MBTI® ESTJ and Workplace Behavior – Innate personality functions influence many aspects of individuals’ behavior, from their preferred working environment to their style of communication. The insights from the Myers Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) assessment can help individuals and organizations better understand their own and others’ behaviors to optimize their workplace communication and operations. ESTJs (Extraverted-Sensing-Thinking-Judgment) Personality Types are “logical, analytical, decisive, and tough-minded” (Hirsh, S. & Kummerow, J., p13, CPP Inc., 1998). They generally bring to their organization’s objective, data-driven perspectives that can be clearly justified based on their goals and constraints. ESTJs are also able to focus on designing and executing a structured plan to implement their vision in a systematic, efficient fashion. ESTJs are competitive by nature and take success seriously. Like any personality type, ESTJs can be challenging to work with. Understanding their preferences and proclivities is key to cultivating effective workplace relationships and teams.
Organizational Climate and ESTJ Disposition
Every day, every individual interfaces with a diverse range of personality types, each of which brings different strengths and experiences to the table. The key to organizational success is effective collaboration between these different personality types. In most cases, professionals are all invested in facilitating cooperation, since the success of a team reflects positively on each individual within it. However, miscommunications and misunderstandings can create significant roadblocks and inefficiencies, often despite contributors’ best efforts. The key to collaboration is understanding how each personality type functions across contexts, so challenges can be anticipated and either mitigated or avoided entirely.
ESTJs tend to thrive in structured workplaces in which goals and priorities are logically presented and prioritized. In order to be successful and motivated, ESTJs need to know what they are trying to achieve, and any factors that may constrain their approach, including budget, timeline, and so on. They also like to be aware up front of any metrics by which success will be measured. Foresight and fully understanding the task at hand allows them to develop a plan of action, anticipate potential pitfalls, and modify the plan as needed before beginning. In doing so, they can lay a solid foundation and set expectations, limiting the number and significance of impromptu decisions and necessary corrections along the way. In short, ESTJs think it best to “measure twice, cut once.”
Once a project is underway, ESTJs are in the habit of carefully and consistently monitoring their as well as their team’s progress for quality assurance. By doing so, they can ensure that their projects stay on track and that if they begin to deviate from their goal or if quality declines, then mitigating steps can be taken before the success of the entire project is jeopardized.
Workplace Association and Interaction
People with different MBTI® Personality Types also have different tendencies and habits when it comes to communication. Being aware of these tendences and responding to them appropriately can streamline how teams meet and collaborate, allowing everyone involved to focus on the task at hand. Perhaps the most important thing to be aware of with ESTJs is their almost exclusive focus on problem-solving. They have defined goals and are singularly focused on reaching those goals and overcoming any challenges that may prevent them from being achieved.
For example, while ESTJs are extraverted and do enjoy collaborating with others, they benefit from structure. An ESTJ may actively participate in brainstorming sessions or check-ins, but will also prefer that these meetings be scheduled with a specific and explicit agenda, rather than impromptu or with an open-ended purpose. Because of their affinity for technical work, being interrupted can cause ESTJs to become frustrated. For the same reason, they prefer to receive questions via e-mail or private message instead of phone calls or just walking by their desk. This demonstrates respect for ESTJs’ time and allows them to focus on their current task before turning to a new assignment.
Those who work closely with ESTJs should also be aware that their enthusiastic advocacy for their own position may come across as being pushy or overly assertive, especially since they “may overlook the interpersonal niceties in getting the job done” (Hirsh, S. & Kummerow, J., p13, CPP Inc., 1998). In other words, ESTJs may neglect “the human element” as they work towards accomplishing tangible goals. However, this shortcoming can be remedied by making an effort to consider others, as well as their opinions and possible benefits. ESTJs should be understanding about meetings occasionally veering off topic or becoming social, since team bonding can also contribute to successful collaboration and project completion. They should keep in mind that such relationships are particularly important for Feeling personality types.
Furthermore, leaders who manage teams with ESTJs should ensure that every individual has the opportunity to contribute their ideas. One strategy for doing so is to provide quiet brainstorming time; then list everyone’s ideas on a whiteboard, shared document, or other public space; and finally move through each proposal systematically so that each receives equal consideration. Others may also find that ESTJs are more receptive to their ideas when they are presented in a concrete, specific way and with a logical structure. For example, “We need to accomplish X. I propose we do A, B, and C, which will help us reach our goal by…” With this form of presentation, the ESTJ understands exactly what steps need to be taken and why.
ESTJs and Operational Efficiency
Ultimately, organizations exist to accomplish some kind of goal, whether it is to generate a profit or to benefit their communities. Either way, effective teamwork is essential, and each MBTI® Personality Type plays a slightly different role. ESTJs are known for providing stability, structure, and predictability. They thrive on routine, from arriving and leaving the office at the same time, organizing meetings in the same way, and following the same steps in the same sequence to complete a given task. While they are natural leaders who tend to rise to the top of their respective organizations, they also respect hierarchy and prefer having designated supervisors and direct reports rather than loosely-structured or “flat” organizational structures. Many ESTJs see hierarchy as essential for achieving goals efficiently, as it ensures that every individual is aware of their priorities, resources, and standards for success. ESTJs can get frustrated if they receive requests from multiple stakeholders without a clear understanding of the urgency of various requests or the relative importance of the people who are making the requests. That said, ESTJs generally prefer the flexibility to establish their own approach for completing tasks; they may find it frustrating to be micromanaged, especially if others expect procedures that are not as efficient or logical as the procedures that they would have established themselves.
ESTJs are highly practical individuals who reject wasted time and resources. They prefer to “work smart, not hard,” and value efficiency. This tendency even manifests while they are learning. ESTJs are most motivated to master new skills that they can immediately apply to do their job better. As with any task, before they begin a lesson or training, they like to know what they will be learning (i.e., what they will be able to do at the end of the session that they would not have been able to do before) and how that skill will help them accomplish specific tasks more quickly, more efficiently, or both. Trainers should be prepared for skepticism, as ESTJs may be reluctant to adopt a new process if they feel their current approach is acceptable. It may be effective to share anecdotes and data that demonstrates the effectiveness of the new strategy in multiple contexts. Despite their initial skepticism, once ESTJs become invested in learning a new skill, they dedicate themselves fully to it. Once they master a skill, they will test its efficacy by implementing it, assessing its benefit over status quo, and possibly adapting their process to maximize efficiency or fit a specific application.
Using the MBTI® in the Workplace
The Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator® Assessment is a powerful tool in any work environment. It can help streamline workplace organization and can provide insights that highlight small changes that can provide enormous benefits, particularly in communication. If appropriately applied, this knowledge can improve workplace culture, allowing teams and organizations not only to maximize the contributions and efficiency of individual team members, but also to eliminate inefficiencies and focus more energy on achieving their goals rather than mitigating mistakes. Understanding how innate personalities manifest in behavior can also help shape reward structures, training programs, behavioral interventions, and conflict management strategies. MBTI® can influence how employees do everything: learn, communicate, interact, make decisions, and more. Therefore, successful organizations should apply MBTI® insights to develop the right behaviors to optimize overall performance.
Introduction To Type in Organizations (Hirsh, S. & Kummerow, J. CPP Inc., 1998)