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  1. #1
    Senior Member asynartetic's Avatar
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    Default What is it with ISTJs...

    ...that they need very clear instructions and seem unable to make decisions on their own? I'm training this new guy at work, who I'm fairly certain is an ISTJ.

    Typical interaction:

    ISTJ walks into my office and asks for advice on what to do about a situation. After pulling up some data on the computer and looking through old emails on the matter, I conclude there is not really one good course of action, but 2 possible decisions, option A and option B, both valid and acceptable courses of action.


    ISTJ: [after a long pause] so go ahead and do option A? I just want to do it right.
    Me: Well, there's no clear cut answer or one right course of action in this particular instance, so you really just need to use your best judgment in these types of scenarios, but feel free to come to me for advice when you're not clear on what to do.

    ISTJ looks at me kind of confused.

    Me: Just go with option A


    It's like too many choices of roughly equal weight overwhelm the poor guy. It occurred to me that it's just my training style that's shit. I tend to delegate and give someone the power to make their own choices and use their best judgment, but sometimes I end up with people who need direction on every little thing. So I can see why my style might be frustrating to someone who expects everything to be clearly outlined and dictated step-by-step. Our ESxJ boss seems to love him though, so I'm sure he'll do fine.

  2. #2
    Senior Member asynartetic's Avatar
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    Sorry if this came across as a post bashing ISTJs. If anything, I'm lamenting my own failure to interact with them in a manner beneficial to them. But they always seem to like coming to me for help and advice. It's weird. Maybe socionics could better explain this dynamic.

  3. #3
    Mastermind Fieldmarshal Sacrophagus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asynartetic View Post
    ...that they need very clear instructions and seem unable to make decisions on their own? I'm training this new guy at work, who I'm fairly certain is an ISTJ.
    I really like it when people I trust their competency make choices of their own without coming back to me for every goddamn thing.

    I'll speak for the ISTJ who works for me. She needs a clearly defined course of action to do her work. She gets frustrated when a client suggests a different possibility and has to consult me or others to get feedback before making a move. She's driven and dedicated and wants to show her dedication by not screwing up even if it means intellectual stagnation.

    I came to terms with that and accepted her the way she is.
    الخَيلُ وَاللَيلُ وَالبَيداءُ تَعرِفُني *** وَالسَيفُ وَالرُمحُ وَالقِرطاسُ وَالقَلَمُ
    Swift steeds, dreary nights, and the desolate wasteland, all know me full well
    As do the sword, the spear, the paper and the pen.

  4. #4
    Senior Member asynartetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacrophagus View Post
    I really like it when people I trust their competency make choices of their own without coming back to me for every goddamn thing.

    I'll speak for the ISTJ who works for me. She needs a clearly defined course of action to do her work. She gets frustrated when a client suggests a different possibility and has to consult me or others to get feedback before making a move. She's driven and dedicated and wants to show her dedication by not screwing up even if it means intellectual stagnation.

    I came to terms with that and accepted her the way she is.
    Sounds a lot like the guy I've been training. I mean, he's new, so I understand him wanting to do the job right, but even on things where I've already laid out various possibilities, with the intent he can apply that knowledge and make decisions himself, it seems like he keeps coming back to me uncertain and wanting me to choose for him.

    On the plus side, he's been here only a couple weeks and has already helped us clean up and better organize stuff like our files. And he can probably be trusted to stay on top of things like keeping stationary properly stocked and replenished. So it's good that they've already made him the unofficial stationary person.

  5. #5
    A Bittersweet Symphony... The Cat's Avatar
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    well god damn. food for thought.
    With all due respect,
    The Cat.

    I am the Cat who walks by himself; and all places are alike to me...
    I let the melody shine, let it cleanse my mind, I feel free now.
    Who knows what goes on in the mind of a cat?


  6. #6
    A Bittersweet Symphony... The Cat's Avatar
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    he'll stop asking you once he gets the lay of the land, then just stay out of his way, its sort of like how a steam engine builds up pressure to function ime, some ask many questions ahead of time, being less concerned with whether or not theyre percieved as intelligent or not, as much as doing things correctly.
    With all due respect,
    The Cat.

    I am the Cat who walks by himself; and all places are alike to me...
    I let the melody shine, let it cleanse my mind, I feel free now.
    Who knows what goes on in the mind of a cat?


  7. #7
    Junior Member frezekiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asynartetic View Post
    ...that they need very clear instructions and seem unable to make decisions on their own? I'm training this new guy at work, who I'm fairly certain is an ISTJ.

    Typical interaction:

    ISTJ walks into my office and asks for advice on what to do about a situation. After pulling up some data on the computer and looking through old emails on the matter, I conclude there is not really one good course of action, but 2 possible decisions, option A and option B, both valid and acceptable courses of action.


    ISTJ: [after a long pause] so go ahead and do option A? I just want to do it right.
    Me: Well, there's no clear cut answer or one right course of action in this particular instance, so you really just need to use your best judgment in these types of scenarios, but feel free to come to me for advice when you're not clear on what to do.

    ISTJ looks at me kind of confused.

    Me: Just go with option A


    It's like too many choices of roughly equal weight overwhelm the poor guy. It occurred to me that it's just my training style that's shit. I tend to delegate and give someone the power to make their own choices and use their best judgment, but sometimes I end up with people who need direction on every little thing. So I can see why my style might be frustrating to someone who expects everything to be clearly outlined and dictated step-by-step. Our ESxJ boss seems to love him though, so I'm sure he'll do fine.
    lol, this is so relatable to me, it seriously isn't funny!

    This is exactly why I HATE training people, but my boss ALWAYS picks me.

  8. #8
    alchemist Legion's Avatar
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    It's generally Ti that is best able to select between two different options like you're describing. So being Te+Fi, it would be more difficult for him to make selections like that.

    Also S types find N confusing a lot of the time and vice versa, particularly if coming from someone with very different function preferences. An S can explain N in a way another S can more easily understand.

    I don't have enough experience to say what would be good in this scenario. I think people with opposite functions can work well in a mentor/mentee relationship, though I don't know how this works in reality. I suspect that giving a conscious explanation of the processes that someone can't do helps to activate that person's unconscious so that they can pull off maneuvers that they wouldn't otherwise be able to do, but again, with a difference in function preferences it could be confusing.

    If the two people have 2 shared conscious functions, and 2 not, e.g. INTP with ISTJ, it's a bit more complicated and is a mix of different approaches. The Ne of INTP would consciously engage ISTJ's Ne, but perhaps be a bit overwhelming, whereas the Ti would activate the ISTJ's unconscious so that they can make A or B selections but only partially comprehend what it is they're doing.

    Situations like you've described, where a person is passing on information to someone of a different type, and thus needs to tailor it accordingly, is an extensive subject in its own right. Go with what your intuition says (I don't just mean N when I say intuition), and keep adjusting your style until something works. It would likely entail being heavier on the S and T than you otherwise would if you're an INFJ, or heavier on the S and F if you're an INTP, so in either case means using the tertiary and inferior more heavily.
    the lone star flies alone

  9. #9
    Senior Member asynartetic's Avatar
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    I’m not implying he’s stupid. He seems quite smart.

  10. #10
    Senior Member asynartetic's Avatar
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    Is it a thing with ISxJs to have this rabbit in the headlights expression a lot of the time? I used to jam with an ISFJ guitarist who always got that look when you said something he didn't expect (which seemed to be all the time). Great guitar player though.

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