ISTPs are observant artisans with an understanding of mechanics and an interest in troubleshooting. They approach their environments with a flexible logic, looking for practical solutions to the problems at hand. They are independent and adaptable, and typically interact with the world around them in a self-directed, spontaneous manner.

ISTPs are attentive to details and responsive to the demands of the world around them. Because of their astute sense of their environment, they are good at moving quickly and responding to emergencies. ISTPs are reserved, but not withdrawn: the ISTP enjoys taking action, and approaches the world with a keen appreciation for the physical and sensory experiences it has to offer.

ISTP in the Population

The ISTP personality type is much more common among men than women. Among men, it is the third most common type in the population. Among women, it is the fourth rarest. ISTPs make up:

  • 5% of the general population
  • 9% of men
  • 2% of women

Famous ISTPs

Famous ISTPs include Lance Armstrong, Bruce Lee, Miles Davis, Tiger Woods, Chuck Yaeger, Katherine Hepburn, Clint Eastwood, and Amelia Earhart.

Motivating the ISTP

ISTPs are curious about the mechanics of the world around them and typically have a unique ability to manipulate the tools in their environments. They tend to study how things work and often achieve mastery in the use and operation of machines, instruments, and equipment. They seek understanding, but in a practical sense: they like to be able to put their technical knowledge to immediate use and are quickly bored by theory.

ISTPs tend to be detached and prefer the logic of mechanical things to the complexity of human emotions. Independent and reserved, ISTPs treasure their personal space, and want to be free to be spontaneous and follow their own lead. ISTPs are selective about their relationships, and appreciate others who allow them plenty of freedom to do their own thing.

Recognizing the ISTP

ISTPs are typically reserved and even aloof. Tolerant and nonjudgmental, the ISTP calmly takes in the details and facts of their surroundings, noticing sensory data and observing how things work. They often tune into what needs to be done, taking care of the immediate needs of the moment in a modest, inconspicuous way. They tend to prefer action to conversation, and are often private about their personal lives. ISTPs are unlikely to “open up” to new people in a conventional way, but may connect with others by sharing an activity or working together to solve a practical problem.

ISTPs are good with their hands and often mechanical. They are typically attracted to hands-on hobbies like woodworking or crafts, and may be found tinkering with bicycles, computers, cars, or household appliances. They often have an intuitive understanding of machines and a remarkable ability to fix things. ISTPs have an appreciation for risk and action, and often enjoy thrilling leisure activities like extreme sports, motorcycling, or weaponry.

For more information: The Art of SpeedReading People

ISTP at Work

At work, the ISTP is motivated by a desire to achieve and utilize technical expertise. ISTPs enjoy mastering and manipulating the tools of their trade, whatever they may be: the traditional hammers and saws, or the more modern tools of business or technology.

ISTPs prefer tasks with a tangible result, and typically feel most satisfied when they have built something concrete. They enjoy troubleshooting and often look for occupations that allow them to apply their skills to solve practical problems.

Many ISTPs enjoy occupations that involve physical activity, often with an aspect of risk or danger, and dislike being stuck at a desk. They are most often energized by action, and want to jump in to get things done rather than spend much time planning or theorizing.

ISTPs value efficiency and logic, and want flexibility in their work. They prefer a job where they can be practical and action-oriented without being overly burdened by rules, procedure, or bureaucracy.

ISTP on a Team

ISTPs are practical, task-oriented team members who are usually more focused on the problem at hand than the people involved. They tend to look for ways to contribute with immediate action, and are talented, straightforward troubleshooters. ISTPs rarely demand attention from the team, preferring instead to observe and jump in where they see an opportunity to get something done.

ISTPs bring an efficient energy to a team and usually take it upon themselves to take practical action where they see the need. Their rational analysis often cuts straight to the heart of a matter and helps others see how to move forward. However, they don’t tend to have much patience for abstract discussion, and may neglect the niceties of working with others. In fact, many ISTPs prefer to just do what needs to be done, rather than having to spend time informing or including others.

For more information: What's Your Type of Career?

ISTP as Leaders

In leadership positions, ISTPs tend to be flexible and hands-off, and expect their reports to be independent as well. They are practical and concrete in their approach, and will prefer to lead teams on projects where tangible results are seen quickly. Good in a crisis, ISTPs are energized by situations that must be acted on immediately, and will jump right in to get the job done.

ISTPs have a strong action orientation, and their understanding of tasks is often more kinetic than verbal. They often find it much easier to simply do something themselves than to explain it to someone else, which can create a challenge for ISTP leaders attempting to delegate. ISTPs often find it more natural to lead by example rather than explanation, and typically do best heading up teams of experienced, self-sufficient workers.