ESTJ Personality Traits

Medically reviewed by Nikki Ciletti, M.Ed, LPC
Updated April 29, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Personality tests have long been interesting to those who want to develop a deeper understanding of who they are and why. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the more popular such tests available today. Its output takes the form of one of 16 distinct personality types, with a title and set of common characteristics for each. ESTJ is one of these 16 types. See below for a brief overview of the test itself along with highlights of this personality type.

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The origin of the Myers-Briggs test

In his book, Psychological Types (1921), well-known psychologist Carl Jung proposed four main functions of consciousness, which include two perceiving functions and two judging functions. Inspired by his research, an American mother-daughter team—Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers—developed what they believed was a more convenient way for the general public to understand Jung’s concepts of cognitive function. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was born as a result in 1943. There’s some debate about the scientific validity of this type of test; nevertheless, many people have found it enlightening and helpful for both personal and professional use. 

MBTI type basics

The output of the MBTI is a combination of four letters. The four letters represent different tendencies, as follows, per an excerpt from the MBTI Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, written by Isabel Briggs Myers:

  • Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world, or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I).
  • Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in, or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).
  • Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).
  • Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided, or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).

According to this structure, someone with the ESTJ type tends to be extroverted (E), takes in information at face value (S), focuses on logic and consistency when making decisions (T), and prefers to have things decided rather than left open-ended (J). 

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An overview of the ESTJ type

Remember that the MBTI is not intended to be a clinical or diagnostic tool. The characteristics it outlines for each type are generalizations or tendencies that may not be applicable to every person who receives a particular result.

As with all personality traits or types, there are both strengths and potential areas for development within the ESTJ type, and these individuals can benefit from self-exploration and personal development like any other.

The ESTJ type is commonly referred to as “the executive” or “the organizer”. ESTJs tend to be goal-oriented, incredibly driven, and reliable and efficient in their work, although this focus can sometimes make it difficult for them to relax. They often gravitate toward leadership roles and typically value structure, stability, organization, and tradition. 

The extroverted aspect of their personality can result in an extensive network of contacts in both social and professional circles. Their relationships are usually rooted in honesty and logic, as ESTJs tend to be straightforward and direct. This quality can contribute to their strong leadership capabilities, though it may make them seem insensitive and uncaring to some. 

Some of the best career paths for ESTJs include sales, politics, public administration, corporate management, and law enforcement. Someone with an ESTJ personality type might draw career inspiration from some of the most well-known ESTJs, including: 

  • Judge Judy
  • Kamala Harris
  • George W. Bush
  • Emma Watson
  • Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Bernie Sanders
  • Barbara Walters

Potential areas of growth for ESTJs

Every individual has the potential for personal growth, including those with the ESTJ type according to the Myers-Briggs personality test. Their straightforwardness, reliability, and organization often helps them find success in whatever they put their minds to, as evidenced by the list above of ESTJ politicians and other accomplished public figures. However, balance may be key for an ESTJ to thrive in all areas of life.

Because of their driven nature, they may find it hard to connect to and express their emotions at times. Their singular focus on their goals can help them achieve great things and win accolades, but it can also make them come off as brusque, cold, or disconnected at times. While they’re often loyal and patient, they can be inflexible and even judgmental when potential obstacles arise as they pursue their goals. Since they thrive on order, they may be uncomfortable in unconventional or unpredictable situations. 

As such, ESTJs may benefit from connecting more meaningfully to their emotional side. They might practice seeing things from another person’s point of view and being open to new ideas from time to time, rather than rigidly relying on “the way things have always been done”. Finally, ESTJs may have trouble unplugging from work or other pursuits enough to cultivate relationships, take care of their health, or enjoy themselves. As such, they may find techniques for managing stress and finding work-life balance to be helpful.

How ESTJs can benefit from therapy

Again, virtually any individual of any personality type can benefit from dedicating some energy to personal growth, balance, and positive mental health, all of which a therapist can help support. For ESTJs in particular, therapy can be a safe space where they can learn to more openly express and process their emotions—something they may not be used to doing anywhere else. A therapist can also help them learn healthy coping mechanisms for managing stress and handling the uncertainties and changes in plans that inevitably occur in life. ESTJs or any others who may be experiencing signs of a mental health condition or who are having difficulty processing a traumatic experience may also benefit from the compassionate support of a therapist.

If you are experiencing trauma, support is available. Please see our Get Help Now page for more resources.

ESTJs often have busy schedules, which can leave little time for commuting to and from in-person therapy appointments. That’s why some may find online therapy to be more convenient. With an online therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can get matched with a licensed therapist who you can meet with via phone, video call, and/or in-app messaging. Research suggests that face-to-face and internet therapy may be “equally effective” in most cases, so you can typically choose the format that works best for you.

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Understanding yourself can be valuable

Takeaway

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality test that will offer the test-taker one of sixteen possible personality types that seems to best fit them based on their answers to various questions. While it’s not intended to be a clinical or diagnostic tool, it may provide interesting insights into one’s personality. ESTJs are one of the sixteen types, and they tend to be driven, organized, reliable, and straightforward. Like all types, ESTJs may benefit from focusing on personal growth and balance in therapy.
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