General Douglas MacArthur – Who Likes ESTJ’s and Who Doesn’t?

By Jack Speer | November 17, 2014

The Likability Index – Who Likes ESTJ’s and Who Doesn’t? 


Who Likes ESTJ’s and who doesn’t?  If you are an ESTJ, love someone of that type, work for an ESTJ, or have one of that type on your staff, or if you have ESTJ colleagues, you may agree that there are two decidedly different camps when it comes to who likes and doesn’t like ESTJ’s.

ESTJ’s are critical to the success of almost every most organization. In cases where the goal is clearly defined and there are people and resources to achieve that goal, ESTJ’s are key to achieving those objectives. When they understand and believe in the objective, there is little that can stop them to achieve it. ESTJ’s are one of the most successful types in their ability to put people and resources together to accomplish an objective. (For a complete description of the ESTJ, go to the Interactive Type Table,

General Douglas MacArthur (1880 – 1964), an ESTJ type, was one of the most colorful, popular, and controversial American Generals. During the most critical period of World War II, he was one of the youngest people ever to be promoted to general, and he served as chief of staff to many important generals before he was appointed one himself. He is a dynamic example of the ESTJ’s relentless determination to achieve a goal.

In 1941, lacking troops and supplies needed to succeed, MacArthur was forced to flee the Japanese in the Philippines, escaping in a small boat. As an ESTJ, he never accepted that he would not achieve the mission he had been given. As he left, he uttered his famous statement, “I shall return.” That he did in 1944, stepping off his landing boat, and wading onto the shore, he retook the island nation from the Japanese. Later, in charge of the occupation of post-war Japan, he helped reorganize the country into the modern democracy it is today.

But he did not always remain popular. In 1950, General MacArthur was given the command of the forces by President Harry Truman to save the Korean peninsula from the North Korean Communist forces who had invaded the south. China felt their back yard was being invaded and sent in massive troops.

MacArthur, who had been part of the leadership in both World War I and II, was determined to do what it took to defeat the Chinese and asked permission from President Truman to bomb China, a growing Communist world power. MacArthur’s ESTJ characteristics – his relentless pursuit of the mission he had been given – brought him into conflict with President Harry Truman, who refused. In the ensuring argument he fired MacArthur, a national hero. President Truman believed that in firing MacArthur, he was protecting the division between elected officials and military power.

MacArthur believed that invading China was the only way his mission could be completed, that without the invasion, he could not win. He wanted a definitive goal: the surrender of the U.S. enemy. Not achieving a decisive victory violated MacArthur’s ESTJ value system.

View the rest of the Likeability Index Series:
MBTI Likeability Index Overview

There is a Lot to Like About an ESTJ

1.  People in the military hierarchy like ESTJ’s because they can accomplish a defined mission. A mission like D-Day, the invasion of the European Continent that brought about the victory of the Allies in World War II, required a strategy of both iNtuitives and Sensors such as Dwight D. Eisenhower (INTJ), General George Patton (ESTP), as well as ISTJ and ISTP’s, but most likely those in charge of the landing of troops and supplies were managed by ESTJ’s.

2.  Senior management often recruit ESTJ’s to accomplish a task that has a clear goal which can be accomplished step by step over a measurable period of time. ESTJ’s are superb at project management, logistics, and the many other tasks that require professional execution with the highest of standards. ESTJ’s can create teams, team organization, and are great mentors and coaches. They can maintain cohesive groups and keep them on track from beginning to end of a project.

3.  Charitable organizations, civic groups, and religious organizations love ESTJ’s.  ESTJ’s work well within traditional structures with other traditionally oriented personality types such as the ISTJ, who has a great affinity for tradition. The ESTJ can ally well with visionary types such as the INFJ and INFP who respect ESTJs for the ability to operationalize their vision.

4. Families love ESTJ’s. The ESTJ makes a great traditional partner and is generally committed to long-term relationships and is attentive to children. The ESTJ partner is patient in teaching children sports or household skills, and are loving family members.

But not everybody likes an ESTJ

1. ESTJ’s can have really sharp elbows when it comes to getting things done. Once they have an objective in their sights, ESTJ’s tend to believe that the shortest way between two points is a straight line, and anything that slows them down should be shoved out of the way. Feeling types–ESFJ’s, ISFJ’s, ESFP’s, ISFP’s, ENFP’s, INFP’s, ENFJ’s, INFJ’s–those who value feelings and group harmony, sometimes believe that we should slow down and let people catch up, while the ESTJ elbowing his/her way through the crowd to the goal can seem like insensitive behavior on the part of the ESTJ.

2. ESTJ’s will frustrate change-oriented personality types when fundamental change is needed.  ENTJ’s, INTJ’s, and ENFP’s, who are often change agents when industries require deep restructuring, can see ESTJ’s as barriers to change that will help re-create a product, service, or organization. ESTJ’s often want to recreate what has always been done, but do it better, when they can be working to improve what is now obsolete.

3. People who want to know “the why” may find the ESTJ to be stuck on “the what.”  Once charged with a project, the really competent ESTJ will put together everything they need to complete the project. Yet they may not see the “why” of the project, and how it fits into the larger picture. A strategic plan or a corporate vision may seem to be wasting time to keep them from doing “real work.” ESTJ’s may successfully climb a steep wall only to find that is not the wall they needed to be scaling in a new situation.

Douglas MacArthur’s vision of the world was one where wars are won, enemies are vanquished and surrenders are signed. In that kind of world, with a defined beginning, middle, and end, the ESTJ is most effective. They can be less effective in a world with ambiguous outcomes, none of which are optimal. At the same time, many of us say, “Where is an ESTJ type General MacArthur when you need one to deal with the mess we have?” When you need to call the cavalry you need an ESTJ – they’re often all in too short a supply.

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