The Inspector

ISTJ

Overview

The Inspector personality type is thought to be the most abundant, making up around 13% of the population. Their defining characteristics of integrity, practical logic, and tireless dedication to duty make Inspectors a vital core to many families, as well as organizations that uphold traditions, rules, and standards, such as law offices, regulatory bodies, and the military. People with the Inspector personality type enjoy taking responsibility for their actions, and take pride in the work they do – when working towards a goal, Inspectors hold back none of their time and energy completing each relevant task with accuracy and patience.

Inspectors don’t make many assumptions, preferring instead to analyze their surroundings, check their facts and arrive at practical courses of action. Inspector personalities are no-nonsense, and when they’ve made a decision, they will relay the facts necessary to achieve their goal, expecting others to grasp the situation immediately and take action. Inspectors have little tolerance for indecisiveness, but lose patience even more quickly if their chosen course is challenged with impractical theories, especially if they ignore key details – if challenges become time-consuming debates, Inspectors can become noticeably angry as deadlines tick nearer.

ISTJ: The Inspector
Energy:

Introvert

Decisions:

Sensing

Attention:

Thinking

Lifestyle:

Judging

Strengths Weaknesses Strengths Weaknesses Strengths Weaknesses Strengths Weaknesses
Introspective Over- Analyzes Detail- Oriented Over- Analyzes Clear goals and objectives Non-flexible Decisive Non-flexible
Informed Decisions Hesitates to make decisions Linear Hesitant to make decisions Logical Analysis Skeptical Self-starters Doesn’t take advice
Wants to understand Doesn’t work well with others Organized Stubborn Objectivity Thinks too much on winning trades Takes action quickly Slow to learn new things/ concepts
Thorough Structured Research Reluctant to admit failure or learn from error Trades the plan

Trading Strengths

  • Honest and Direct – Integrity is the heart of the Inspector personality type. Emotional manipulation, mind games, and reassuring lies all run counter to Inspectors’ preference for managing the reality of the situations they encounter with plain and simple honesty.  This is a tremendous strength in trading.  Inspectors are some of the people most able to trade the market in front of them, as it is, rather than overlay their wants and desires onto the market action.
  • Strong-willed and Dutiful – Inspectors embody that integrity in their actions too, working hard and staying focused on their goals. Patient and determined, people with the Inspector personality type meet their obligations, period.  This trait holds them in good stead when faced with the task of building a trading plan.  While building a trading plan is time-consuming, Inspectors understand that it is a necessary hurdle to overcome in order to trade responsibly and successfully.
  • Very Responsible – Inspectors’ word is a promise, and a promise means everything. Inspectors would rather run themselves into the ground with extra days and lost sleep than fail to deliver the results they said they would. Loyalty is a strong sentiment for Inspector personalities, and they fulfill their duties to the people and organizations they’ve committed themselves to.  Inspectors treat trading outside capital, even capital of immediate family, as a solemn undertaking.  If anything, Inspectors will reduce their risk exposure in these accounts, erring on the side of not losing capital rather than focusing on returns.  
  • Calm and Practical – None of their promises would mean much if Inspectors lost their tempers and broke down at every sign of hardship – they keep their feet on the ground and make clear rational decisions. People’s preferences are a factor to consider in this process, and Inspectors work to make the best use of individual qualities, but these decisions are made with effectiveness in mind more so than empathy. The same applies to criticisms, of others and themselves.  In trading, when coaching or mentoring a trader, Inspectors respond best to a clear, concise, logical post-mortem of what went wrong (or right) in a trade and clear steps to take to avoid the same situation in the future.
  • Create and Enforce Order – The primary goal of any Inspector is to be effective in what they’ve chosen to do, and they believe that this is accomplished best when everyone involved knows exactly what is going on and why. Unclear guidelines and people who break established rules undermine this effort and are rarely tolerated by Inspectors. Structure and rules foster dependability; chaos creates unforeseen setbacks and missed deadlines.  Because of this, in trading, Inspectors tend to be very formulaic in their trading styles, preferring to follow a well-defined plan and often leaving no room for emotional inputs or gut-feeling interpretation.  This holds them in good stead during trending markets but can leave them discombobulated during sideways markets or intermittent periods of irrationality in the markets.
  • Jacks-of-all-trades – Much like Analyst personality types, Inspectors are proud repositories of knowledge, though the emphasis is more on facts and statistics than concepts and underlying principles. This allows Inspectors to apply themselves to a variety of situations, picking up and applying new data and grasping the details of challenging situations as a matter of course.  In trading, this trait allows Inspectors to trade multiple instruments easily and branch out into multiple markets.

Trading Weaknesses

  • Stubborn – The facts are the facts, and Inspectors tend to resist any new idea that isn’t supported by them. This factual decision-making process also makes it difficult for people with the Inspector personality type to accept that they were wrong about something – but anyone can miss a detail, even them.  This stubbornness makes it difficult for Inspectors to trade during periods of market irrationality.  Also, this fact-based trading style has a tendency to lead to information seeking for bias confirmation.  During these periods of market irrationality, Inspectors run the risk of trying to stay in losing trades to prove to themselves (and other people) that they were “right,” rather than cutting their losses short and concentrating on profitability.  Finally, Inspectors are prone to examining the fundamentals of a stock, which is good for a long-term investor but can spell the kiss of death for a short-term trader. 
  • Insensitive – While not intentionally harsh, Inspectors often hurt more sensitive types’ feelings with the simple mantra that honesty is the best policy. Inspector personalities may take emotions into consideration, but really only so far as to determine the most effective way to say what needs to be said.  In trading, this insensitivity strangely has the effect of potentially blinding Inspectors to changing market conditions and often showcases itself as inflexibility in trading plan or style.  This insensitivity couples with stubbornness to form a potentially devastating spiral where market conditions begin to change, the Inspector trader refuses to see the change and doubles down on losing trades, causing oversized losses until capitulation.  In the most extreme cases, Inspector traders have blown up their accounts wanting to prove themselves “right” to the market.
  • Always by the Book – Inspectors believe that things work best with clearly defined rules, but this makes them reluctant to bend those rules or try new things, even when the downside is minimal. Truly unstructured environments leave Inspectors all but paralyzed.  In trading, Inspectors are excellent at following their trading plans and can learn to trade in volatile market conditions, provided they invest the time to think about possible contingencies in their trading and then script their contingencies into branch plans within their trading plan.  If Inspectors have branch plans to follow for these periods, they will follow them.  However, if they don’t Inspectors often aren’t equipped to adjust positions or hedge an entire portfolio on the fly.
  • Judgmental – Opinions are opinions and facts are facts, and Inspectors are unlikely to respect people who disagree with those facts, or especially those who remain willfully ignorant of them.  This judgment often leads the Inspector to the land of “should” in irrational markets, as in “the market should be doing X.  Why isn’t it?  I know I’m right.”  Inspector traders have to keep in mind that the market is occasionally going to do something that logic says it should not.  The best way to combat this is for the Inspector to plan for it and have set parameters in the trading plan to demand that trading cease if certain indicators point to the market behaving irrationally, such as volatility exceeding an established threshold.
  • Often Unreasonably Blame Themselves – All this can combine to make Inspectors believe they are the only ones who can see projects through reliably. As they load themselves with extra work and responsibilities, turning away good intentions and helpful ideas, Inspectors sooner or later hit a tipping point where they simply can’t deliver. Since they’ve heaped the responsibility on themselves, Inspectors then believe the responsibility for failure is theirs alone to bear.  In trading, this self-imposed isolation and self-blame often contribute to the Inspector not reaching out for help or advice.  Coaching and mentoring the Inspector can be difficult in that the best results are achieved in helping the Inspector craft branch plans to execute during periods of distress, rather than focused coaching during and immediately after market turmoil.

Conclusion

Inspectors are by-the-book traders and are very good at not allowing emotions to interfere with trading.  Inspectors are best coached prior to market volatility, where the coach’s experience can be used to create contingency and branch plans for when volatility occurs.  The second best time to coach the Logistician trader is after the dust has settled during a market event and shortfalls in the trading plan can be identified and contingency plans created to address similar issues in the future.  Unfortunately, Inspectors do not respond well to coaching directly during stressful trading environments and find it difficult to rebalance a portfolio or outright hedge positions during changing market conditions, unless such action is already a part of their trading plan and the execution criteria are met.

In trending markets, up or down, Inspectors are able to follow complex plans and extract profits from the market.  However, unless they’ve traded and learned from a period of market volatility in the past, Inspectors should avoid trading volatile markets.  When market activity deviates from what logically “should” happen, Inspectors have a tendency to attempt to justify their positions based on fundamental analysis instead of simply cutting losses short and moving on.  Because of their analytical nature, Inspectors have a need to be right about a trade, losing focus that it is the profitability of the entire portfolio that is important.  

To avoid the portfolio death spiral brought on by stubbornness and insensitivity, Inspectors should have predefined criteria to liquidate positions and go to cash in periods where markets have historically had a tendency to act irrationally.  For example, an Inspector trader may make a rule that no new positions are entered if the Volatility Index spikes above 25 and protective stops are moved to within one percent of current levels.  This will force a re-evaluation of market conditions, protect capital, and keep the trader from following a plan that may not be valid in the short term.

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