ISFJ Personality types make up between 13% and 14% of the population. They are disproportionately female – 19% of females compared to 8% of males. ISFJs are Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, and Judging. They are often called Protectors and Defenders, though perhaps a better title would be Helper since this personality type finds the most satisfaction when able to help other people. This personality type is Introverted but has great people skills, is approachable, adept at reading emotions, and connects with others people very well. The Sensing preference of this personality type is well expressed in how practical and grounded ISFJs tend to be.
While they have a good imagination, that imagination is very practical. While they like to help, often it is in the most practical way possible. The Feeling preference of ISFJs means they do not like confrontation and seek harmony and cooperation among their teams and peers. When communicating, ISFJs are tactful, kind, and observant. They are also generally very good listeners. Finally ISFJ’s Judging preference is well expressed in their meticulous and efficient work, preference for structure and procedure, and desire for work that is well-defined and organized.
At work ISFJs are diligent, loyal, reliable, trustworthy, and dedicated. They take their responsibilities very seriously, usually go above and beyond exceeding expectations because they personally set very high expectations for themselves. The excellent work ethic of the ISFJ can be a detriment as they are generally bad at delegating, may not ask for help, and will overwork themselves. This personality type tends to prefer working behind the scenes, helping their co-workers and sharing the credit. While they rarely seek management roles, they often advance to those positions since they are such committed orkers.
In management roles ISFJs usually work alongside their subordinates to get a job done as they have a strong responsibility to helping others as well as fulfilling their duties. ISFJs really do not like upsetting the balance at work and may let a subordinate’s poor work slide if they think the employee is a good person or is really trying. The opposite personality type of the ISFJ is the ENTP. This personality type makes up just 3% of the population – 4% of men compared to 2% of women. ENTPs are Extroverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, and Perceiving.
They are often accurately called Debaters or Visionaries as this personality type is extremely adept at the art of debate as well as tend to be excellent idea people. ENTPs are smart, quick-witted, and love to learn and improve. They make great leaders and tend to be the big-idea people that can inspire others. ENTPs are able to connect ideas that other people would not. Sometimes their argumentative nature comes across as insensitive, though most ENTPs do not mind if they are viewed that way. I work with a person whose personality resembles the ENTP type; his name is Dustin.
Like ENTPs, Dustin is very knowledgable, honest, confident, and charismatic. He is the person at meetings who comes up with great ideas and solutions to problems. While I prefer to follow procedure, Dustin tends to make up the rules as he goes along. ENTPs do not generally like rules or even doing something the same way more than once. Dustin is not afraid to debate a topic at work just because he finds an argument to be challenging. Most times he does this in jest, however, my preference is to prevent disharmonious situations. Dustin is generally able to see my point of view. I, like most ISFJs, am not very good at creative ideas.
I have learned to work well with Dustin to find solutions to problems because he, like most ENTPs, would much rather generate ideas than implement them. Because personality types tend to have different communication styles and personal needs, difficult situations can arise from time to time. One of those times occurred when | was contracted to work on a landscaping project with another person named Mason who I knew well. We had to work as a team to design and build the project which included a thirty-foot long fence. Mason already had an idea for the design of the fence and was ready to get started.
I, however, needed to have plans drawn in order to understand what needed to be done. Mason wanted me to trust that he knew what to do and would provide me with instruction. During the building process struggled because I did not have sufficient direction and could not truly understand the design concept without seeing it drawn out. Mason and I stayed frustrated with each other throughout much of the project. We did get the fence built and it is still standing today. As an SF kind of personality, I struggle to follow certain concepts without full detail and may let people I know get away with not meeting me halfway in communication.
Mason seems like an NT kind of personality in that he thinks in general ideas that do not need to be fully conceptualized prior to implementation. When deciding to work on project with him in the future I could insist on some level of up-front direction before agreeing to the project rather than let my concerns go ignored. Another difficult situation I found myself in at work involved a coworker named Nina. My coworker and I were tasked with starting a project before all the details were worked out. My plan was to complete as much as we could without having all the details and make progress as more of the project was understood.
We could rely on some of our previous experience with our customer to make some low-level decisions, and hold off on decisions in which we had no previous experience. Nina was worried that would not leave us enough time to complete our project and insisted that we make more of the decision and hope for the best. She thought we could make changes later if our decision was not correct. We tried to compromise, but it ended up that we did not always make the right decision and had to work some really late hours to get the project fixed and completed on time.
I think Nina is an NF type of personality and is fine making gut decisions and is always thinking about the end goal for projects. As an SF, I prefer to rely more on my experience when making decisions and sometimes forget to think about the full outcome of a project. I’m not sure I would change anything about the situation. Perhaps we would have had to work just as long hours if we had held off on some of our decisions. When I find myself in difficult situations trying to communicate with people of a different personality type, there are many strategies that can help me be a more successful communicator.
The first strategy I should employ is to pay more attention to the other person’s communication style and try to consider their personality type. Doing this could help me to avoid miscommunications, irritating another person, or being ignored completely. I would want to determine if the person I am communicating with is a practical, facts and numbers kind of person to determine if they might be a Sensing type or more theoretically minded to determine if they are an iNtuition kind of person.
I would try to tell if that person communicated with their feelings or in a more objective way. The second strategy I can employ is to plan ahead. ISFJs are already great planners. I can put that to use to be prepared to communicate a topic, presentation, or idea so that I can easily adjust my information to meet any personality type’s needs. This would work best if I don’t know who I’ll be communicating with or when I will be addressing a lot of different kinds of people at once.
The third strategy I could us is to identify the personality types that I tend to struggle with the most and practice adjusting my communication style to meet the needs of that type. I think that type would be NTs; my opposite. I should ensure that I don’t leave a conversation with this type of person before we both understand each other. I would want to prepare myself before interacting with an NT type by doing activities that increase my creativity. Making sure I give the NT person plenty of time to think over our conversation would also be a good idea.