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Work Motivation - ISTP and INTP Occupations and Careers Advice

Deidre has a Masters in applied linguistics and translation for her 20 years overseas. She's worked as a certified provider of the MBTI®.

We have the choice of situations that energize us and drain us. Certain things or occupations can build us up or tear us down. Such knowledge, often determined in career or personality tests, can help guide us in team building at work or in managing our own lives. Employee engagement and motivation can be better encouraged by considering individual personality types. Let's look at the ISTP and INTP personalities.

Two similar personalities

by joshdeweese

by joshdeweese

Why Personality Type?

Personality type is a way to understand what keeps us going and what energizes us. We have a natural inborn preference that determines certain kinds of work situations as more comfortable and therefore more enjoyable. Careers and occupations with these work situations are more ideally suited for us and provides some of the how to motivate employees.

Each of the 16 Myers-Briggs® personality types uses mental energy in a unique way. This is an important element behind employee productivity.

What personality type is

Our 4 Mental Functions

There are four mental functions, or processes, according to Jung's typology; two opposite ways of gathering information and two opposite ways of making conclusions. The two ways of gathering of information has to do with how we Perceive, and the two ways for making conclusions has to do with how we Judge.

 4 Mental Functions   



Through detailed facts from experiences  

ways we gather information 


Through global wholes of possible interrelationships 






On objective logical analysis of the information

ways we make conclusions


On the value of the information


We all use each of these four mental functions. A basic way we differ from each other, though, is how we use each of the four. Ever wonder why siblings brought up by the same parents in the same household in the same location can still be so different? You've got it! The way each uses the four mental functions can make huge differences!

The Favorite Mental Function

Each person uses one of the four mental functions as their favorite. This favorite (or dominant) mental function uses the lion's share of a person's psychological energy. This favorite mental function is therefore the most conscious of the four -- the one we are most aware of and can most readily control, or direct.

This is how we can know what energizes us mentally! We very much enjoy using our favorite mental function and tend to acquire a lot of experience and competence with it. We naturally tend to choose to take on tasks, relationships and even careers, that energize us in this way.

ISTP and INTP Energizers

Let's look at what energizes the ISTP and INTP Myers-Briggs personality types. You share the same favorite mental function, Thinking, to make conclusions by objective logical analysis. As introverts you use this in the inner world.

Here are the Thinking activities, environments and resources you ISTPs and INTPs most enjoy and derive benefit from, and therefore are what energize you at work.

Energizing environments and resources

Activities You Enjoy Environments You Enjoy  Resources  

Concrete projects with tangible results

Genuine appreciation of your work contributions 

Avoid confiding in others as long as possible 

Work as long and intensively as desired 

Respect for your special expertise 

Adopt behaviors others expect, temporarily 

Important discussions and decisions 

Your own autonomy and independence 

Time alone to recover and regroup 



Unsolicited confirmation that the situation is indeed stressful

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How the Likes of the ISTP and INTP Differ

In addition to these common features, you ISTPs favor clear structures and responsibilities, stability and security in the workplace, having Sensing as your second favorite mental function. This is reflected, too, in your desire to work actively on concrete projects with tangible results, and also prefer a minimum of conflict and competition.

You INTPs prefer a work setting that greatly values creativity, so may not be as comfortable with clear structures and responsibilities as the ISTP. You INTPs look for broader and more varied workplace experiences, having iNtuition as your second favorite mental function. This is seen too in your desire for work that allows you self-expression by working independently to gather, analyze and interpret information in new ways. You expect a great deal from your work lives.

Sensing vs Intuitive

Typical Resources and Remedies

You ISTPs and INTPs will know you have become a veteran of life's struggles by having learned well to

  • Accept the illogical
  • Be aware of vulnerability
  • Express depth of feeling

Realizing what energizes you, in particular, is a way to grasp what it is that you can do to counteract many of life's energy drainers. You managers may find, when you know an employee's personality type, you can better motivate your staff through engaging them in work activities and environments that energize, rather than drain.

Managing our own activities, environments and resources, or that of our staff, may help avoid low morale and even staff attrition more often than not. I encourage you to give this a think, and a try!

© 2010 Deidre Shelden


Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on November 12, 2015:

That's right Sam! This is about our personality traits and we as people are more than just those traits. Wonderful you found a creative environment to work in to do those kinds of things. Yes, this personality type needs some kind of a plan framework provided since it doesn't readily come from within these types.

Sam Shepards from Europe on November 11, 2015:


Nice article. I'm more or less an INTP. The good thing about this kind of 'classification' is that it starts from traits. But people should never completely focus on the type they are. We are never completely one or the other and we can grow.

I'm active in a creative environment now and it fits me better than the job I was in before. I work with data, logical problems and build things. I indeed dislike structure or hierarchy, but in the end we need atleast a plan if we want to create our dreams.

Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on August 22, 2010:

Wow! You're comment came fast :-) There are a total of eight in this series, so if you haven't noticed your type yet, more is coming!

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