So much has been written about whether opposites attract or difference is the key but in real life it is all about understanding the differences, accommodating and managing them. This section will help you see where the potential for conflict exists between personality types and help you manage it.
Logical, detached and detailed, ISTJs use their experience and store of knowledge, to plan and will work quietly and steadily behind the scenes towards conclusion. The ISTJ has a strong sense of duty, loyalty and tradition and once they are clear on what’s expected, they will work in a methodical way to complete. Risk averse they prefer the known, and prefer facts to concepts.
People-centric thrill seekers, ESFPs are interested in people and experiences. They dislike rules and routine, justified as they see their reason for existing is to bring harmony, sympathy and support to peoples' lives. An ESFP may ignore rules, regulations and obligations on the grounds that they just had to jump in and help. They are warm and caring and practical in equal measure.
There is no perfect type and in the same way there are no perfect matches. We can all learn to adapt and modify our behaviour if we choose and this section is therefore not designed to suggest particular specific matches but to demonstrate areas of similarity and difference so that a true understanding can happen and thus reduce the risk of misunderstandings.
Being around them
Because of their intense focus ISTJs may be seen as slightly detached, cold and impersonal, possibly even as uncaring. This is not deliberate but it can alienate those trying to get close or get to know them.
ESFPs are life loving, fun loving people-centric thrill seekers, with a real caring side and a desire to offer practical, emotional help. They throw themselves into relationships and will be positive to be around.
Dealing with emotions
Detached and factual ISTJs often find it difficult to deal with emotions as they see this as irrational and when others display emotions they have to translate the emotion into factual language that they can understand.
ESFPs are so expressive and giving, always there in a crisis when people need them yet there is a far more emotional side which means that the ESFP can also easily get hurt.
Openness and sharing feelings
Deep and private ISTJs will tend to keep their feelings to themselves and until they have the measure of people will be unlikely to proactively share their feelings. Too much interaction sucks their energies.
The ESFP may be very animated, caring and talkative but are not so keen to share more private, personal information. There is a more reserved side but only those allowed close would see this side.
Drivers and values
ISTJs like people to stick to agreements and commitments and may not understand that this is human nature, not human deficiency as they themselves take such commitments incredibly seriously.
The ESFP is driven by a desire to help and to please. In a crisis, the ESFP will be there, taking charge, offering support, revelling in their ability to help, loving the drama with their energies and infectious enthusiasm.
Building stronger relationships
Learn what ISTJs are like in a relationship. Understanding the differences between two types is a really great starting point for getting along. For practical guidance on building strong relationships take our practical tutorial.
Get along better with an ESFP. Understanding the differences between two types is a really great starting point for getting along. For practical guidance on building strong relationships take our practical tutorial.
Some people seek harmony, some see conflict as simply robust discussions, some people are emotional, some more factual. So there is no right or wrong about this and what we are trying to do is help two different people each understand how the other might deal with conflict and what it will mean for the relationship.
Initial response to conflict situations
ISTJs prefer to keep themselves to themselves and so in conflict situations they will struggle with overt conflict, ie with someone who wants to engage verbally. They are fine with more formal conflict.
The more sensitive side means that the ESFP will take criticism very personally and to heart, and they do not like conflict, seeing their job as to bring peace and harmony.
Issues they'll fight on
ISTJs have a strong sense of right and wrong and this tends to be around what has been agreed. They believe if you have said you’ll do something then it is akin to a contract and you should fulfil that.
The ESFP will not allow conflict to occur and they will use their incredible likeability and charm to make sure that conflict is nipped in the bud early so that harmony is restored and people are happy.
Conflict style / communication
Formal processes such as writing letters of complaint or going through the proper channels plays to ISTJ strengths. They are measured and formal and so will be very factual and non-emotional.
ESFPs will be excellent at diffusing tension in difficult situations as they find confrontation uncomfortable and their need for immediacy mean they just have to jump in and sort it all out right now.
How they feel after
It is all about right and wrong. ISTJs do not like conflict if it involves emotion, as they prefer to see things far more factually and in a binary way. For them it will be about did it play out fairly and as agreed?
For the ESFP there is a difference between conflict between themselves and other people, they take as personal criticism, and conflict BETWEEN other people which they love to resolve.
Dealing with conflict
Some types dislike and avoid conflict, whereas others use it to solve problems and get things done. Understand how an ISTJ deals with conflict in our practical tutorial.
We all bring something different to the team and we all agree that difference and balance are good things. However when someone is different from us we might not understand them so well so in this section we allow you to compare the differences at work, how these might manifest themselves and how best to manage them.
Contribution to the team
ISTJs bring a strong sense of planning, agreeing objectives and working steadily towards closure. They have a strong eye for detail and can therefore protect the team from going off in a wrong direction.
The ESFP will look to have an immediate and positive impact on the team and as such will be a good catalyst for action, and cutting through anything woolly and ensuring people are taken care of.
ISTJs will be great at ensuring everyone is clear on what is expected, everyone knows what the plan is and their part in it and ensuring that the plan is enacted, so more task- than people-focused.
ESFPs are excellent glue, who will make sure that harmony rules. They will immediately jump in and create harmony. However they prefer the positive and may not be good with tough calls or bad news.
Best managed by clear tasks, ISTJs need plenty of time to fully understand what is expected then let them get on, working with consistent steady energy towards completion, not micro managed.
Managing an ESFP will be about understanding that they have such a good heart and add most value when they are unconstrained and allowed to be at the beating heart of the organisation.
Attention to detail / focus
ISTJs have and incredible eye for detail, focus and a desire to drive for closure. They will want to slowly assimilate information and be sure of their facts before moving forward and this will be as per the plan.
An ESFP may slide out of rules and regulations on the grounds that, 'I just had to do something to help.' They have an intense need to jump in and offer practical help and need the space to be allowed to do this.
ISTJs are more factual than creative and their value is exactly that: ensuring that was has been agreed is delivered exactly as agreed and translating everything into a plan that is clear and can be delivered.
The ESFP may creative but it will be in a practical, people-centric way, rather than as a reflector and the ones who comes up with novel ideas, although they will be such great supporters of those types.
Getting the best and motivating
Find out how to get the best out of an ISTJ and what motivates them in our practical tutorial. Are they more motivated by the task at hand, or by the people around them?
Get the best out an ESFP and learn the way to motivate them. Are they more motivated by people, or by the task at hand? Find out more in our practical tutorial.