Do you have what it takes to rise to the top of the corporate ladder? If you’re watching this video, I bet you do. You’re likely an ESTJ, which is the perfect personality type for the C-suite. That’s why experts call ESTJs “The Executive.”
Not sure if you're an ESTJ? Learn more about the Myers Briggs Test to find out!
What Does ESTJ Stand For?
The four letters of the ESTJ personality type stand for extrovert, sensing, thinking, and judgment. These traits were developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs, in the early 20th century. These two women were inspired by the work of Carl Jung.
E is for extrovert (as opposed to introvert.) This indicates that an ESTJ is likely to lean toward external stimulation rather than internal thoughts and feelings. After a long day at the office, an extrovert is more likely to unwind by going to a crowded bar than sitting at home with a book. An extrovert is just more likely to “fill their cup” by surrounding themselves with friends, family, and other types of external stimulation. This often leads people to think that extroverts are loud, bold, and outgoing. This isn’t always the case, but extroverts certainly prefer a crowded room over a quiet museum.
S is for sensing (as opposed to intuition.) This is also identified as “observant.” Rather than relying on intuition, ESTJs use real-time facts and observations to interpret what is happening around them. They look for the most obvious solutions and use straightforward, logical methods of thinking to help them get there. This is why ESTJs make great CEOs and CFOs of a well-established company, rather than the founder of a startup.
T is for thinking (as opposed to feeling.) People who lean toward thinking over feeling draw conclusions from the head rather than the heart. They are more likely to make a logical judgment based on thoughts, perceptions, and analysis instead of where their emotions are leading them. ESTJs work great under pressure for this reason!
Finally, J is for judgment (as opposed to perception.) People with a J in their personality type prefer structure. They take control of the structure of their day. They make judgments about how tasks are approached and when a job gets done. Instead of letting these decisions come to them, they want to be in control over their feelings and how they come to conclusions.
You can see why an ESTJ makes a great executive. They can manage big decisions and enjoy working under pressure. They can also sit down for a business dinner and have great conversations with anyone around them. You can trust an ESTJ to get stuff done.
Functions of ESTJ
Each personality type performs four out of eight functions that were developed by Carl Jung. These functions reveal how people make decisions and lean toward certain behaviors. If you know ESTJs in your life, you are likely to recognize these functions!
The dominant function of ESTJ types is Extroverted Thinking (Te.) ESTJs use their dominant function to learn practical skills that they can easily apply to the real world. This function gives them a solid ability to make objective decisions by relying on facts rather than their feelings about the subject. That being said, they can make fast decisions, which can be a good or bad thing. Talk about the person you want to make the decisions for your company!
Next is the auxiliary function of ESTJ types: Introverted Sensing (Si.) This function gives ESTJs the ability to remember events and experiences in detail, connecting to their present situation. They feel more stable when they have a familiar routine and avoid straying from what they know best. A good ESTJ always has a planner nearby and a morning routine that keeps them centered.
The tertiary function of ESTJ types is Extroverted Intuition (Ne.) ESTJs' extroverted intuition helps them look for new ideas with a creative approach. They use new information or details they’ve gathered in the past as a source of creativity. Using their knowledge and experience, they will explore possibilities to come up with new ideas and connections.
Last, we have the inferior function of ESTJ types: Introverted Feeling (Fi.) ESTJs are good at making fast decisions, but their inferior function might alarm them to consider a less logical approach. This happens if they feel a “gut instinct,” which typically occurs when their personal feelings conflict with their practical judgment. However, as their inferior function, this rarely stops them from prioritizing logic.
Real-Life Examples of Famous ESTJs
You can probably guess where most ESTJs end up in their career: the C-suite. But not all of the most famous ESTJs are literal executives. One thing they do have in common, however, is the ability to make a decision and stick to it. You don’t want to get into an argument with an ESTJ, that’s for sure!
Check out this list of celebrity ESTJs:
- Andrew Jackson
- Nancy Grace
- Bill O’Reilly
- Uma Thurman
- Joan Rivers
- Judith “Judge Judy” Sheindlin
- Celine Dion
- Courtney Cox
- Alec Baldwin
- Dr. Phil (McGraw)
That’s quite a list! You can find ESTJs throughout politics and Hollywood, but mostly, they’re in the office. In fact, ESTJs are quite rarely artists. ESTJs make great real estate agents, stockbrokers, and school principals. Of course, if you are an ESTJ and want to be an artist, don’t let this stop you! All personality types bring something unique and exciting to every career and industry.
Strengths and Weaknesses of ESTJs
Executives rise to the top by following their passion and seeing their vision through until they reach success. This takes discipline, drive, and a lot of organization. ESTJs claim a lot of strengths, including:
- Organization & Efficiency
- Dedication & Commitment
- Enjoy Creating Order
- Direct & Honest
- Loyal & Patient
But everyone knows someone in the C-suite who is just clocking in too many hours at work. ESTJs are more likely to get to the office early and stay past when everyone else has gone home. This can be a strength or a weakness, depending on what other priorities the ESTJ may be neglecting. Working too hard can definitely be a weakness when your health is put on the back burner. Other weaknesses of an ESTJ include:
- Inflexibility & Stubbornness
- High Focus on Social Status
- Difficulty Relaxing
- Difficulty Expressing Emotion
If you are an ESTJ watching this, take this video as a sign to book a vacation!
Working and Living with ESTJs
Maybe you’re not an ESTJ yourself. Around one in 11 people are ESTJs, so it’s likely that you work with, or maintain a friendship with, an ESTJ. If so, it’s important to understand their quirks, their strengths, and how you can communicate effectively to meet them where they are.
Working with an ESTJ
One can only imagine that working with an ESTJ, The Executive, is not always a warm and fuzzy experience. If you want things to get done, hire an ESTJ. If you want someone to outwork you, hire an ESTJ. You will be happy to have them on your team when the results come in.
ESTJs are not looking for overly emotional feedback. They might skip the Christmas party if deadlines are approaching. Knowing this, be sure to communicate clearly and concisely with the ESTJs in your life. They will be sure to communicate clearly and concisely, too - that is in their nature. Sometimes, this communication may come across as blunt or unfeeling. Assure yourself and people on your team that sometimes, that blunt communication comes from a desire to work productively toward a goal, and not any negative feelings.
Yes, an ESTJ may act like they are the executive, even if they haven’t earned that title, yet. Be patient when they take on a leadership role and step on another person’s toes. Be firm with boundaries and expectations. If you fail to communicate with the ESTJ on your team, they will take it upon themselves to keep pushing forward.
Friendships with ESTJs
What is it like to be friends with a workaholic? In their relationships, ESTJs like to be in charge, which may cause them to act controlling in positions of power. They prioritize their duties in a relationship, which they see to be long-lasting. They are also dedicated to fulfilling their responsibilities, which they base on traditional values.
If an ESTJ is in the middle of a project at work, you might not hear from them. Don’t be offended if they have to “pencil you in,” because their schedule is always booked weeks in advance!
Being in a Relationship with an ESTJ
In romantic relationships, ESTJs honor tradition by following the typical stages that lead to marriage or long-term relationships. At the beginning of a relationship, they will be honest and straightforward about their goals and expectations. If a potential partner is compatible with their goals, they can easily commit to a long-term, stable relationship.
Once you are in a long-term relationship with an ESTJ, expect them not to beat around the bush. They will bring up issues or conflicts immediately. Allow yourself to be open with them, too. They welcome it! With patience, calm communication, and a desire to work toward a solution logically, there is nothing stopping you and your ESTJ partner!
Basic Stats About ESTJs
Not all personality types are as common as others, but ESTJ falls right in the middle. Around 9% of the general population are executives. This is a more common personality type among men: one in nine men are ESTJs! Only 6% of women are ESTJs.
Interested in learning more about ESTJs? The ESTJ subreddit is your source for everything Executives and Myers Briggs!
Assertive vs. Turbulent ESTJs
Did you know that there are actually two types of ESTJs? That’s right! There are also two types of ENTPs, ISFJs, and every other personality type! In recent years, another set of traits was added to E, S, T, and J: A vs. T. These stand for assertive and turbulent!
While assertive ESTJs (ESTJ-A) can recognize their emotions, they are less likely to affect their decision-making. They act with purpose, which can cause them to consider social relationships are less of a necessity and more of a desire. They won’t conform to please others, but they do get along with others because of their easy-going attitude.
Turbulent ESTJs (ESTJ-T) are more likely to feel the pressure to conform, and instead of ignoring it, they will try to act compassionately for the sake of others. They have a more substantial concern for emotions, making them feel defensive about their own emotions and sensitive to others.