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ESTJ - Extraverted Sensing Thinking Judging

Life's Administrators

ESTJs perceive the world "as it is" (Sensing) and translate those perceptions objectively (Thinking); as Extraverted-Judgers, they have a driving need to impose their judgments on the world around them with structure, schedule, and order. They are life's administrators.

Instinctly in charge

It is as natural and inborn for ESTJs to manage (although not necessarily to lead) as it is for fish to swim. Grounded, organized, exacting, socially deft, gregarious, academically capable, and always appropriate, ESTJs are seen by others as dependable, practical, and able to get the job done -- whatever the job may be. It is easy for ESTJs to end up in the top positions of any organization. Their inherent administrative skills make the family, the work force, the neighborhood, the church, or any other group appropriate arenas for them to administer and manage. ESTJs' need for control prompts them always to say yes when asked to assume positions of responsibility.

Party time

Often given to a raucous sense of humor, the ESTJ is a partygoer and party-doer who is always ready with a quick joke, a ready exchange, or an unsolicited opinion on almost anything. Whether or not one likes an ESTJ, one usually knows where the ESTJ stands on virtually any subject. Among ESTJs there are some sharp differences between genders, because of all the sixteen types this is the most conventionally masculine. Each of its four components -- Extraversion, Sensing, Thinking, and Judging -- falls on the tougher, more objective side of the line between the preference alternatives.

Male ESTJs

As a result, ESTJs males tend to be very "macho", and their humor often the most sexist and racist of all sixteen types. ESTJ outgoingness, assertiveness, practicality, firm-mindedness, and decisiveness tend to make them good protectors and providers -- roles more generally associated with the male of the species.

ESTJ females

The ESTJ female, though satisfied with her own femininity, may be torn between inner promptings that say, "Be tough, assertive, firm-minded, and decisive", and the traditional feminine model, which says, "Be soft, passive, gentle-hearted, and adaptive." The ensuing struggle is more dramatic for the ESTJ female than for any other type. While all Thinking-type females swim upstream in our society, in no type is that more apparent and prevalent than in the ESTJ.


In relating, as in all else, ESTJs are comfortable taking charge. Decisive and opinionated, they are easy to get along with as long as they are listened to and allowed to control. Generally, ESTJs and ISTJs would prefer to surround themselves with yes-people, though they would deny it.


ESTJ parents have sharply defined roles, and each family member (mate and children) is expected to respond accordingly to the ESTJ's definitions. A "father" is the provider and final judge, for example, a "mother" keeps home and does wifely duties, and "children" obey and respond to the authority of their parents. (ESTJs may allow a "father" or "mother" to be a "friend" as well, but only at scheduled, defined intervals.) When family members respond to ESTJ expectations, things tend to go smoothly for all concerned. The problems come when a mate or child of another type has more resistance to the ESTJ's control (ENTJs or ISTPs, for example), or is more driven to self-determination (particularly NPs).

Important things

Home, family, parenting, and children are among the central and motivating commitments of the ESTJ's life. When all else fails, appeals to an ESTJ's parental duty and responsibility will bring the parent around to considering, if not going along with, whatever program is being offered. Our hunch: More encyclopedias, home-learning kits, how-to-raise-better-kids books, and other "family programs" have been sold to ESTJs by appealing to "parental responsibility" than to any other type.

Living style

The ESTJs' living style, like most other things, is controlled and organized. Family is one more thing to manage. Hard work, tight schedules, and solid merit-based awards are hallmarks of the ESTJ life. Fun, relaxation, and free time are scheduled and doled out (to self and others) according to how well one has adhered to standard operating procedures and other regulations. Good work brings good rewards; hard work is its own relaxation. Certain male activities -- such as golf, beer-drinking, and poker -- are scheduled for relaxation, as are certain female activities -- gardening, tennis, or shopping, for example.

Growing up

As children, ESTJs are usually socially active, take-charge types. Such behavior is much more welcome in boys than girls, but ESTJ girls display it just as readily as boys. As a result, ESTJ girls grow accustomed to hearing "Little girls don't behave that way.". (Ironically, this is most likely heared from an ESTJ male parent.) Such statements may have considerable impact on their future feminine development. In general, ESTJ children play hard, give orders to all (parents included), and want two main things: that their parents be parents and act according; and that structure, schedule, and definition be imposed upon them by someone. They may protest such imposition, but in the long run an ESTJ appreciates -- indeed, relies on -- the security that such authority brings. ESTJ children are both responsible and testing -- responsible to parents and friends who take command, but sure to keep testing that authority in order to assure themselves that it can be relied upon. This may best be illustrated at bedtime, as the ESTJ child resists and protests going to bed, yet appreciates immensely a parent who enforces bedtime rituals.


Things are no different in the classroom. A teacher's job is to teach, be organized, be a good role model, dress appropriately, be decisive, and follow a lesson plan. ESTJ students will respond and prove to be rather scholarly students, albeit somewhat mouthy and argumentative. Courses that are the most structured, with practical, tangible results, will appeal most to ESTJ students. Their academic prowess continues up the academic ladder, although they tend to have less patience with the more abstract theories at the college level. They are frustrated by iNtuitive-Perceiving professors (who dominate at the college level), whose lectures don't follow stated outlines and whose material isn't limited to the factual and concrete.

Family events

Family events and rituals are the symbols of an ESTJs' cultural heritage, whatever that culture may be, and therefore must be honored with the strictest adherence and most loyal obedience. ESTJ children and adults alike look forward to the birthdays, holy days, and annual family reunions. Though ESTJs may protest, sometimes vehemently, about attending such events, it would never occur to them not to be present. They might even be surprised to hear that another type was "hurt" by their protesting.


Two slogans that describe ESTJs' philosophy in the workplace are "Don't fix what ain't broken." and "Anything worth doing is worth doing well.". Both statements drive ESTJs. Fiercely loyal and extremely compulsive, they move up the administrative ladder in any organization. They spend money well and are naturals at marketing and at selling their own effectiveness. They are superb at developing sound management policies and committed to their own models as the best ways of doing something. They are quick to venture into many areas, take charge of those areas, more often than not prove successful, and develop a following of subordinates who come to trust the ESTJ's take-charge nature.


ESTJs are very conscious of the chain of command. For them, work is a series of goals, to be reached by following rules and regulations issued by the upper ranks of an organization's hierarchy. The system, and its regulations, are good, self-protecting, and self-perpetuating. By following them and working hard, ESTJs believe the system will, in turn, serve them. ESTJs give loyalty to the office and to the organization as a whole, though not necessarily to specific individuals therein.

Later in life

Hard work carries ESTJs to the end of life. Rewards, degrees, gold watches, and certificates are given in due season. Retirement is one more thing to be scheduled and planned. Except for an occasional respite, ESTJs' later years are still scheduled and regimented, though sometimes less so than before.

Famous ESTJs

Famous likely ESTJs include Harry S Truman ("Give 'em hell" Harry knew where the buck stopped and never shirked responsibility); Peanut's Lucy van Pelt (who has an answer to most any problem brought to her psychiatric booth -- and never fails to collect her fee immediately); Archie Bunker (who abrasively protests all his wife Edith's sensible suggestions, but ultimately gives in and plays his responsible parental role); and Joan Rivers (whose quick, macho wit and steamroller style are often caustic and abrasive). Also Brigham Young.
More info: Please Understand Me Personality type index

Morris Cox/