own pace. They enjoy using their strengths in logical thinking and passionate curiosity to help improve the productivity and effectiveness of their team.

ISTP personality types feel energized at work when...

  • They are asked to work independently.

  • Their boss is directly addresses the task at hand.

  • Their peers are direct and motivated.

  • Their direct reports need very little guidance.

ISTP personality types feel drained at work when...

  • They have to censor themselves to spare others’ feelings.
  • Their boss is easily offended by honest feedback.
  • Their peers are passive-aggressive.
  • Their direct reports need a great deal of affirmation.
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ISTP types like to use their hands to interact with the world. They enjoy seeing how things work and learning through experience.

Common jobs for people with ISTP personality types

  • Engineer
  • Mathematician
  • Pilot
  • Carpenter
  • Mechanic
  • First Responder
  • Graphic Designer

ISTP Relationships (Professional)

ISTPs can maintain a positive, calm attitude even in difficult circumstances. They can help others keep their composure in stressful, high-stakes situations.

ISTP personality types tend to work well with others who...

  • Give them space to work privately

  • Communicate their honest opinions and ideas

  • Can handle necessary, honest feedback

ISTP personality types may hit obstacles in professional relationships when they...

  • Fail to finish the projects that they start

  • Offend someone with direct criticism that they perceived as helpful

  • Feel trapped in a rigid schedule or routine

ISTP Relationships (Romantic)

ISTPs can be patient, positive partners who take their time in understanding situations and finding practical ways to solve problems.

In a romantic relationship, Detective personality types bring strengths like...

  • Staying composed in unexpected, emotional situations

  • Calmly, objectively working through difficult conversations

  • Innate desire to get to find practical solutions for a problem

In romantic relationships, Detective personality types may have trouble...

  • Opening up emotionally with their partner

  • Considering their partners feelings about a decision

  • Feeling comfortable in routine or boring relationships

Myers-Briggs is a personality framework that can help you understand other people and why they behave in certain ways.
Explore Myers-Briggs types here:

ISTP Slide Show

Click through the slides below to learn more about ISTPs:

Related Personality Types

Below are the DISC and Enneagram types that are similar to Myers-Briggs Type ISTP. 

DISC Type Dc, D, or Di

Enneagram Type 5 or 8

You can find your DISC, Enneagram, and Myers-Briggs types by taking Crystal's free personality test.

Learn about yourself with a free personality test.
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