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  1. #1
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    Default ISTJ's - what am I missing?

    Dear ISTJ's, here's a little story:

    Day 1:
    ISTJ (not my boss, but more of an "older mentor"): You messed this (minor) thing up, you messed that (minor) thing up, and you didn't do this (minor) right.

    INTP: Hmmm. I knew that item A was not complete, because I was pulled in another direction by the higher ups. I was specifically told to set it aside and let it go until another day. Basically, there were bigger fish to fry than that minor thing. Regarding item B and item C, I genuinely overlooked them with everything going on. I'll knock those items off my list this morning. They aren't huge deals, you know?! They're pretty minor in nature and don't really affect the overall operation of things, but I understand your concern and I'll make sure not to overlook them anymore. Thanks for bringing them to my attention.

    Day 2:
    More or less a repeat of day 1.

    Day 3:
    Repeat.

    Day 4:
    ISTJ: Hey, you only had 1 item wrong today. You're making progress, but you need to work on eliminating those mistakes.

    INTP (a little frustrated that this is becoming a daily routine for him, as I've already acknowledged the problem and vowed to improve): Well, since I'm new at this, it stands to reason that my mistakes will go down with time. That's pretty much common sense, right? And I'm not a dummy, so I'm sure you'll see, in time, that I'm pretty competent once I get the hang of something. Believe me, I won't settle for anything less than competence. Be patient with me, I'll get there! I have no doubts that I'll get there.

    Day 5:
    INTP: I'm starting to get the hang of this. Day by day, I'm getting better and more comfortable.
    ISTJ: Well, just in this short period of time, you have made the following mistakes (begins to name all of the instances that have already been discussed on Days 1 through 4).
    INTP: (proceeds to rip ISTJ a new one)
    ISTJ: (overheard him saying to a 3rd party: "He can get really testy.")

    What kind of response did he expect from me? I mean, really, how many times are we going to go over the same (fairly menial things)? In a place where productivity and time management are heralded, he is wasting both of our time each day going over the same (fairly menial) stuff. After I clearly explain to him that I'm aware of it and I'm basically "working out the kinks" (does such a thing even compute for the average ISTJ?) and that I am, without doubt, getting better with time (which is about as "common sense" as it gets - that would be the case with any human being), he continues to point out negatives and small ones at that. One of these things was the fact that I lost a pen (the cheap ones that come 20 in a box). I told him that I was going to buy him a couple of boxes of those exact pens so that he'd have enough to last the rest of his career and never bother me about it again (including future lost pens, in case it does happen).

    It's like if you worked an honest 8 hours next to someone and were very productive, and at the end of each day all they did was focus on the 15 minutes that weren't "perfect". They completely ignore the other 7 hours and 45 minutes that ran smoothly and efficiently.

    Seriously, what kind of reaction could he possibly have expected from me? I want to be this guy's friend (we could be dynamic as partners, there's no doubt about it), but he's got to get off my back about the pens that cost 3 cents and the fact that he had to fill out 2 pieces of paper instead of 1 (that one time 4 days ago). I mean, I've got bigger stuff to worry about than these ticky-tack fouls that he keeps calling on me.

    How do I smooth this over and turn this into a smooth, cooperative working relationship where real stuff gets done and we don't focus on pens? I'll pay for the pens out of my pocket. I really don't care about them. Let's work together on what matters and watch the results - they could be really good!

  2. #2
    Carerra Lu IZthe411's Avatar
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    It's a long term thing.

    I can tell you from experience of being on both sides of dealing with an ISTJ, most dont give out praise 'just because'. Especially at work, you are doing what you were hired to do, so you aren't doing anything out of the ordinary. The Si and Te combination can cause us to focus on things that fall out of line, so you are likely to hear those before the good, and often, even months down the line.

    I just experienced this with my ESTJ boss and his ISTJ boss. They focused on a few drawbacks I had the beginnig of the year, and even though I finished strong, they chose to focus on what happened earlier in the year. It's not a good feeling, so I'm trying to not be that way with those I manage.



    Find out what he really likes and respect, and do those well. Know your facts, and be confident when you talk to him. You will have to impress him. This will take time and experience. When he critiques you on something, take note, and try not to repreat that offense. If you show yourself as someone he can rely on, he's likely to discount the little stuff he harped on earlier.

  3. #3
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IZthe411 View Post
    It's a long term thing.

    I can tell you from experience of being on both sides of dealing with an ISTJ, most dont give out praise 'just because'. Especially at work, you are doing what you were hired to do, so you aren't doing anything out of the ordinary. The Si and Te combination can cause us to focus on things that fall out of line, so you are likely to hear those before the good, and often, even months down the line.

    I just experienced this with my ESTJ boss and his ISTJ boss. They focused on a few drawbacks I had the beginnig of the year, and even though I finished strong, they chose to focus on what happened earlier in the year. It's not a good feeling, so I'm trying to not be that way with those I manage........
    Good advice. Thanks.

    It was interesting that you said that ISTJ's probably won't give praise "just because". I was looking at it like, "I don't even need his praise at all, I just want him to be neutral" - basically, if you don't have anything good to say, don't bother saying it. I totally get the "this is what you were hired to do, so you aren't doing anything out of the ordinary" - I can get on board with that mentality (I think most T's probably can) and I'll keep that in mind when interacting with him. It's just the constant "negativity" that gets to me. Over-critical about really small stuff. Stuff that, at the end of the day, didn't really affect the overall outcome. You explained it as Si + Te, which makes sense, but it still irritates me.

    I apologized to him, telling him that I lost my temper because I took what he said as criticism and that criticism seems to be the only thing I get from him. He seemed somewhat uncomfortable with the apology, like he didn't want to talk about it. He seemed either sad, shocked, or just at a loss for words. Hopefully my genuine attempt to re-establish the fact that I respect him didn't have the opposite affect. Strictly business, those ISTJ's!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No, I actually have a really good ISTJ friend who really does know how to have fun.

  4. #4
    Carerra Lu IZthe411's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTPness View Post
    Good advice. Thanks.

    It was interesting that you said that ISTJ's probably won't give praise "just because". I was looking at it like, "I don't even need his praise at all, I just want him to be neutral" - basically, if you don't have anything good to say, don't bother saying it. I totally get the "this is what you were hired to do, so you aren't doing anything out of the ordinary" - I can get on board with that mentality (I think most T's probably can) and I'll keep that in mind when interacting with him. It's just the constant "negativity" that gets to me. Over-critical about really small stuff. Stuff that, at the end of the day, didn't really affect the overall outcome. You explained it as Si + Te, which makes sense, but it still irritates me.

    I apologized to him, telling him that I lost my temper because I took what he said as criticism and that criticism seems to be the only thing I get from him. He seemed somewhat uncomfortable with the apology, like he didn't want to talk about it. He seemed either sad, shocked, or just at a loss for words. Hopefully my genuine attempt to re-establish the fact that I respect him didn't have the opposite affect. Strictly business, those ISTJ's!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No, I actually have a really good ISTJ friend who really does know how to have fun.

    I don't think he thinks of it as negativity. He probably feels like he's just helping out. I can tell the way he acted when you yelled and even apologized, he's probably not into MBTI or recognizes how his actions affects those who look up to him. How old is he?

    What I bolded is a good point. I'm one of those ISTJs. My boss, however, is a textbook weirdo. Nobody really likes the guy; my ENFJ buddy really despises him. I'll give him about mid 40's. They guy isn';t funny; sometimes he's borderline ignorant with his jokes. So don't write us all off on account of this noodle.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Habba's Avatar
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    I'm known to have a habbit of pointing out the flaws out first. For some reason, I set the baseline to be at "utter perfection", and then point out flaws that make it non-"utter perfection", to show how it can be made a "utter perfection".

    In the process I sometimes forget that people most often see this as a cynicism and criticism, rather than as a helping gesture. That's why I force myself to point out the things that are done well, and only then concentrate on flawed aspects of the matter.

    I think that as long as an ISTJ keeps pointing out these mistakes, (s)he's caring. It's an odd way to show it, but we are odd people.
    "The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine."
    -Nikola Tesla

  6. #6
    Carerra Lu IZthe411's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Habba View Post
    I think that as long as an ISTJ keeps pointing out these mistakes, (s)he's caring. It's an odd way to show it, but we are odd people.
    You are right! If I didn't care about you I wouldn't say anything, good or bad. Pointing out the flaws are my way of helping you see where you can do better.

  7. #7
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    Wow. That almost makes me feel bad. Knowing that he was just trying to help and I jumped down his throat. FWIW, he's in his early 50's.

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