More than most
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.
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 to be
translated into objective, nonpersonal, analytical decisions
(Thinking) and freely imposed upon anyone within earshot (Judging)
-- always for someone else's good, of course.
of preferences 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 a framework for any
future similar situations. It is this special combination of
hands-on perception and analytical judgment, focused outward and set
in a lifestyle of structure, schedule, and order, that makes the
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 to freely 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.
ESTJ women face
particular and unique problems. We've said all along that T women
swim upstream because life in general, and the workplace in
particular, does not look kindly upon objective, hard-thinking
females. In this case, as Extraverted-Thinking types, they are not
only objective in their decision making, they are also up-front and
outgoing about those decisions -- often to the intimidation of many.
matters are the two conflicting roles suggested by the ESTJ's four
preferences. On the one hand their Extraverted-Thinking management
style is to "take names and kick ass." On the other hand, their
Sensing-Judging preferences call upon them to be traditionalists.
For women, the "tradition" is for them to be caretaking, nurturing
defenders of home and hearth. That they instead are top dog within
some organizational structure flies in the face of that tradition.
The result is an ongoing war raging within some ESTJ women between
what they would like to do (be leaders at work) and what they
"should" be doing (taking care of the kids at home). Some women
compensate at work by dressing and behaving in a way that is
ultrafeminine: wearing lots of lace and pink outfits, being
soft-spoken, appearing petite, and using flowing handwriting.
However dressed, the female ESTJ's inner conflict can manifest
itself in a variety of mixed signals. For example, she may proffer a
direct and harsh command with a soft-spoken voice or dole out a
compliment in a seemingly cold, offhand way. Such comments may be
perfectly acceptable when coming from a male. When done by a female
(especially one dressed in frilly pink), they not only raise
eyebrows, they also tend to affirm self-doubt, insecurity, and
ambivalence within the ESTJ herself.
Should an ESTJ
overcome this internal tug-of-war, and should she find acceptance
within the workplace, the ESTJ woman will demand the same respect as
her male counterpart. If so, there's nothing to say that ESTJ women
can't be just as effective at any of the professional areas to which
they may gravitate.
Because they are
more common than any other type -- in the United States there are
more Extraverts, Sensors, Thinking males, and Judgers -- ESTJ males
fit most of the corporate norms, even the statistical ones. 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
take-charge types with very high control needs and because of a
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 on anyone nearby. (As a rule ESTJs are 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.
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 the 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.
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 respect others' points of view and
to appreciate that there is more to life than compulsive deadlines.
Drives to take
charge, to see the practical facilitation of a task and to complete
it with dispatch and skill
Pathway to Professional Growth:
Must learn to be
less hard charging by listening to and allowing alternative
demands loyalty, pushes hard to accomplish a task and tells it like
Teams are an
effective tool for task accomplishment as long as they are well
managed and people's roles and goals are defined