ISTP Leadership

istp leadership

ISTPs are quiet and observant leaders who seek to get things done in the most effective way possible with the least amount of effort. They are approachable, flexible and will almost always be open to new ideas and suggestions from others.

They are also extremely resourceful; having a keen understanding of realities and knowing how to use them to achieve maximum results.

ISTP Leadership: Leading Self

ISTPs live in the moment and are usually only concerned with the here and now. They do not seek to impose their values or their beliefs on any situation. Rather, they accept reality as it is and adapt to it.

They also do not like to be tied down by commitments to people or tasks, and will resist any effort by anyone to tie them down; this may be true even when the commitments are necessary.

In the same vein, they may find it hard to forgo present pleasure to fulfil long-term personal goals. The idea of sacrificing todayโ€™s happiness for a future benefit is a concept that seems foreign to most ISTPs. To succeed, ISTPs instead need only to find something they love to put their hands to work on; they will perform their best even without a goal in mind.

ISTP Leadership: Setting the Vision

ISTPs are flexible and adaptable when setting an organisational direction. While they can decide on how to move forward based on their keen observation of current circumstances, they will constantly change their direction when they see that circumstances have changed.

However, they are not comfortable with setting long-term goals or casting big visions for the team. This means that sometimes they may end up fire-fighting symptoms instead of solving causes of problems. Also, their constantly changing direction may frustrate those under them who desire some certainty or stability.

ISTP Leadership: Connecting with Others

ISTPs leaders take a democratic, informal and casual style of leadership. They are open to new suggestions and ideas and therefore are very approachable leaders.

Hence, they usually create an open office atmosphere where thoughts, ideas and opinions are freely shared.ย 

However, ISTP leaders may fail to notice the feelings and needs of others in the course of their work. They may notice, but also choose to ignore these as they feel these emotions, when discussed, may complicate the process of work.

Being introverted and task-focused, they may also see no need to build personal relationships in the office. Co-workers and staff may find ISTP leaders to be cold and distant as a result.

ISTP Leadership: Accomplishing your Goals

ISTPs are very action-oriented and prefer doing to talking. They do not like long meetings and as leaders, they rather just get down to the task immediately than discuss the best way forward. While performing the tasks, they are flexible to change plans according to what they see and observe.

However, ISTP leaders often find it hard to manage the resources given to them. Given a choice, they prefer just to do it themselves and expect the team to decide themselves on how they want to participate in the accomplishing of the task. This, of course, makes it very confusing for the team regarding roles and responsibilities.

ISTP Leadership: Developing your Leadership

Here are some tips for development:


Others may not understand the information the way you do or do not pick up skills at the rate you expect them to. Be more patient with these people and try understanding how they process their learning, and learning to speak their language. Refrain from critical words that may hurt or offend; trying using positive words of encouragement instead.


While you are more comfortable with a flexible deadline for tasks and projects, some people need certainty to schedule and prioritise their tasks well. By following through on deadlines which you have set earlier, you facilitate this scheduling and prioritising for others and ultimately you boost your credibility as a leader by keeping to your words.


Take a step back on look at the bigger picture. Current problems are often symptoms of more fundamental issues that have to be addressed. When you observe a crisis, consider the processes, a structure in the organisation can be adjusted such that a similar crisis will not happen again.

Look the trends and patterns in the industry; are there opportunities that you can take advantage of if you position your organisation well today?

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