ISTP vs. ENFJ

Compatibility

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.

The ISTP moves seamlessly from quiet bystander to being at the heart of solving problems then back again. They get an incredible buzz from difficult situations using their incredible store of knowledge, grasp of facts and practical nature to jump in and fix things but when it’s over, will get bored and withdraw once again to the sidelines, waiting for the next problem to arise.

The ENFJ is the harmonious people champion, warm, caring and extremely organised. The ENFJ will be the one people turn to for help. They are authentic, insightful and great at tuning in to how others are feeling and making people feel truly special. They are found at the emotional heart of a group, selfless, acting as the glue, an unusual combination of bossy and caring.

Relationships

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

ISTPs tend to be either full on or full off. They can be passive bystanders until something grabs their interest or a practical problem needs fixing and then they take over, fix it, and withdraw loving the buzz.

The ENFJ is empathetic and insightful, seeing and making connections between people. Action-oriented, and people-centred they make sure that everything is planned, scheduled, organised and people are happy.

Dealing with emotions

Although friendly the ISTP is more practical and factual and so may not understand emotions. They tend to break things down to constituent parts and do not like anything they see as irrational.

ENFJs are emotional but tend to focus on other people, tuning in and bringing incredible empathy and organisational ability to bear. This means they can get ‘emotioned out’ themselves as they give so much.

Openness and sharing feelings

The ISTP is quite closed to emotional issues. It does not make them uncaring but sharing feelings or intuiting how others are feeling doesn’t really compute with their scientific nature.

Whilst the ENFJ will encourage trust and openness they may not be so open about how they are feeling, indeed they may not really think about that so focused are they on caring for, and organising others.

Drivers and values

At their heart ISTPs are thrill seekers and will love to be where the action is. However once they have jumped in and experienced they will tend to go back to being passive and quiet.

ENFJs tune into others. They have thin psychological boundaries, and are at risk of being hurt or by those who are less sensitive, often taking on more of the burdens of others than they can bear.

Conflict

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

ISTPs love difficult situations and they will see conflict as something, like everything else, to be fixed then move on. They do not seek conflict but are impervious to their environment so it goes with the territory.

The twin attributes of insightful caring and organisational ability will mean the ENFJ will see all the interconnections between people, pick up on the cues and work tirelessly to help solve people issues.

Issues they'll fight on

Intensely practical the ISTP will only want to get the problem solved or the issue addressed, practically and as quickly as possible. Personal feelings matter only insofar as they relate to what needs to be done.

The ENFJ is an enthusiastic champion of people who wants to make sure the needs of the people are and taken care of. Excellent networkers who tune into people and popular among their colleagues.

Conflict style / communication

The ISTP tends to be economic with words and a little terse in their communications. This is not rudeness just a desire to get everything resolved and so they will have no problem getting to the point.

Articulate and confident the ENFJ will be persuasive and tenacious; the one voted the leader or committee chairperson. Everyone knows they can depend on the ENFJ who will fight the cause of the people.

How they feel after

As ISTP’s are factual and living for the moment, any conflict will just be a small part of getting the problem fixed (which energises them) and then if it becomes chitchat their energies will deplete. They need action.

The ENFJ may bite off more that they can chew, as their first priority is to say ‘yes’ and take the pain away for others. During such times they may feel weighed down, overwhelmed and underappreciated.

At Work

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

The ISTP will bring their vast store of knowledge and experience to bear on the team, showing great determination but their low boredom threshold means once they have sorted the problem they withdraw.

ENFJs will bring structure and impetus whilst at the same making sure the needs of all the people are taken care of. Often at the flipchart they capture ideas giving everyone the chance to contribute.

Leading

ISTPs are great in a crisis as they love the whole buzz and action of problems and difficulties. They are less good when the going is not tough and not so good at the more sensitive side of leading people.

The ENFJ will assume the leadership role simply because they want to drive for closure and ensure that people are happy. They need to satiate their need for action and their passion for people.

Being managed

ISTPs are extremely independent and will like the freedom to work in short bursts of energy on difficult action oriented practical problems that hold their interest. Routine and steady detail will bore them and they need their space.

Naturally service-driven the ENFJ really does care and will want to apply this energy to tangible outputs, preferably that will help people. They need clarity, real meaning, a worthwhile output and closure.

Attention to detail / focus

Because of their full on or full off nature, ISTPs will either be right at the heart of the detail, surprising others with their vast store of knowledge and data, or if it is boring they will go back to their space.

The ENFJ loves a plan, a clear picture of where they are going and they will work diligently towards the goal. Indeed the ENFJ will feel less comfortable with too many options open, as they need closure.

Creativity

ISTPs are essentially practical, preferring the concrete and factual to anything they perceive as woolly or impractical. But when they focus on a problem they can be forensic, coming up with practical solutions.

ENFJs focus on the organisational and people aspects and so are not primarily creative preferring to work on making sure that what has been agreed is properly planned and that people are happy.

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