When does an ISTP look like an INTP or INTJ?


The Fine Art of Clarifying Type by Dr. Linda V. Berens


What would make the difference?

Of all the Improviser™ types, ISTPs most look like and most often identify with the Theorist™ temperament, often reporting preferences for INTP or for INTJ on assessments.

Interaction Styles. ISTPs have a Chart-the-Course™ Interaction Style, which goes with a desire to enter a situation with some sort of course of action in mind. It doesn't have to be a detailed plan and ISTPs often seem planful as they analyze a situation in anticipation of what is likely to happen. ISTPs and INTJs share this Interaction Style and so would look alike in that way.

The Chart-the-Course™ style often seems like the Strategic intelligence that is an important aspect of the Theorist™ temperament pattern and ISTPs often relate to the description of the Theorist™ temperament over the Improviser™ temperament. This is especially true when the Improviser™ description focuses too much on freedom and spontaneity.

Temperament. Differentiating Improviser™ versus Theorist™ is key. Improviser™ desire for skillful performance often leads ISTPs to identify with the Theorist™'s core need for competence. In presenting the two temperaments, it helps to contrast the difference between skillful performance as a value and competence as a core need. For the Improviser™ skill often comes from the drive to action and they hate being clumsy or awkward. They get involved in an activity, get caught up in the pure joy of doing, and thus become skilled. Theorists need to feel competent and often want a measure of competence before they even do something. To practice or "do" means failure and that often can strike at the core need.

Roles. ISTPs, INTPs, and INTJs share a desire to act independently and tend to take pragmatic roles with others, seeking autonomy. This makes the differentiation harder to discover.

Language. It helps to listen for the concrete language of the ISTP, which often creates a picture in the listener's mind. Such language is likely to be full of specific examples and stories. INTP and INTJ language tends to reference abstract concepts with a focus on precision. ISTPs often get at the essence of something rather succinctly, whereas, INTPs and INTJ go into more depth.

Interest. ISTPs are more likely to zero in on someone's motives than INTPs or INTJs (unless in the business of understanding people!)

Similar Cognitive Dynamics. ISTPs and INTPs have the same Leading Role process (dominant) of introverted Thinking and are likely to approach situations with an analytical perspective and like to know the principles of how things work. The difference shows up in their Supporting Role processes (auxiliary). An INTP described his preferred work style as exploring problems and sub-problems (Ne), while his ISTP colleague described a tactical trouble shooting approach with a focus on getting the task done (Se).

Also, ISTP's frequently engage their Relief Role process (tertiary) of introverted iNtuiting and enjoy looking at whole systems and patterns and getting a sense of what will happen in the future.


Linda Berens Professional Bio

Linda V. Berens, Ph.D. is a human and organizational development practitioner who has spent over twenty-five years teaching professionals as well as helping individuals and teams recognize their strengths, transcend their weaknesses, and work together better. After founding Interstrength® Associates (formerly known as Temperament Research Institute), a corporate consulting and training organization, she has turned her attention to developing a more complete and integrated look at individual differences through Integral TypeWorks, LLC. Linda is recognized internationally for her theoretical contributions to the field of psychological type and for developing user-friendly training materials for practical application of understanding individual differences.She is the author or co-author of multiple books and training materials.

In Detail-Coach, Organizational Consultant, Educator, Author

I founded Temperament Research Institute or TRI in 1988 to provide a source for solid information about individual differences. In 2005, TRI was renamed to Interstrength Associates and it was the premier source for research, education, applications and training support for the understanding of individual differences and change facilitation using applications of Temperament Theory, Jung's theory of psychological types and the Berens Interaction Styles Model. Interstrength Associates became internationally recognized as a provider of exceptional Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® Qualifying Programs as well as training in advanced applications of the works of Carl Jung, Isabel Myers, and David Keirsey.

As President of Interstrength Associates, I made it my goal to attract training, coaching, and organizational development professionals who are experts in their own fields such as leadership, teams, communication, training, coaching, counseling, and creativity to become faculty for Interstrength Associates and to develop applications of the study of individual differences to those fields.

Licensed in California as a Marriage, Family and Child Therapist (currently inactive status) and an Educational Psychologist I have worked with the theory of personality types since 1975. Over the last 15 years, I conducted extensive qualitative research into the characteristics of the sixteen personality types and the four temperaments. As a result of this research, I integrated the work of Carl Jung, David Keirsey and a theory of living systems into a methodology for helping people understand themselves and others, placing myself and my associates on the leading edge of work in this field. In my most recent work I refined the popular social styles theory to see patterns of interaction styles. This recent addition places me as a leading contributor to the study of individual differences.

I have conducted thousands of training programs in this theory and its applications to counseling, education, career development and organizational development. I qualified (now called Certified) over 2500 people to purchase the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® assessment and am frequently called upon to be the consultant's consultant. I have trained and consulted with professionals in a wide range of companies.

I am the author or co-author of multiple books and training materials, including the groundbreaking, web-based self-discovery workshop-Interstrength® Explorer Series and several books.


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