The Organizer

ESTJ Careers

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The ESTJ personality type has Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking, and Judging personality traits. They're organized and logical. They enjoy bringing order and structure to any situation.

The ESTJ personality type is the most common of the 16 Myers-Briggs (MBTI) personality types. 9.3%  of the population are ESTJs.

For ESTJs, integrity and honesty matter. They don't like laziness and they uphold rules and standards. ESTJs take action based on concrete facts and personal experiences.

People with the ESTJ personality type are good networkers. They're adept at organizing others to get the job done. They are hardworking, conscientious, and efficient. They aren't afraid of making tough decisions when required. They're also found in leadership roles within their communities.

Illustration of a person drawing up designs for a building

The ESTJ at work

ESTJs thrive within businesses that have well-defined structures and policies. ESTJs enjoy and excel at organizing projects, processes, and people. ESTJs like creating an efficient and structured work environment.

Within teams and projects, ESTJs will deliver assigned tasks - on time and to a high standard. They enjoy management positions where they can uphold organizational policies and procedures. As managers, ESTJs are excellent at setting expectations. They give clear guidance on how to complete tasks.

ESTJs love to bring people together to solve problems. They usually have a network of strong and positive professional relationships and contacts. They are adept at mobilizing resources to deliver a project.

Their preference is to do this within standardized and well-understood structures. ESTJs are much better at getting the cogs in a machine working together than they are at reinventing the machine entirely. An uncertain or volatile work environment with high levels of change can prove unsettling to ESTJs.

This doesn't mean that ESTJs aren't interested in improvement. ESTJs love an opportunity to optimize business operations and increase efficiency and productivity. But, large-scale transformation or too much blue-sky thinking can seem wasteful to ESTJs. They prefer action to what they may perceive as 'navel-gazing'.

Typically, ESTJs are logical and pragmatic decision-makers. They rely on their previous experience to help them make judgments. ESTJs are interested in facts and data rather than emotion or intuition. This can mean they can dismiss new ideas too quickly. Also, they may miss out on potential opportunities for growth.

ESTJs lead by example. They aren't afraid to tackle tough projects. Their clear and rational thought processes and hard work are more than a match for most tasks. ESTJs set high expectations for themselves and others. They value competence, reliability, and a strong work ethic.

If people don't meet these standards, ESTJs won't hesitate to express their disappointment. This can lead others to perceive them as judgmental. ESTJs don't mean to be insensitive. Their strong convictions about how things should be done can make them inflexible.

The overarching desire to see tasks to completion can help ESTJs moderate this tendency. They know they need to rely on others to get things done effectively.

Like all of us, ESTJ personality types have intrinsic traits that influence their motivation for working in a certain way and within specific work environments.

At F4S, we've identified 48 traits that influence motivation and energy levels. Understanding these traits can help you choose job roles, cultures, and workplace environments that will enable you to thrive.

These preferences are intrinsic. But we don't always have the luxury of finding a workplace or a way of working that exactly matches our needs. Coaching can help you build skills and resilience when you need to perform in a work environment less suited to your preferences.

Our 8-week coaching program, 'Increase EQ', can help ESTJs develop their emotional intelligence. This helps them become more aware of the feelings and sensitivities of others. This can support them in building more effective working relationships.

Working with an ESTJ

ESTJ colleagues are highly dependable and task-focused. Team members know they can rely on their ESTJ teammates to get work done. ESTJs take responsibility for seeing projects through to completion. They are also excellent at organizing others. They allocate work fairly and manage resources efficiently.

People with the ESTJ personality type are valued for their rational decision-making and clear communication. This can be very reassuring when teams are facing complex or high-pressure challenges. ESTJs can help bring order to chaos and will set clear expectations for how things should be done.

ESTJs like adhering to tried-and-tested methods. This can prove frustrating to colleagues who prefer more flexible or innovative approaches. ESTJs are likely to become stressed when working with teammates who are disorganized, inefficient, or don't follow through on their commitments.

Best careers for ESTJ

ESTJ personality types are happiest in careers where they can bring people together to deliver tasks and meet business goals. Like all personality types, ESTJs can be found in a range of careers and industries.

However, they are likely to be most satisfied in jobs where they can organize and manage people and resources within a structured, process-led organization. The ESTJ personality slots neatly into many traditional leadership roles. They also fit well with various business administration, project management, and process improvement roles.

Top careers for ESTJs include:

Sciences and health

  • Civil engineer
  • Pharmacist
  • Laboratory technician
  • Dentist
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Athletic trainer

Creative arts

  • Performance director
  • Stage manager

Business

  • Project manager
  • Auditor
  • Business executive
  • Bank manager
  • University administrator
  • Process information consultant
  • Office manager
  • Financial counselor
  • Tax preparer
  • Management consultant
  • Business analyst
  • Operations manager

Information technology

  • Database administrator
  • IT training manager
  • IT service desk

Education, philosophy, academia, and law

  • Attorney
  • Judge
  • Paralegal assistant
  • School principal

Miscellaneous

  • Police officer
  • Military officer
  • Activist
  • Construction manager
  • Factory supervisor
  • Real estate agent
  • Airline pilot
  • Hotel manager
  • Policy maker
  • Property manager
  • Building inspector
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ESTJ-A vs. ESTJ-T

ESTJs can be sub-categorized into assertive or turbulent identities. These identities affect all four elements that make up an ESTJ personality type.

Within the constraints of their overall type, assertive identities tend to be less protective of their own position. They also tend to be more flexible. Turbulent identities tend to be more robust in defense of their ideas and approach.

These two sub-categories bring a little more nuance to elements of the ESTJ personality type. More self-assured ESTJ-As feel confident that they can handle any direct challenge to their way of being. This leads them to be more flexible within their absolute boundaries. ESTJ-Ts, however, are more likely to be inflexible toward changing their position.

This defensive instinct in ESTJ-Ts is moderated by their greater need to maintain personal and professional relationships. ESTJ-As are - within the constraints of the Extroverted trait - more independent. They are less in need of others than ESTJ-Ts.

On balance, this means ESTJ-Ts end up more open to the opinions and ideas of others. They logically reason that this will enable greater effectiveness. This can help ESTJ-Ts create more productive relationships. But, it can mean that they are more susceptible to the stress and anxiety that may come from straying too far from their own authenticity.

Given these nuances, let's look at how some of the careers we mentioned above might suit the two identity sub-categories:

ESTJ-A careers

  • Attorney
  • Judge
  • Activist
  • Military soldier
  • Dentist
  • Pharmacist
  • Police officer
  • Airline pilot

ESTJ-T careers:

  • Hotel manager
  • Construction manager
  • School principal
  • Project manager
  • Real estate agent
  • Bank manager
  • IT training manager
  • Policy maker

Highest paying careers for ESTJ

ESTJs thrive in careers that require rational decision-making, are process-driven, and demand high personal standards and integrity.

Some science and healthcare roles are highly paid. The average salary for dentists comes in at US$175,671. Mechanical engineers can earn US$80,064 and pharmacists US$143,925.

ESTJs' leadership skills and good business acumen can lead to some lucrative careers. While the salary of Chief Executive Officers can vary widely, the average is US$796,134.

Other highly-paid options include:

  • School principal (average base pay: US$112,65)
  • Attorney (average base pay: US$98,633)
  • Airline pilot (average base pay: US$143,701)

ESTJ strengths and weaknesses

At F4S, we don't think about strengths and weaknesses the same way as the MBTI tool does. We believe that strengths and weaknesses are often situation-dependent.

We prefer to look at what motivates you versus what drains your energy. These elements might overlap with what Myers-Briggs describes as strengths and weaknesses, but not always.

For example, perhaps (like many ESTJs) you have a real strength in organizing people and resources to deliver results. Your sense of purpose comes from tackling challenging business problems and seeing tasks through to completion.

However, senior management undervalues your projects. They consistently cut the funding streams that will enable you to move work forward. Constantly fighting for the resources you need to get the job done becomes exhausting. This leaves you frustrated that work can't progress as efficiently as you'd like.

Equally, perhaps there is something you love doing, that motivates and energizes you, but you're not very skilled at it yet. It might not be considered an innate 'strength', but you're way more likely to enjoy your career choice if you can find a job with some elements of that activity.

That said, here are some ESTJ 'strengths and weaknesses' as listed by MBTI:

ESTJ strengths

  • Organized
  • Reliable
  • Hard-working
  • Excellent communicator
  • Clear-thinking and rational
  • Strong-minded and dedicated

ESTJ weaknesses

  • Judgmental
  • Inflexible
  • Stubbornness
  • Lacking empathy

ESTJ careers to avoid

Our Myers-Briggs personality type offers insight into our likely preferences for how we work and what type of careers we might enjoy. However, it's important to note that any personality type can be successful across all industries and job roles.

Our preferences may mean certain types of work and work environments are more challenging for us. However, if you're highly motivated to pursue a particular career path, there's no reason you can't excel.

Motivation is personal and complicated. There can be both internal and external drivers for motivation. Increased self-awareness helps you identify the internal traits that drive your preferences for how, where, and when you work.

At F4S, we recommend starting with our free self-assessment. This will unlock insights about where your talents lie and how you can best harness your preferences to create a satisfying and successful career.

However, sometimes there are also strong external motivating factors. For example, a lucrative pay packet, comprehensive benefits, or the ability to work from a specific location.

External motivations may result in you working in an environment that jars with your intrinsic motivation. Personal development programs and coaching can help you rachet up the skills needed to excel when working in ways less suited to your preferences.

So, if there is something you're excited about trying, you should definitely explore it even if your MBTI result suggests you might be better suited to something else.

ESTJs enjoy working and managing within a structured, process-driven organization. They excel at organizing work, people, and resources to deliver business benefits.

ESTJs are hardworking and enjoy collaborating with teammates in a productive, efficient way. While they thrive at bringing order to chaos, too much uncertainty or a work culture that prizes innovation and creativity may prove unsettling.

Given this, some roles typically have work environments or approaches that may be more challenging for ESTJs. Remember, this list is just a guideline of job types you might not enjoy or find draining, it doesn't mean you won't excel at them.

The following job types may be less suited to ESTJ personality types:

  • Artist
  • Pre-school teacher
  • Start-up founder
  • Professional development coach
  • Childcare provider
  • Social worker
  • Psychologist
  • Veterinary assistant
  • Forestry worker

ESTJ leadership

As we mentioned above, here at F4S, we're fascinated by what motivates people. When considering leadership, it's important to reflect on these three particular traits:

  • Whether you enjoy power and control
  • How much you value belonging
  • How much you're motivated by achievement

If you enjoy power and control, you will likely thrive in a leadership role. If belonging is important to you, then a leadership position may feel isolating.

For ESTJ personality types, feeling in control is of high importance. Managerial roles are appealing to ESTJs. They perceive them to offer more power to structure things to suit their approach.

Management also gives them positional authority. This means they can ensure their team members complete tasks according to the policies and procedures they mandate.

While micromanaging can be a blind spot for ESTJ leaders, they are not trying to be controlling for the sake of it. ESTJs have such a strong sense of what's right that it's hard for them to do things in ways that don't fit with their ideas.

ESTJs will staunchly defend their team to more senior management. They will protect them from criticism as required.

More flexible ESTJs appreciate that by not taking the time to listen to others, they will sometimes miss out on new and - though it pains them to say it - better ideas. These ESTJs work hard to overcome their resistance to novel and creative approaches. They know that, ultimately, they might improve efficiency.

ESTJs are motivated by achievement and set high standards for both their own and their team's performance. The ESTJ leadership style is not naturally empathetic. Yet, they see how a harmonious team environment can impact productivity so they try to create a positive culture.

This is usually achieved by effective goal setting, direct communication, and assignment of clear roles and responsibilities rather than motivational speeches or team happy hours.

If you're interested in getting the most from your team through delivering transformational feedback, try our eight-week development program 'Multiply Your Impact'.

This program is personalized to work with your innate preferences helping you to lead with greater impact irrespective of personality type.

ESTJ teamwork

ESTJ colleagues are valued for their ability to meet their work responsibilities on time and to a high standard. They are hardworking and enjoy contributing to task completion.

They are not afraid of tackling challenging tasks. Their logical thinking and clear communication can make even complex projects feel easier for everyone involved.

People with the ESTJ personality type are resilient and shoulder responsibility well. They tend to enjoy strong and productive professional relationships.

ESTJs excel at bringing people and resources together to maximize output. They have a well-developed network and know who to approach to get things done effectively and efficiently.

An ESTJ person has a clear sense of how to manage tasks. They can seem inflexible or even stubborn if their approach is questioned. They are open to change if new ideas can be proven to be better but will only be swayed by facts and data, not hypotheses and rhetoric.

ESTJs are receptive to developmental feedback from their colleagues if they can see how it will improve their personal effectiveness.

ESTJ celebrities

From Sandra Day O'Connor, a U.S Supreme Court Justice, to the civil rights activist Ella Baker, ESTJs are recognized for their organization, rational decision-making, and strong convictions.

Here are some famous ESTJs:

Ella Baker
Ella Baker was an ESTJ. Baker was a civil rights activist whose career spanned five decades, from the 1930s to her death in 1986. She worked with many notable civil rights leaders. Baker used her exceptional organizing ability and networking skills to bring people together for rallies and conferences across the United States. She promoted grass-roots activism and mentored other activists within the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor is an ESTJ. Day O'Connor served for 25 years as a Supreme Court Justice. She was the first woman ever to be appointed to the position. Being the only female on the court did not prevent Day O'Connor from taking a stand on contentious issues, voting with careful consideration. She tried to advance her agenda through collegiality, often requesting to eat lunch with her fellow judges.
Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer is an ESTJ. Ballmer is the former CEO of Microsoft and owner of the NBA team, the Los Angeles Clippers. Ballmer has a reputation for rational decision-making based on facts, not instinct. He required detailed business justification for the development of new products at Microsoft. Ballmer ignored things he viewed as flash-in-the-pan trends.
Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama is an ESTJ. Obama is an American attorney and former first lady of the United States. She excels at bringing people together to tackle challenging issues, holding many leadership positions in public sector organizations and nonprofits. Obama is known for her work ethic. It is well documented that she rose at 4.30 am during her time as the first lady so she could work out before starting her day.
King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands
King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands is an ESTJ. Willem-Alexander worked hard prior to his accession and sat on the board of several international committees. He speaks five languages. As monarch, he remains dedicated to his work and a champion of Dutch culture.
Judith Sheindlin
Judith Sheindlin is an ESTJ. Former Manhattan Family Court judge, Sheindlin now oversees proceedings on the reality show Judge Judy. She is known for her no-nonsense approach. Sheindlin upholds strict court procedures with clear expectations for behavior. Sheindlin isn't interested in emotional stories. She requires statements and arguments to be concise and fact-led only.
Emma Watson
Emma Watson is an ESTJ. The British actor and activist is extremely hardworking. She combined acting with education and graduated from Brown's University with a degree in English literature. Watson uses her excellent networking skills as a UN Goodwill Ambassador. In 2019, she was appointed to a G7 advisory body consulting with world leaders on foreign policy to support women's rights.
General Douglas MacArthur
General Douglas MacArthur was an ESTJ. He was one of the most well-known military leaders. General MacArthur earned over 100 military decorations. He led soldiers in both the First and Second World Wars. General MacArthur did not shy away from tough decisions, most notably the decisions about the leadership of Japan after its surrender in World War II.

Editor's Note: Do you recognize yourself in any of these famous people? Are you secretly nodding along, going, “I always thought I was just like Michelle Obama?” Whether you are or you aren’t, don’t worry! This list is meant to be fairly light-hearted. It is based on traits and behaviors observed in our favorite celebs rather than in-depth research. After all, it’s unlikely anyone actually put Ella Baker through an MBTI test!

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