ESFP Personality Type – Extraverted Sensing with Introverted Feeling
The ESFP personality type (as outlined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® Assessment, or MBTI® Test) is the Extraverted Sensing with Introverted Feeling type. Those exhibiting the ESFP type preference have a thirst for adventure and an overwhelming adoration for their lives, finding happiness in the material world around them, as well as in experiences. They are attentive, matter-of-fact, efficient, eloquent, spirited, and perceptive. In a work environment, Myers-Briggs® test ESFP types are apt at finding out-of-the-box solutions to meet the needs of the company and their peers, and their success in their careers is often seen most in situations with others.
- Find themselves in the role of pacifist, doing whatever it takes to find solutions that will make themselves and others happy
- Adept at communicating with others in a way that is constructive and beneficial for themselves and their employer. This also makes them exceptional group members
- Oftentimes have a good idea of what others are thinking and feeling, allowing them to read the feelings of others and adapt that information to the situation they are in
- Their enjoyment for spontaneity and new experiences helps them delve straight into new projects, even if they aren’t sure where to begin at first
- Motivational and inspiring, helping them get people moving and working together in moments of great stress or emergency. This also helps them react promptly to the needs of their peers
- Their excitement and energy in their everyday lives makes others want to work with them
World-Learners, Taking Life Lessons to Heart
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test -assessed ESFP types are world-learners, with a large majority of their expansive knowledge being formulated by their environment and their experiences with the world around them. Because of this preference, this personality type learns much more efficiently through doing as opposed to through traditional learning methods or reading.
With a carpe diem mentality and a thirst for excitement, those with an MBTI Test ESFP type work toward completing assignments in the most enjoyable way possible. They are versatile, cooperative, pleasant, and carefree. When it comes to making decisions or forming opinions, the ESFP personality type first and foremost consider their personal emotions, beliefs and sensibilities. This also helps them relate and commiserate with others. Myers Briggs-assessed ESFP types also enjoy people-watching, gaining knowledge from their observations.
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Positivity Flows Through the ESFP
Individuals with the ESFP type preference are thoughtful, positive, compassionate, understanding, and often make good confidantes and friends. Their peers find them to be inventive, amicable, convivial and joyous, bringing light and excitement to every room they enter. An ESFP types genuine interest in the well-being, happiness, and lives of others makes them enjoyable to be around, both in their personal lives and in a professional atmosphere.
Occasionally, the ESFP personality types inclination to live in the moment can have negative effects on their work and relationships. Because of their desire to seize the day, Myers-Briggs test ESFP types can get so caught up in the moment that they feel as though nothing is holding them down and keeping them grounded. This can also affect their decision-making skills, disabling them from realizing the long-term consequences of these decisions and actions, especially when it comes to something that affects their senses. ESFP types are often driven by their pleasure principle, and their sensual desires can take precedence over reasoning and logic, which can lead to regrets and danger. Long-term consequences are not something that the ESFP personality type focuses on, and because of that, their spur-of-the-moment decisions can often distract them from their long-range wants or needs.
Another possible consequence of the preferences exhibited by the MBTI test -assessed ESFP type is that they can become exceedingly spontaneous and unpredictable, keeping them from completing their work without getting sidetracked. This causes them to often fail at sticking to schedules and due dates, choosing to focus on immediate pleasures as opposed to their duties elsewhere. However, if a Myers-Briggs test ESFP type can balance their spontaneity and thirst for momentary excitement, they can utilize their people skills and jovial natures to create a fun and effective work environment.[Personality type information was referenced from the following publication- (Isabel Briggs Myers, 1998, CPP Inc.)]
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ESFP personality type thrives in professional environments where they are either using their skills to aid others or where they can utilize their people-person skills. Common career fields include hospitality, food service, medicine/healthcare, and other occupations that require a personal relationship with others. Some examples of job titles that are common for the Myers-Briggs Test -assessed ESFP personality type are restaurant worker (both front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house), receptionist/secretary/personal assistant, and medical worker (could include human medicine or animal medicine), such as a nurse or a veterinarian. Interestingly, Myers Briggs test ESFP types are also known for enjoying working outside, such as in a nursery or as a fisherman (Allen L. Hammer, 1993, CPP Inc.).
To become an employee that everyone wants to hire, those with the ESFP type preference can hone in on their people skills and flexibility while still keeping in mind their long-term goals and aspirations. The spontaneous nature associated with the ESFP type often leaves no time or attention for long-range dreams, both in their careers and personal lives. By taking time to formulate these future goals (five-ten years) and taking steps to stick to them, you can help yourself think twice before making split-second decisions that may have larger consequences than you originally can see.
Furthermore, being people-lovers as they are, MBTI test -assessed ESFP personality types must pay attention to their frequent personal interactions, making sure that their networking time is being used efficiently and effectively.
Lastly, one of the most important actions that this MBTI Assessment Type Indicator personality type can take is to create deadlines and a schedule, and most importantly, to stick to that schedule. With a spontaneous yet organized life, Myers-Briggs test ESFP types can become everyone’s favorite (and most productive) workers.
Click on one of these corresponding popular ESFP Careers for detailed information including Career Stats, Income Stats, Daily Tasks and Required Education: Barista, Billing, Cost, and Rate Clerks, Dental Hygienist, Mail Clerk and Mail Machine Operator, Medical Assistant, Municipal Clerk, Nanny, Radiation Therapist, Statement Clerk and Surgical Technologists.
Further Understanding ESFPs
ESFPs tend to be outgoing and easygoing. They live in the moment and are exuberant, passionate individuals. They are characterized by flexibility, and prefer to live outside the confines of institutional rules and social norms, focusing instead on their own personal satisfaction and making an effort to improve the lives of others. Meeting new people and having new experiences is the most fulfilling for them, especially since they learn by doing rather than by reflecting. With this said, ESFPs are also practical people for the most part, and are highly observant, making decisions based on their personal values and the realities of the world around them. They are also keen observers of people, and are able to motivate and mobilize others to accomplish certain goals or work together to complete certain tasks.
Others know and love ESFPs for their resourcefulness and supportiveness, as well as for their fun-loving, playful nature. They generally have large groups of friends, and derive a great deal of pleasure and fulfillment from having deep, interactive relationships with others. This joy is contagious, and ESFPs are known for lifting the spirits of those who are around them, encouraging them to make the most out of life. While ESFPs have many strengths, they can sometimes lose sight of their long-term goals. They can be so focused on enjoying the moment, that they do not always consider the future implications of their behavior. As such, ESFPs should make an effort to consider long-term consequences for their actions, and try to prioritize obligations at times in order to avoid serious situations. With a little support and personal development, ESFPs can be the life of any party and the keystone of any organization.
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ESFPs’ Learning Style: Adaptive and Responsive
ESFPs are extremely observant. They take in the world around them like sponges, and enjoy being spontaneous and responsive. They have a dispreference for taking too much time to ponder or consider the world around them in a reflective or philosophical manner, and instead prefer to interact with it directly. As a result, they tend to be easily bored inside the classroom, which they perceive to be terribly isolated from the real world. However, they do tend to be receptive to group exercises or interactive tasks that are closely related to real-world experiences, though it is important to keep in mind that, group discussions and similar activities that are theoretically oriented even though they are technically social, are not as appealing or engaging to them. Instead, ESFPs especially enjoy “field trips” or opportunities to complete real-world tasks in a simulated environment, or supervised tasks in the real-world. The more realistic the experience, the better it will be for ESFPs.
As such, ESFPs benefit from instructors who are able to develop activities and tasks that are highly social and interactive. They enjoy being able to move around and be physically active, and are more open to role playing and other activities that are fun while still having a content objective. They prefer to receive immediate feedback on their behavior and procedures, and appreciate the opportunity to evaluate themselves using rubrics, checklists, or procedural flow charts. In this way, the act of evaluating becomes an additional activity from which they can glean even more benefit.
When it comes to interacting with their peers, ESFPs generally enjoy hearing anecdotes and real-life stories that connect the information they are learning to the real world. They enjoy working with others to practice skills, and they may open to having discussions with others providing that these discussions are not overly theoretically focused. The key to ESFPs’ learning is to maximize activity—asking and answering questions, completing tasks, moving around in the real world, and evaluating themselves or others, can all be ways of increasing the amount of activity in the environment in which ESFPs are learning.
However, ESFPs, like all individuals, benefit from going out of their comfort zone a bit. As such, they should make an effort to remain interested and motivated even when the assignment or task is not particularly interactive. They may be surprised by what they can learn by sitting and reading, or by completing a more traditional assignment individually.
ESFPs’ Leadership Style: Enthusiastic and Dynamic
ESFPs are active and engaging leaders, who take a great deal of time and energy to ensure that others on their teams are as excited about the team’s goals as they are themselves. As they set the direction of the organization, they enjoy brainstorming with members of their team, generating options that will benefit and motivate individual team members while also meeting the organization’s overall objectives. This also contributes to the creation of a fast-paced, high-energy environment, in which they can remain constantly engaged. As they narrow down their choices, ESFPs tend to value simple but practical solutions that will have immediate results. They have a dispreference for drawn out strategic planning sessions, even though sometimes root causes of problems only become apparent after an in-depth analysis.
While it may not seem so at first glance, ESFP Myers-Briggs® Types can find it challenging to make decisions if they feel that others on their team may be uncomfortable with the direction. They tend to value harmony on teams, sometimes to the extent that it can interfere with their functioning as leaders. However, if they make an effort to explain their decisions to those who may disagree, they may be able to maintain the positive, supportive nature of their workplace environment. In general, ESFPs have a knack for being able to inspire others and build a strong rapport seemingly effortlessly. They value relationships, and almost instinctively cultivate close relationships, many of which may contribute in the long term to their own advancement. They should be conscious, though, of their tendency to be drawn to other extremely outgoing individuals, and should make an effort to make sure that even the quieter, more introverted, or more serious members of their teams are still receiving attention and support from them.
Part of ESFPs’ strength as leaders is in the fulfillment they get from identifying other individuals with potential, and working closely with them and coaching them to success. They have strong interpersonal relationships, and pay attention to the value of seemingly minor acts, like rewarding the completion of milestone tasks or recognizing a job well done. These kinds of efforts help ESFPs keep their teams motivated. That said, not all of leadership tasks are overly exciting. It is important for ESFPs to remember that oftentimes achieving lofty goals necessitates the completion of repetitive, mundane tasks. They need to be careful to value and pay attention to the repetition of successful organized or ingrained processes, and learn the importance of setting and meeting deadlines.
As they continue to grow and develop as leaders, ESFPs need to take the time and energy to consider more carefully their and their team’s long-term goals, and think about how they can position themselves best in the future. Balancing fun and excitement with concrete goals and outcomes can be the perfect recipe for success.
ESFPs and Emotional Outlook: Confident and Fun-Loving
ESFP MBTI® Types are confident individuals who enjoy working together with others and having experiences together. They are highly sensitive to others’ moods and needs, and are often caring individuals with good intentions, though they may at times have difficulty relating to those who are much quieter or more introverted than they are. ESFPs are also impulsive—they enjoy novelty, and so often direct their impulses towards new outlet or opportunities, sometimes without much consideration of the impact of their actions on others or on the long-term consequences of their behavior.
Because of their innate positivity and passion for life, ESFPs can sometimes be overwhelmed or discouraged by a critical, hostile, or unsupportive environment. They often do not take kindly to their desires or actions being interpreted as problematic or negative, particularly since they have a preference for avoiding any kind of confrontation or argument. On the other hand, ESFPs make an effort to build relationships with others and to find common ground. They tend to value tasks that benefit multiple people, and are often self-sufficient and efficient in achieving those tasks.
When it comes to their relationships with others, ESFPs tend to be lively and gregarious, socially at ease, and comfortable in large groups. They genuinely enjoy the active company of others, and communicate that joy openly and freely. They are patient with others’ values, and are explicit in communicating respect and caring even in the midst of discontent and conflict. This care for others’ positions, opinions, and values, also manifests in their openness to solicit and discuss others’ view points, and in their willingness to attempt to approach situations or challenges using others’ suggestions. Finally, because of their active and large social networks, ESFPs usually have a robust support system, that they both draw on and give back to in times of need. This helps them diffuse stress and retain a positive attitude and outlook in all that they do.
ESFP Personality Types in The Workplace
Extraverted-Sensing-Feeling-Perceiving (ESFP) Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® personality types are friendly and enthusiastic. They love working with others to produce a product or achieve a goal, and others enjoy working with them because of their outgoing nature and contagious vitality and sense of humor. ESFPs are generally happy, warm people who meet challenges in an optimistic and even spontaneous way. They thrive in environments where they can develop creative, innovative solutions to problems that are traditionally approached in narrow, bounded ways. When faced with a challenge, they not only think outside the box but also question why others are so convinced that the box exists to begin with. While they may at times have difficulty focusing on the task at hand, ESFPs’ natural passion is contagious, making them an invaluable part of any team or workplace environment.
ESFPs and Communication in The Workplace: Gregarious and Enthusiastic
ESFPs are incredibly social individuals. They are naturally gregarious and have a way of bringing out the best in others. They draw energy from entertaining and engaging their peers, coworkers, and friends, and encouraging them to build relationships and interact with each other. They take joy in planning office events, and generally using humor as a way of bonding with others and as a way of breaking the ice in tense or uncomfortable situations. They also use humor as a way of easing stress, for example if there is a major deadline approaching or if their organization is undergoing some kind of change or uncertainty. ESFPs are typically happy people who love life, and they enjoy being around others with the same optimism.
In the workplace, ESFPs tend to be practical. They prefer to keep conversations focused on making an impact on the real world, even if that impact is as simple as making others smile. They may become irritated or disengaged if they are under the impression that others are engaging in a discussion that is too abstract or vague, or if they perceive others to be behaving in a rude or discourteous way. Social relationships are paramount to ESFPs, and they have little patience or empathy for those who would jeopardize them. On the other hand, their peers and coworkers may find ESFPs to be shallow or easily distracted, unable to commit to a plan of action and see it through to its conclusion. ESFPs should be aware of the possibility that others may interpret their banter and cheerfulness as flippancy and should make an effort to communicate in a more serious way if the situation warrants it.
ESFPs and Workplace Contributions: Optimistic and Networked
ESFPs inject the maximum amount of fun into any task. Their innate optimism is infectious, and they find a way to find the silver lining in any situation. If a project is pushed back, they will see it as an opportunity to take a long lunch. If they work late for a few days in a row, they will see and be happy about the progress they are making. ESFPs have a way of finding the best in people and making the best of every situation.
They are also strong team players and serve as the social glue that holds their groups and organizations together. Team building is more than a human resources function to ESFPs—it is the driving force in any workplace. To them, a team is only as strong as the connections between its team members. Building trust and learning to value each other’s strengths is extremely important. As a result, ESFPs are often networkers, connecting people to the information or resources that they need. If one person is having trouble solving a problem or accessing certain information, ESFPs are often the connectors who are able to refer them to someone who can help them or suggest that they reference specific materials that they may not have previously considered. While ESFPs may have trouble working within a corporate organizational structure or meeting tight deadlines, they bring value in their ability to facilitate others adhering to those timelines.
Another way that ESFPs contribute to the workplace is by reducing team stress. They are generally non-judgmental and enjoy sharing their upbeat, carefree love of life with others. Somewhat ironically, this approach can stress out other team members who handle stress by dedicating themselves to their work and completing the task at hand. Furthermore, ESFPs may themselves become stressed or put off by team members who are overly critical, negative, or downright pessimistic themselves, even if their positions are realistic. Nonetheless, taking a break may be enough to clear their heads and come back to the task refreshed and rejuvenated.
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ESFPs and Workplace Culture: Laid-back and Hands-on
Ultimately, ESFPs are interested in new people and experiences. They prefer to engage with the world directly rather than through books or other media and prefer to have conversations face-to-face rather than over e-mail or text. They thrive in workplace environments that are lively, where there are always different events and activities going on. They also enjoy working around other energetic people who are equally easy going and focused on living in the moment. They need coworkers who are adaptable and spontaneous, who are willing to explore creative solutions to problems and question assumptions that might constrain how they approach those problems. At the same time, they need to be able to have those discussions in a harmonious, friendly way, where disagreements are treated as discussions rather than personal affronts.
ESFPs’ action-oriented personality carries over into how they approach their job as well, to the extent that they may become irritated or frustrated if others on their teams are too serious or contemplative, or if they lack the interpersonal or social skills that ESFPs value so highly. However, those who ESFPs perceive as being “serious” may also be those who keep projects focused and moving, and who value internal and external deadlines that earn the team recognition. ESFPs should try to understand that staying focused and working efficiently actually leaves more time for enjoyment and recreation. Furthermore, a bit of preparation and forethought can increase efficiency even more.
One way that ESFPs can focus more effectively is to take the time to clarify and prioritize their commitments. This way, they can determine what the most and least important tasks are, and what they should focus on first. Approaching large amounts of work systematically can ensure that critical tasks are completed first. Being able to triage in this way will also build trust with their teammates.
ESFPs and Leadership in The Workplace: Supportive and Passionate
ESFPs’ social and team building skills make them exceptional leaders. They are able to clearly define roles and motivate their direct reports in a warm, sympathetic way that inspires others to follow them. However, they rarely have patience for team members who fail to appreciate others’ contributions or who behave in ways that they see as less than gentile. Their greatest weakness is their tendency to overlook consequences or not think through the implications of a course of action sufficiently before making a decision, and they may also become irritated by team members who they perceive as being indecisive or overly analytical. As such, ESFPs may find value in learning to take a step back and consider the logical conclusions and implications of any decision that they make. ESFPs approach decisions by focusing on how their actions will benefit individuals, and they favor choices that resonate with their own values. While they may become distracted by new information and occasionally make decisions too quickly, their intentions are good and their fun-loving, even jovial leadership style makes them a pleasure to work with and under.
In addition to developing their organizational skills, ESFPs should also be conscious of their tendency to biased in giving opportunities and evaluating their own and others’ performance. When evaluating others’ performance, they tend to be more lenient with those with whom they have a better relationship or who are similarly outgoing. For example, if two employees make a similar mistake but one is having a better relationship with their ESFP mentor, the ESFP will likely be more understanding of the individual with whom they have a better relationship, rather than evaluating the mistake and its impact objectively. This perceived double-standard can cause some employees to lose respect for them.
As ESFPs continue to grow and develop as leaders, they should consider the value of rules and a corporate structure. While having a strong relationship with one’s coworkers is important, it is equally important to maintain a professional distance as appropriate. For example, if a coworker is particularly talkative, being able to create distance to focus on a task at hand is not only expected but necessary. Developing this level of discipline can take time and effort, but the benefits are extraordinary.
ESFPs and Problem Solving in The Workplace: Creative and Humanized
ESFPs solve problems in creative but humanized ways. They make an effort to involve many different individuals in brainstorming, and do not start pruning or narrowing down their options until they are confident that all opinions have been voiced. Furthermore, ESFPs tend to value solutions that satisfy the immediate needs of people, whether they are their coworkers, people in their communities, or people they may never have come into contact with under any circumstance. ESFPs are most limited in their need to take action quickly—every moment lost is a moment that the issue at hand is negatively impacting others. However, this haste to act can result in their not adequately considering all aspects of the problem they are trying to resolve.
ESFPs generally avoid interpersonal conflicts and even withdraw from intellectual conversations that become passionate or heated. To them, maintaining relationships and cordiality is paramount, even more important than pursuing truth or gathering information. While making a realistic, concrete assessment of a situation or conflict is important to them, ensuring that everyone walks away from the conversation feeling satisfied and fulfilled is even more important. Unlike some more thinking personality types, ESFPs do not typically always want relationships based on intellectual conversation. Instead, they bond with others through activities and action.
ESFPs and Areas of Growth in The Workplace: Focus and Discipline
Though ESFPs are already well-liked and active in the workplace, there are certain ways that they can improve to become even more effective in the workplace.
First, ESFPs may need to rein in their creativity and see the value of structure—resisting hierarchy or organization for its own sake is not necessarily valuable or beneficial, and it can cost the organization social position or connections that would have been beneficial in the long-run. This is not to say that creative approaches are never appropriate, but rather that they should be applied strategically for maximum impact.
Second, ESFPs act quickly and decisively with the goal of impacting the greatest number of individuals in the shortest time possible. However, they may need to take the time to see the big picture, gather more information, and understand that sometimes waiting for more information to come to light can be the optimal strategy, even though it feels like nothing is being done at the moment. Furthermore, demonstrating that they are able to make decisions patiently and calmly can help them win the trust and loyalty of their direct reports.
Finally, ESFPs are highly social individuals who may spend too much time developing friendships and not enough time accomplishing salient tasks. They may need to focus and target their social skills so they can be utilized in practical ways, for instance, in obtaining resources or information that would help them complete specific tasks. One way of focusing is to develop a schedule and stick to it. For example, an ESFP might take a 5-minute break every hour to walk around the office and check-in with others before returning to their desk and the task at hand.
With a little effort, ESFPs can become even more valuable and impactful employees and leaders.
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Learn More About the MBTI ESFP Personality Type
Explore additional information that delves deeper into the ESFP Personality Type by examining various personality and career based subjects:
- How the MBTI ESFP Type relates to Innovation
- How the MBTI ESFP Type relates to Project Management
- How the MBTI ESFP Type relates to Emotional Intelligence
- How the MBTI ESFP Type relates to Leadership
- How the MBTI ESFP Type relates to Communication
Click on a link below to read more about different MBTI Personality Types
Introduction to Type (Isabel Briggs Myers, 1998, CPP Inc.)
Introduction to Type and Careers (Allen L. Hammer, 2007, CPP Inc.)
Introduction to Type and Leadership (Richmond, S. CPP. 2008)
Introduction to Type and Learning (Dunning, D. CPP. 2008)
Introduction To Type® and Emotional Intelligence. (Pearman, R. CPP, 2002)
Introduction To Type in Organizations (Hirsh, S. & Kummerow, J. CPP Inc., 1998)