ESTJ is one of the 16 personality types identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). ESTJs are often described as logical, take-charge kind of people. They are assertive and are very concerned with making sure that things run smoothly and according to the rules. They are committed to tradition, standards, and laws. They have strong beliefs and possess sensible judgement, and expect that other people uphold these same principles as well.
An estimated 8% to 12% of the U.S. population has an ESTJ personality. David Keirsey, the creator of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, suggests that the ESTJ personality type is the “Guardian Supervisor,” one of four “Guardian” archetypes (Supervisor, Inspector, Provider, Protector).
Key ESTJ Characteristics
- Individuals with this personality type tend to place a high value on tradition, rules, and security. Maintaining the status quo is important to ESTJs, and they often become involved in civic duties, government branches, and community organizations.
- Because of their orthodox approach to life, they can sometimes be seen as rigid, stubborn, and unyielding. Their take-charge attitude makes it easy for ESTJs to assume leadership positions.
- Their self-confidence and strong convictions help them excel at putting plans into action, but they can at times appear critical and overly aggressive, particularly when other people fail to live up to their high standards.
- People often describe ESTJs as predictable, stable, committed, and practical. They tend to be very frank and honest when it comes to sharing their opinions, which can sometimes be seen as harsh or overly critical.
- Practical and realistic
- Strong leadership skills
- Not good at expressing feelings
The MBTI suggests that each personality type is made up of a number of cognitive functions (sensing, thinking, feeling, and intuition) that are either directed toward the outside world (extraverted) or inward (introverted). The dominant function is the one that plays a primary role in personality, although the auxiliary function plays an important supporting role. The tertiary and inferior functions are less prominent, but can still have an influence on how people behave and interact with the world.
Dominant: Extraverted Thinking
- ESTJs rely on objective information and logic to make decisions rather than personal feelings. They are skilled at making objective, impersonal, and impartial decisions. Rather than focusing on their own subjective feelings when they are making judgments, they consider facts and logic in order to make rational choices.
- People with ESTJ personality types tend to be very practical. They enjoy learning about things that they can see an immediate, real-world use for, but tend to lose interest in things that are abstract or theoretical. ESTJs enjoy concrete facts as opposed to abstract information.
- They are good at making fast and decisive choices, but they may often rush to judgment before considering all the information about a situation. One positive side, this trait makes them good leaders, but it can sometimes lead them to being viewed as harsh or abrasive.
Auxiliary: Introverted Sensing
- They are good at remembering things with a great deal of detail. Their memories of past events can be quite vivid, and they often utilize their recollections of past experiences to make connections with present events.
- Because their sensing function is focused inwardly, they tend to be less concerned with novelty and more focused on familiarity. They enjoy having habits and routines that they can depend upon. While this gives them stability and predictability, it can also make them stubborn and unyielding at times.
Tertiary: Extraverted Intuition
- This aspect of personality seeks out novel ideas and possibilities. It compels people with this personality type to explore their creativity.
- As they process new ideas and information, they may explore the possible meanings in order to spot new connections or patterns. This allows them to look at incoming information and recognize that there may be more than one interpretation or possible outcome.
Inferior: Introverted Feeling
- When this function is used, it may lead ESTJs to make decisions based more on feelings than on logic. These are often internal valuations that lead to “gut feelings” about some situations. While this function is not used as often, in some cases a person might allow their subjective feelings to override their objective interpretation of a situation.
- ESTJs tend to give much thought to their own emotions, so this function often operates on a largely unconscious basis.
ESTJs You Might Know
- Lyndon B. Johnson, U.S. President
- Megyn Kelly, journalist
- Billy Graham, evangelist
- Alec Baldwin, actor
- Darth Vader, character from “Star Wars”
As extroverts, ESTJs are very outgoing and enjoy spending time in the company of others. They can be very boisterous and funny in social situations and often enjoy being at the center of attention.
Family is also of the utmost importance to ESTJs. They put a great deal of effort into fulfilling their family obligations. Social events are also important and they are good at remembering important events such as birthdays and anniversaries. They look forward to attending weddings, family reunions, holiday parties, class reunions, and other occasions.
One potential area of weakness for ESTJs is their tendency to be rigid when it comes to rules and routines. They take their own opinion quite seriously, and are often less inclined to listen to what others have to say on a subject.
Because they appreciate order and organization, they frequently do well in supervisory roles.4 When in such positions, they are committed to making sure that members of the group follow rules and traditions and law established by higher authorities.
In school and work situations, ESTJs are very hard-working and dependable.4 They strive to follow directions to the letter and show a great deal of respect and deference for authority figures. They are thorough and punctual about completing their work, and rarely question or complain about the work they have to do.
ESTJs have a wide range of personality characteristics that help them excel at a number of different careers. Their emphasis on rules and procedures make them well-suited to supervisory and management positions, while their respect for laws, authority, and order help them excel in law enforcement roles.
Popular ESTJ Careers
- Police officer
- School administrator
- Business manager
Tips for Interacting With ESTJs
People with this personality type are sociable and enjoy getting their friends involved in activities that they enjoy. ESTJs often value dependability over almost everything else. If you are a stable friend who sticks to your commitments, you will likely be able to forge a strong friendships with an ESTJ.
ESTJs children tend to be very responsible and goal-directed, but be cautious to avoid placing too many expectations on your child’s shoulders. They enjoy structure and routine. While they are good at being self-directed, they still need guidance and rules to give them the security they crave.
ESTJs are dependable and take their commitments seriously. Once they have dedicated themselves to a relationship, they will stay true to it for life. They tend to avoid emotions and feelings, which can be difficult for their partners as times. While they may not express how they feel through words, remember that they will often convey their emotions through actions.