ESTJ Credo: "Plan the work - work the plan"

ESTJ Keywords: Action-oriented, Logical, Quick, Outspoken, Organised, Scheduled, Takes charge, Moves from A-B, Acts only on the facts, Brings order & stability, Task-focused, Open, Domineering

ESTJs are built to project manage, which is why they are often found in Operational roles. Not for them the ethereal or conceptual it is about quickly weighing up the situation, setting targets and marshalling the resources to make sure the job is done - on time and within budget. The ESTJ has a strong work ethic and this includes loyalty to the cause - whatever that cause is.

Their desire to get things done may mean that they ignore the niceties, the softer issues as they tend not to be so well-tuned in to how other people are feeling. There is a strong competitive edge to the ESTJ, and a need to assume control and it this can often make it difficult for others to deflect them from their chosen course of action. The ESTJ simply wants to get on and get things done.

Formal and structured the ESTJ works best when everyone is clear as to the ground-rules, (the ESTJ will happily create them if they are lacking!), and they tend to be better at maintaining the status quo squeezing more out of the existing processes rather than radically recreating new ones. Factual, accurate, detailed and process driven the ESTJ will bring order, structure and focus to their environment.

This can mean the ESTJ will be traditional and often quite conservative in their approach, preferring the known to experimenting or trying a more novel, creative approach. Thus the ESTJ may not always adapt well to change (unless they are doing the changing!), and indeed if pushed hard can make formidable opponents to any new order. For the ESTJ change must make logical sense and ‘if it ain’t broke then why fix it?’ Emotional arguments or pleading won’t work as only hard facts and logical reasoning ‘compute’ with the ESTJ.

The desire to jump in and ‘do’ can also make the ESTJ very present focused and so they may not necessarily appreciate how such present actions may impinge on the future nor do they excel at predicting or anticipating future trends or forecasting as they are keen to make quick decisions and are built to get to closure as quickly as possible in order to get the job done. So the ESTJ may rush in without stopping to consider the full range of options open as their prime focus will be to get on with it and as such they may be difficult to budge from their preferred course of action. However the word ‘action’ typifies the ESTJ and if it needs managing (and it’s tough) the ESTJ is the one to call.

ESTJs are the pragmatic organisers, they like things done and done properly. They have little time for anything ethereal, woolly or conceptual preferring facts, figures, plans and procedures. These are the action-oriented characters who cut to the car chase and move quickly to completion, taking the least circuitous route.

They plan with logic and objectivity, relying on empirical evidence and data rather than emotions. If something needs to be planned, organised followed-through then the ESTJ is the person to do it.

The extravert side also means they will have little trouble letting everyone know exactly where they stand. They tend to dislike sloppiness or mess and engender order and discipline within projects, teams and situations.

The potential downside of this is that ESTJs may forget the protocol of taking people with them. Sure, others will know exactly where they stand, but under great pressure, the ESTJ may unwittingly create debris by not bringing others into the decision-making process, overly focussing on task rather than process or people, and once embarked upon a project may be difficult to shift off course. When the pressure really mounts, the ESTJ can become dogmatic, rigid and inflexible, seeing the completion of the task as the primary concern, and not seeing the 'bigger picture,' or understanding complexities.

The strength of the ESTJ is the desire, and ability, to adopt a decisive stance, take charge and get the job done which makes them 'natural' leaders whom others will readily follow. This strength can, however, become a weakness as the ESTJ will follow the traditional, tried-and-tested route, and may want to dive in quickly, get their hands dirty and ignore the advice of those who may want to reflect or try a different approach.

ESTJs thrive on order and continuity. Being extraverted, their focus involves organisation of people, tasks, processes, etc which all translates into management. While ENTJs enjoy organising and mobilising people according to their own theories and tactically based agendas, ESTJs are content to enforce ‘the rules,’ often dictated by tradition or handed down from a higher authority, if a job needs to be done, (‘done’ being the operatative word), then leave it to an ESTJ.

The ESTJ need for belonging is woven into the fibre of ‘SJs.’ The family likewise is a central focus for ESTJs. Tradition is important and service, the tangible expression of responsibility, is another key focus for ESTJs. They love to provide and to receive good service.

ESTJs have an acute sense for orthodoxy. Much of their evaluation of persons and activities reflects their strong sense of what is ‘normal’ and what isn't. ESTJ humour is frequently centred around something or someone being off centre or behaving abnormally. ESTJs promote the work ethic. Power, position and prestige should be worked for and earned. Laziness is viewed with scorn and the credo is ‘If you can’t stand the heat - then get out of the kitchen!’

The ESTJ is outspoken, a person of principles, which are readily and directly expressed. The ESTJ is not afraid to stand up for what he believes is right even in the face of overwhelming odds. ESTJs are able to take the tough decisions and every single person will know exactly where they stand.

ESTJs are very good at making impersonal decisions quickly, and standing by those decisions. They live in their Extraverted Thinking function and thus, their prime directive is in discovering that which is true, objective and logical in the events of the ‘real world,’ the world of facts and actualities. Circumstances calling for deliverables invite the ESTJ to manage, task or direct other individuals toward production and productivity.

In times of great pressure, (on which the ESTJ thrives), ESTJs are apt to completely overlook even necessary information if its absence prevents closure or getting the job done, so keen is the ESTJ to get to closure and deliver on what has been agreed.

In a team situation, the ESTJ will be the organiser, of materials, of people, of deadlines making sure tasks are planned and coordinated and that everyone is clear what is expected and what should happen next.

Famous ESTJs

  • Lloyd Bridges
  • Richard Madley