Updated 27 May 2020
The ESTJ personality is one of the 16 personality types identified by the Myers-Briggs assessment.
The Myers-Briggs test is a personality test that provides insight into how individuals work and learn. It is commonly used by employers to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of applicants, and to assess how they would fit within their organisation.
The Myers-Briggs test can also be a valuable tool for individuals, helping them to develop an awareness of their character and the career paths best suited to their personality type.
This article will discuss the various character traits that are associated with an ESTJ personality and how these relate to a professional environment, as well as providing 10 of the best ESTJ career matches (as well as careers they should avoid).
The ESTJ personality is the fifth-most common personality type, and the second-most common among men.
As with each of the 16 personality types, ESTJ is an acronym that relates to four key personality indicators. When combined, these characteristics indicate an individual’s overall persona, including how they prefer to work, what motivates them and how they relate to other people.
ESTJ stands for:
ESTJs are led by their head, not their heart. They make decisions according to reason, logic and the information in front of them. They prefer to focus on specific details and facts rather than concepts and ideas.
ESTJs are often referred to as ‘Supervisors’ or ‘Commanders’. This refers to their preference for taking charge and making sure that things are done properly and correctly.
ESTJs have a high sense of responsibility and tend not to make impulsive decisions, preferring to plan ahead. They enjoy creating to-do lists and following clear guidelines and rules.
Each personality type has strengths and weaknesses which can have an impact on both their professional and private lives:
In a working environment, ESTJs are dedicated, motivated and hardworking. They perform best in traditional, well-ordered environments where they can lead people to success and set a good example to other staff.
Conscientious and rule-abiding, ESTJs are motivated by getting things done, taking a methodical approach to the completion of projects. They enjoy structure, routine and predictability – if they notice that any of these are missing, they will take steps to try to restore order.
Generally speaking, ESTJs like to be in control, meaning they often aim for management roles. These roles allow them to take responsibility for making decisions and implementing policies and procedures.
ESTJs are viewed by others as people who will deliver high-quality work to agreed deadlines. But, because of their willingness to accept responsibility, they often find themselves becoming overwhelmed and overworked.
ESTJs are task-oriented, so they are likely to become frustrated with colleagues who engage in lengthy or theoretical discussions before taking any action. Equally, they are likely to become impatient with people who deviate from the agreed plan or don’t have the same level of respect for deadlines and schedules.
They are unlikely to work well in a team of rule-breakers, since their own approach to work is so methodical.
ESTJs excel at taking charge and can inject energy into any team. Their approach to communication is honest and direct – they won’t mince their words when trying to get their point across, which can cause disharmony in some team situations.
ESTJs employed within leadership and management roles are eager to ensure policies and procedures are followed, targets are met and quality standards are achieved. When communicating their expectations to the team, ESTJs provide a clear outline of exactly what needs to be done, how this will be achieved and when it needs to be completed by.
Their approach to project management is methodical and they strive to ensure that the team delivers the desired result.
As a result of their traditional approach, ESTJs may struggle to recognise the benefits of innovation. They prefer to make decisions based on experience and feel uncomfortable when leading their team into unfamiliar territory. ESTJs tend to be better at making sure changes are implemented effectively than coming up with ideas themselves.
ESTJs are respectful of the hierarchical structure – they are happy to take orders from colleagues who are more senior than them. Equally, they expect their delegates to have respect for their authority.
Since they are inclined to trust their own judgment over anyone else’s, they are unlikely to show much flexibility after a decision has been made.
Characteristics such as a strong work ethic, loyalty and the desire to get things done means that people with ESTJ personality traits are made for roles like project management, sales and administration.
ESTJs have respect for rules and boundaries. They also expect everyone else to perform perfectly. They tend to aim high, choosing to follow career paths that will provide good job security.
Below are the top 10 career matches for ESTJ personalities.
Acting as the face of an organisation is the ideal career for the dedicated and hardworking ESTJ. Leading by example, PR managers are expected to promote a positive public image using press releases, communication strategies and presentations.
The role of CEO/MD is essentially to provide leadership and management of an entire company – perfect for the ESTJ, who will take the pressure and responsibilities of this role in their stride. In this role, they will only report to the board of directors, so they will have overall responsibility for the success of the business.
Telemarketers make cold calls to potential customers to sell a product or service. The persistence, dedication and extrovert-nature of the ESTJ’s personality means they will have the qualities needed to persuade, negotiate and close a sale.
For ESTJs looking for a long-term career path, this is a great option. Plenty of experience in the judicial system is required before becoming a judge, but it’s a very rewarding and appealing career choice for ESTJ personality types.
ESTJs have an aptitude for making a detailed career plan and achieving each of their objectives in order. They also strongly dislike disorder and dishonesty, so working as a judge provides an opportunity to contribute to the resolution of these issues in society.
Hotel managers face different challenges every day. They must be able to resolve customer issues and complaints, working in line with company policies and maintaining order at all times.
ESTJs have a natural ability to implement effective procedures and routines – within hospitality, these qualities can help to contribute towards outstanding levels of customer service, from a straightforward booking experience to a clean and fresh room.
A career in finance is the obvious choice for ESTJ personality types – working in financial services offers order, structure and the chance to follow clear policies and guidelines.
In a financial leadership role, they will be able to enjoy the team-management aspect as well as the structure that comes with managing and maintaining financial records and documentation.
Organised and particular with great attention to detail, ESTJs make effective managers. The role of chef allows ESTJs to take the lead and set out an orderly way for things to be done, always working in line with food hygiene / safety regulations and company policies.
This role takes charge of an organisation’s daily activities and operations; hence it's a rewarding job role for ESTJ personalities. Duties include managing employees, supervising work and ensuring all staff work in line with company policies.
People working in this role are responsible for ensuring that construction works are in line with both national and local building codes, regulations and contract specifications.
Pharmacists are responsible for dispensing prescription drugs to patients. They also give advice and offer expertise on the safe use of medications, healthy lifestyles, health screenings and immunisations. The need to follow procedures is vital for the safety of patients, so ESTJs will be a good match for this role.
ESTJs are likely to struggle in job roles that lack stability or contact with other people. They are unlikely to thrive in a job role that requires making spontaneous decisions or adapting quickly to change.
Inputting data can be a lonely job, so it’s not something that an extroverted ESTJ is likely to enjoy. Although they may enjoy following set procedures with a high level of attention to detail, the repetition and loneliness are likely to make them feel socially isolated.
ESTJ personality types thrive on structure – and teaching young children offers the exact opposite. Preschoolers tend to be loud and lively – and most of them don’t really like sticking to the rules. An ESTJ personality would probably feel pretty out of their depth in this role.
Pretending to be someone they are not is unlikely to appeal to an ESTJ, even though the idea of being in the limelight might. But apart from that, acting doesn’t offer very much structure – jobs can be few and far between and pay is variable. Acting is not a good option for the stability and security-craving ESTJ.
Qualities associated with leadership make up a significant part of the ESTJ personality; for example, decision making, dedication and the desire to help others to achieve their goals.
As a result, people with ESTJ personality traits are well suited to management roles. They have great respect for boundaries, enjoy keeping to the rules and expect high-quality work from others.
Some of the worst jobs for ESTJ personality types include roles which are uncertain, unstructured or require the ability to make quick, spontaneous decisions. An ESTJ personality type is unlikely to feel comfortable in a role that is unstable or unstructured.
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