ESTJ in a Nutshell
ESTJs are hardworking traditionalists, eager to take charge in organizing projects and people. Orderly, rule-abiding, and conscientious, ESTJs like to get things done, and tend to go about projects in a systematic, methodical way.
ESTJs are the consummate organizers, and want to bring structure to their surroundings. They value predictability and prefer things to proceed in a logical order. When they see a lack of organization, the ESTJ often takes the initiative to establish processes and guidelines, so that everyone knows what's expected.
What Makes the ESTJ Tick
ESTJs are conventional, factual, and grounded in reality. For the ESTJ, the proof is in the past: what has worked and what has been done before. They value evidence over conjecture, and trust their personal experience. ESTJs look for rules to follow and standards to meet, and often take a leadership role in helping other people meet expectations as well. They concern themselves with maintaining the social order and keeping others in line.
ESTJs often take on a project manager role at home as well as at work, and excel at setting goals, making decisions, and organizing resources to accomplish a task. The ESTJ wants to achieve efficient productivity and typically believes this is best accomplished when people and systems are well organized.
Recognizing an ESTJ
ESTJs command a situation, with the sense that they know how things should go and are ready to take charge to make sure that it happens. They are task-oriented and put work before play. Confident and tough-minded, the ESTJ appears almost always to be in control. ESTJs appreciate structure and often begin to organize as soon as they enter a room. They want to establish the ground rules and make sure everyone does what they’re supposed to.
ESTJs are often involved in institutions: clubs, associations, societies, and churches, where they usually take a leadership role. They typically connect with others through sharing ritual and routine. Social interaction for ESTJs often means following an established tradition to engage with others in a structured way. ESTJs tend to respect and seek out hierarchy. They want to know who’s in charge, and will assign levels of responsibility if none exist. Once a structure is in place, ESTJs typically trust authority figures and expect obedience from people of lower rank.
ESTJ in the Population
ESTJ is the fifth most common type in the population, and the second most common among men. ESTJs make up:
- 9% of the general population
- 11% of men
- 6% of women
Popular hobbies for the ESTJ include building and repairing things around the home, gardening, volunteering, community service, and playing and watching sports.
Famous ESTJs include Colin Powell, Judge Judy Sheindlin, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, George Washington, Sandra Day O’Connor, Mike Wallace, and Vince Lombardi.
Research on ESTJ
Interesting facts about the ESTJ:
- On personality trait measures, likely to score as Contented, Energetic, Prejudiced, Self-Satisfied, and Practical
- More likely than other types to exhibit Type A behavior
- Of all types, scored highest in coping resources (with ENFP)
- Ranked 3rd highest in marital satisfaction among all types
- Among top four types in college GPA
- Least likely of all types to think about suicide in college
- Among most likely to stay in college
- Among types most satisfied with their work
- High-ranking personal values include Health, Financial Security, Achievement, and Prestige
- Overrepresented among bank officers, financial managers, and business owners
What the Experts Say
"The ESTJs solve problems by expertly applying and adapting past experience. They like work where they can achieve immediate, visible, and tangible results."
- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing
"These Supervisors are eager to enforce the rules and procedures, and they can be serious about seeing to it that others toe the mark—or else face the consequences."
- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II
"As a general rule ESTJs will rise to the top of almost any organization."
- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work
ESTJ at Work
At work, the ESTJ excels at organizing—people, projects, and operations. ESTJs like to be in control and often seek out management positions, preferring to be in a role where they can make decisions and enforce policies and procedures.
ESTJs quickly develop a reputation in the workplace as people who can be trusted to deliver, on time and as requested. They are unfailingly reliable and gain satisfaction from bringing a project to completion. Because of their eagerness to take on responsibility, they sometimes become overworked.
The ideal work environment for an ESTJ is highly structured, with a clear set of expectations and an organized authority structure. The ideal job for an ESTJ allows them to use their organizational skills within a set of standardized procedures to efficiently produce a tangible product.
Popular Careers for the ESTJ
Top careers for the ESTJ include:
Least Popular Careers for ESTJs
It is important to note that any personality type can be successful in any occupation. However, some occupations are well suited to the natural talents and preferred work style of the ESTJ, while other occupations demand modes of thinking and behavior that do not come as naturally to the ESTJ. Occupations that require the ESTJ to operate outside their natural preferences may prove stressful or draining, and often sound unappealing to ESTJs who are choosing a career.
The following occupations have been found to be unpopular among ESTJs, based on data gathered from surveys of the general population.
ESTJs as Leaders
In leadership positions, ESTJs make sure that things are done correctly, results are reliably produced, and standards are met. They make expectations clear to their teams, not only what needs to be done but how and when to do it. When managing a project, they are typically methodical and detailed in their plans, and make sure that the end product is delivered exactly as expected.
ESTJs tend to uphold the traditional way of doing things and may not recognize the need for innovation. They tend to trust their past experience, and may not be comfortable leading into an uncertain future. Vision can be a challenge for ESTJ leaders, who are often better at implementing changes than conceiving of them.
ESTJs trust the structures of authority, and typically seek to establish a clear hierarchy. They are comfortable with taking orders from superiors and expect their reports to respect their authority in turn. They are typically decisive and may show little flexibility after they have arrived at a conclusion.
ESTJs on a Team
ESTJs are take-charge types who bring order and industrious energy to a team, focusing on opportunities to implement structure and take decisive action. ESTJs don’t mince words, sharing their objective evaluation of the situation directly and honestly. They are hard workers, productive and oriented to results, and expect others to fall in step with their methodic determination.
ESTJs are very task focused and may become impatient with colleagues who want to discuss things for too long before deciding on action steps, especially if the discussion is overly abstract or theoretical. They will tend to try to take the lead in making a decision and moving on with a concrete plan of action. ESTJs are consummate planners with respect for schedules and deadlines, and are reluctant to stray from the plan. They want to know the established procedure, and may be annoyed by team members who don’t follow the rules.
ESTJ Communication Style
ESTJs are practical, action-oriented communicators. They often assume control and communicate to organize and determine what needs to be done. ESTJs are clear about expectations and procedures; they explain the necessary steps as well as how and when tasks should be completed. They are open to debate and criticism, but want rules to be followed and work to get done. They are focused on tasks and results and have little patience for deviation or nonconformity.
ESTJs as Partners
In relationships, the ESTJ is dependable, responsible, and opinionated. ESTJs appreciate routine and family traditions, and want stability and security in their home life. They tend to have very structured lives and organized homes.
ESTJs can be domineering, and often want to dictate schedules and procedures for the people around them. Decisive and strong-willed, they are sometimes impatient with their partners' feelings. They may need to work on relaxing control and opening the lines of communication.
ESTJs want a relationship they can rely on, and one that helps them live out their ideals of a traditional home life. ESTJs value a partner who appreciates their responsibility and productivity, and one who notices the ESTJ’s tangible contributions to the relationship.
ESTJs as Parents
As parents, ESTJs insist on clear roles and expectations. They emphasize respect for authority and for the rules of the household. ESTJ parents often take control of the family and assign jobs and duties to family members, expecting that these roles be carried out without complaint.
ESTJs are traditionalists with a strong appreciation for holidays, ceremonies, and cultural occasions, and often connect with their children through established rituals. The ESTJ’s ultimate goal in parenting is to raise their children to be hardworking, productive, and observant of the rules and expectations of society.