Personality: ESTJ-Life’s Natural Administrator
More than other types, the ESTJ is the proverbial jack-of-all-trades. Given to accountability, responsibility, productivity, and results, this type is remarkable at just about anything they do. You can find them in leadership positions in a cross-section of professions, from law and medicine to education and engineering
Outgoing, gregarious, usually quite direct, and very upbeat to be around (Extraversion), ESTJs see the world in terms of hands-on, practical, realistic situations (Sensing). Those perceptions are translated into objective, non-personal, analytical decisions (Thinking) and freely imposed upon anyone within earshot (Judging) — always for someone else’s good, of course.
This combination of preference gives ESTJs a propensity for seeing a situation as it is and moving themselves and others to develop a series of procedures, rituals, or regulations that will not only take care of the situation at hand, but will also provide framework for any future similar situations. It is a special combination of hands-on perception and analytical judgment, focus outward and set in a lifestyle of structure, schedule, and order, that makes ESTJs the administrators of the world. If you want a job done, a regulation established, a system implemented, or an ongoing program evaluated, call on an ESTJ to manage it.
If anything gets them into trouble, it tends to be their EJ attitude toward life, a type given freely to expressed opinions. They can be surprised when others see things differently, and that can lead to some hearty, even abrasive, arguments. From the ESTJ’s perspective, it’s an open-and-shut case. Having packaged the argument so neatly and precisely, how could anyone possibly disagree? Indeed, from an ESTJ’s perspective, most intelligent people would want to get “on board” and take advantage of the ESTJ’s homework.
As a general rule ESTJs will rise to the top of almost any organization. When this isn’t the case, it’s usually because their EJ orientation has alienated others or their argumentative nature has made enemies of someone higher up. If they manage to keep this behavior in check and can show their expertise without accompanying impatience toward those who do not readily see how capable they are, then they are a natural to achieve leadership roles. They often do well academically, which allows them to carry the proper credentials, and they use those credentials in a very authoritative way, demanding respect. If Joe or Jane Smith has earned a Ph.D., and you were to address him or her as Mr. or Ms. Smith, you would be instantly corrected: “That’s Doctor Smith.” (Similarly it’s the ESTJ who will identify himself as “Capt. Joseph E. Smith III, USN, Ret.”) ESTJs command — and demand — respect from others, and they give it to others when appropriate.
[some stuff about female ESTJs that doesn’t really apply to me here]
ESTJ males fit most of the corporate norms. They tend to be white, male, appropriate dressers, trustworthy, loyal, reverent, and to possess most of the other “Boy Scout” traits. To them such norms underscore their belief that “that’s the way life should be,” an attitude they freely impose on others.
Because ESTJs are a take-charge type with very high control needs and because of their severe sense of accountability, they do not cope well when things do not go as planned. They have no tolerance for disorganization, tardiness, sloppiness, or inappropriate behavior (as defined by the ESTJ). All are invitations for a barrage of criticism. ESTJs have a short fuse when anything suggests they are losing control. The ESTJ can become loud, rigid, domineering, and can induce a great deal of stress within anyone nearby. (As a rule, ESTJs are the ulcer-givers, not ulcer-getters.) Not that this is malevolent. Indeed, it is intended to further what seems to be a self-ordained mission to keep the world running and to keep people doing what they should be doing.
Because of this, ESTJs can have real trouble listening to subordinates, or anyone else whom they define as unqualified to render an opinion. This includes children and others outside the chain of command. ESTJs understand how the bureaucracy functions and work it to the max.
The ESTJ’s chain-of-command mentality may produce behavior that on the surface seems inconsistent with the ESTJ’s everyday style. Hard-charging, take-charge, high-ranking ESTJs can appear almost milquetoast at home or in social gatherings. Once the ESTJ decrees that the home is the spouse’s turf (or the party is the host’s turf), that spouse (or host) is in charge. According to the chain of command, the spouse (host) should give orders, and the ESTJ will follow quite obediently. Hours later, back at work, it is once again time to turn the tables and take over. What is important to realize is that neither of these seemingly contradictory behaviors is inconsistent with being an ESTJ.
Their innate compulsivity makes it difficult for ESTJs to relax. It’s been said that they are capable of turning reading into a competitive sport. In later life this can manifest itself in a variety of stress-related health problems and make retirement difficult and intimidating.
As they progress through life — and up the organizational ladder — ESTJs would do well to mellow themselves by exploring areas contrary to their everyday styles and experiences — for example, the soft sciences, such as psychology and sociology, as well as literature, art, and music. All may provide insights and inspiration that can help ESTJs to respect others’ points of view and to appreciate that there is more to life than compulsive deadlines.
From TYPE TALK AT WORK by Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen, Copyright 1992 by Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen. Used by permission of Dell Books, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc.