Dominant Extraverted Thinking with Auxiliary Introverted Sensing

Tertiary Intuition and Inferior Introverted Feeling

Decisive • Practical • Logical • Systematic

According to the MBTI® Manual, ESTJs make up 8.7% of the population, making this type the 5th most common, of 16, in the US population.

ESTJs are known for appearing straightforward, directive, pragmatic, and dependable, with a great ability to organize the task or tasks at hand.  They prize logic, details, and practicality and couple these with their often natural inclination for taking charge to move groups towards a finished product or desired outcome.  ESTJs have a great appreciation for responsibility, competence, and hard work and will go to great lengths to make sure work is done carefully, correctly, and on time.  This is most easily accomplished in areas where they can work together with other dependable and competent people to reach the finish line.

ESTJs are often gifted in understanding logical systems in a thorough manner.  As family members and friends, ESTJs are typically friendly and extremely devoted, and they may show affection by taking care of day to day tasks that bring safety and security to the family unit.  They may sometimes struggle with the emotional aspects of relationships.

In Stress

Normally, ESTJs will be thrown off in environments that are in disarray, due to their love of structure and organization.  ESTJs find stress in disruptions, being surrounded by irrational behavior, and being surrounded by (or guilty of) incompetence. They may often find it difficult to be in situations of change, especially when they do not see the practicality of the change, or they lack the past experience with the new way of doing things to trust it.  Also, ESTJs may struggle with a lack of control over getting things done in a timely fashion, especially in situations where they deem current leadership inadequate and/or lazy.

When faced with stress overload, which may come from being confronted with intense emotions, feeling guilt over being critical towards others, or not having their strongly held values and/or feelings validated, ESTJs may find themselves “in the grip” of their inferior function, Introverted Feeling.  During this experience, the individual is likely to do things that are typically completely out of character.  This may include having uncharacteristic emotional outbursts and withdrawing from others to prevent displaying what feels like a lack of emotional stability. ESTJs may become hypersensitive about their relationships with others and interpret tiny, insignificant details into the belief that others dislike or hate them.

Fortunately, going through and coming out of a grip experience can lead to growth and balance of the personality and the person.

To learn about ESTJs under the particular stress that only comes from being chased by the dead, check out ESTJs in the Zombie Apocalypse!

As Learners

In general, ESTJs take learning, for school and work, seriously when they see the practical value of it.  They learn best when practical explanations, real life examples, details, facts, and expectations are presented up front, rather than first being presented with abstract theories or encountering expectations along the way.  Material sinks in more easily when the real life applications, especially in the present, are apparent and/or highlighted by the instructor. They often excel at memorization, and they love being able to master learning tasks and file them away in their brains for future use and assistance.

ESTJs like to learn within the well organized structure provided by the instructor, and they typically prefer to work with others within that structure to reach goals that have been decided on at the outset of the learning experience.  They also tend to learn at their best when they are in charge of a project and/or leading others to learn.  ESTJs also tend to struggle when they feel rushed by a teacher going through material too quickly or when they cannot see the current usefulness of the information.

Individuals of this type may find it helpful to ask teachers for real life examples when they are not present.  They should try to remember to look at details together, to see the big picture, in addition to their natural method of examining details as details.  Frustration may occur for ESTJs in a classroom that lacks structure, and the individual may want to ask the instructor for clarifications that will allow the ESTJ to build a structure to work in.  Seeking leadership opportunities, such as leading project groups, may also help ESTJs excel.  Finally, it may be helpful to form study groups to provide maximum absorption via interaction.

Time Management

Typically, ESTJs like to plan out and break down work, projects, and tasks before getting started, and they want to make sure they have all of the necessary components lined up in advance to ensure that  they can work energetically towards the end goal in a fashion that most effectively accomplishes their objectives.  They will often appreciate the use of calendars, routines, and daily to-do lists to stay on task and keep priorities straight, and they typically use these methods in all aspects of life.  Motivation for ESTJs comes from their desire to keep their commitment to being reliable and their love of efficiently doing work in tried and true ways.

ESTJs are often thrown off in time management when plans are interrupted by changes or emergencies, or when they lack clarity on goals or need more information.  Procrastination may occur when the ESTJ does not control the matter at hand or believe it can be successful, or when they need but do not want to ask for help.

Tips for staying or getting back on task:

  • Take action, and focus on tasks one by one until they are finished, and remember that it is ok to remove  items on your list or give them to someone else.
  • Plan for the unplanned by allotting extra time for possible interruptions and by making yourself temporarily unavailable to others who may distract or seek help from you.
  • Ask for clarifications and details when they are not readily available.

Decision Making

When approaching decisions, ESTJs want to find solutions that are practical, functional, realistic, and do the best possible job of achieving the goal at hand.  They will often begin by using their Dominant Extraverted Thinking to logically and energetically analyze the pros and cons of the situation to come up with a solution that is rational and as foolproof as possible. They will also consider how they can combine knowledge and processes that currently work well with past experience and commonsense to explore the facts and details of the situation.

ESTJs often want to talk out schedules, data, and options based on reliable research with others. They want to think through the decision factually, carefully, and thoroughly, while at the same time wanting to move quickly towards resolution to advance to implementation.  Individuals of this type are often good at analyzing the decision making process after the fact, to critique the effectiveness of each step and whether outcomes were up to par.

ESTJs may neglect the people side of decision making, including emotional impacts on themselves and others, and they may also fail to consider possibilities and knowledge outside their own experience when making decisions.  To find more balance in the process, all types may consider discussing decisions with friends of different types to gain new insights and/or utilizing the Zig-Zag Method, which encompasses exploring decisions from the perspective of all four functions.  ESTJs will likely find this process more natural when exploring Thinking first, followed by Sensing, Intuition, and Feeling.

In Careers

Personality type is one important part of the process of choosing a career that is a good fit, but it is far from the only part.  It is important to first look at your personal goals and values when making a career decision.  These may involve retiring early, helping others, having time for hobbies/avocations, having time to spend with kids and family, making lots of money, making use of a specific talent (singing, art, athletic ability, etc.), following in family footsteps, or following a childhood dream.

It is also important to look at skills and preferences.  If you hate math, maybe engineering is not the way to go, and you may want to skip being a doctor or nurse if the sight of blood makes you queasy.  Interests, from loving the great outdoors to being fascinated by the depths of the human mind, play a huge role in the career choice process as well.  Below are some type specific commonalities in the career world.

ESTJs often…

  • Seek careers that provide structure and consistency, while prizing logic, thoroughness, timeliness, and following rules, and they typically want a career that allows room to move up into a leadership role.
  • Prefer environments which allow ample time for processing and interacting with other people, and they enjoy environments that provide clear expectations and first hand experience with real world problems.
  • Enjoy tasks that serve a logical and practical purpose and allow them room to lead and organize the group goals.  The love to begin with the end in mind and see tangible outcomes.
  • Might struggle with vague expectations, overly emotional environments, and places where their leadership qualities are not appreciated.  They may also have difficulty focusing on the concerns of people in the job search and in the work environment.
  • Are attracted to careers such as:
      • Military
      • Banking/Finance/Accounting
      • Sales Management and Sales
      • Construction/Contracting
      • Trades (electrician, mechanic)
      • Real Estate
      • Teaching practical skills (trades, math, engineering)
      • Management (project, office, production, building, small business)
      • Administration (healthcare, education)
      • Engineering (mechanical, nuclear, civil)
  • May be less interested in careers involving a focus on creativity, isolation, or intense work that focuses on relationships, feelings, and people.

If the career you are interested in does not appear on this list, or if you simply don’t find any appealing careers listed here, do not worry!  Personality type is not meant to sentence you to a life of misery in a career you hate, and this list is far from exhaustive.  You may want to check out descriptions of thousands of possible careers at O*Net, and then contemplate how your type may play into some of the careers that do interest you.  Also, if your university has a career counseling center (and most do), visit them to gain assistance in finding a career that suits your needs and wants.

As Team Members

ESTJ team members will likely contribute to the team by being directive, hardworking, thorough, energetic, and responsible.  ESTJs have great respect for structure and for processes that have a proven track record of success.  They appreciate the seriousness of work, logic, details, and organization, and they are known to be efficient team members.

While ESTJ team members have many strengths, they may find it difficult to accept change that is not based on traditional and proven structures.  They may also have a tendency to be seen as inflexible and overpowering and can sometimes forget to take into account a situation’s impact on people.  ESTJs sometimes also lose sight of processes in their love of finishing the job.  Awareness of these areas, as well as seeking out the perspectives of team members with different preferences, can help ESTJs gain balance and appreciate team and type diversity.

As Leaders

ESTJs make diligent, energetic, and realistic leaders who begin with the end in mind and work hard and steadily towards accomplishing goals.  They tend to be clear with expectations, plans, and structure and enjoy working with others.  ESTJs are known for being good at finding practical and efficient ways to complete tasks, and they are often naturals at motivating their teams to accomplish the goals they lay out.

ESTJs may find it challenging to focus on new, idealistic ideas, preferring to work from past information and already proven systems.  Their often blunt and critical nature may be off-putting to those who appreciate lots of positive feedback, and ESTJs may be prone to micromanagement when projects seem to be off course.  It may also be difficult for ESTJs to remember to place focus on the impact actions will have on people and to keep possibilities and processes in mind while diligently leading the team towards goals.

In Relationships

ESTJs crave security in all areas of relationships.  They take commitment very seriously, and they want to know their partners share and honor that commitment.  This extends to fidelity and support.  They also prize sharing values with a partner and being able to enjoy spending time together, especially when having fun.

As partners, ESTJs tend to be very energetic, traditional, hardworking, and dependable.  They typically like to lead in relationships as they like to lead in other parts of life, especially wwhen doing projects with partners and family.  ESTJs are known to run a tight ship, and they may show love by performing practical tasks for their partners, like keeping the house running on a day to day basis.  They tend to be very expressive and straightforward with expressing their opinions.  They may struggle with patience in emotional situations, and they may have difficulty with flexibility in relation to viewpoints and schedules.




  1. Zoosie Banks

    I’m an ENFP, he’s an ESTJ. I’ve never in my life found anyone as irresistibly attractive as he is. Every part of him seemed perfect and wonderful to watch. But he soon found intolerable traits in me: my lack of time sense (not getting things done as quickly or efficiently as him, being slightly late, taking a long time to get ready, etc.) my attitude towards plans, my distract ability. To me, plans are things you fall back on if intuition doesn’t work. To him, plans are a sacred vow. To me, love is like a huge wave that knocks you over, tumbles you around, and demonstrates that your will is nothing compared to the force of nature. To him, love was something like a business contract, ia cut-and-dried deal that defined each partners responsibilities and sacrifices. This contract also included what The army calls Standard Operating Procedures : explicit and inviolable procedures for every action. I, the conflict-avoider, tried my best to comply. He, the contract-enforcer, grew more and more frustrated with my apparent incompetence at meeting my moral obligations to the contract. I ended the relationship because every day I was feeling more worthless and more cut off from my dreams, which keep me alive.

    I’m on pretty thin emotional ice now: always about to cry, finding it hard to do anything at all, not wanting to leave my house or even get dressed, etc. I think of him almost all the time: his beautiful face, the feel of him, How is it that my instincts could have been so wrong as to make me fall so hard for a person who (though unintentionally) was taking away my wish to live? I thought instincts drew us toward health and strength, not towards things that destroy us.

    1. Sadie (Post author)


      I am sorry to hear you are going through a difficult time, but I am glad to hear you have had the courage to leave a situation that made you feel bad about yourself. While a difference in type certainly played a role in your experience, relationships consist of a million factors that can either make them last or fall apart. As you go through the grieving process and are feeling depressed, I hope you will reach out to a trusted friend or family member for support.

      You may also consider seeing a counselor, especially if you begin to or are feeling hopeless, to process what happened in the relationship and how you are feeling… You can even explore what your intuition was leading you towards. Sometimes, we are attracted to people for reasons besides just happiness (fixing the person, being validated by another person, etc.). Counseling can really help with healing and with creating better relationships in the future. I wish you all the best!


  2. SunnyCloud

    Not sure where the OP is right now but she made the right and brave choice. Sometimes love is not enough. Hope you’re well wherever you are!


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