What is the ESFJ Personality?

By Jack Speer | December 22, 2011

ESFJ Fast Facts

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ESFJ’s have the remarkable ability to manage and guide teams. They are highly organized and see disorganization as a personal failure, although they are often patient and are skilled at picking up the pieces for things that didn’t get done. They are perfectionists and tend to be accurate and competent. They are good at nudging those who haven’t completed their tasks, and make sure than people on the team have what they need.
Threats
ESFJ’s tend to gravitate towards situations where they have a great deal of structure. They work best with a clear guide and mandate to what they do. Faced with unclear instructions and poor connection with management they can shut down or act out. ESFJ’s dislike conflict to the point of avoiding it at all costs. Sometimes they fail to articulate what they need if they believe it will generate conflict.
% of Population
12.3%, or 12 in 100.
Career Tracks
Team leaders, Corporate Trainers, Sales Management

ESFJ’s often find themselves in the role of team leaders. You’ll often find them checking in with their people, encouraging them, motivating them, and upholding group morale. They create personal loyalty through their continual action of finding out what their people need and being sure they get it. They are often at their best in settings where they coordinate action so everyone “is singing off the same song sheet.”

Mary Tyler Moore (1936 – ), an ESFJ type, is an American actress, primarily known for her roles in television sitcoms such as the Mary Tyler Moore Show and the Dick Van Dyke Show, in the 1960’s and 1970’s. As an ESFJ type personality, her upbeat personal style, along with comic moments of self-doubt (which is often a part of the ESFJ personality), make her an American favorite personality.

One of our favorite examples of an ESFJ was a national sales VP from one of our client organizations. He tirelessly called each person on his large sales force each week to make sure they had what they needed.

ESFJ’s abhor disorganization and the failure to follow procedures and to plan. Disorganization is closer to a moral failure than a mistake. Every record must be clear and properly filed. Each detail must have been completed. ESFJ’s excel where there are standard operating procedures that individuals must carry out.

ESFJ’s as Team Members

Among the types, ESFJ’s may be the greatest team people. They create a sense of team in which people feel personally vested in achieving their objectives and finishing on time. ESFJ’s highly value organization, precision and order and feel great stress in disorganization and chaos.

They can associate disorganization or missing detail with a person “who just doesn’t care enough” about the team to maintain order and good organization.

ESFJ’s value stability and harmony in groups and will strive mightily to maintain a congenial and harmonious workplace. They are very concerned about the needs of their group and strive to fulfill those needs.

While they don’t seek conflict or “pick fights,” they will engage in conflict, if that is needed to achieve the goal or protect the team.

Martha Stewart is one of the best known “brands” in America. A successful ESFJ type personality, she has had a career as a stockbroker and publisher and a homemaking diva. She has been resilient after her legal problems.

ESFJ’s are energized by working with members of their team on present issues. They often dislike working on abstract ideas, theory, strategy or analysis. They prefer to follow procedures that have produced results for groups in the past. They will monitor processes to the smallest detail and expect those who work for them to attend to those details and have their work in order.

What Are ESFJ Issues and Challenges in Groups/Best Alliances?

ESFJ’s value harmony and strong personal relationships, often bonding the team in a significant way. They can sometimes see things as too “black and white” and can be well served to ally with types that are comfortable with greater ambiguity.

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ESFJ’s rely on their strong base of experience, but at times the tried and true methods will lead to disaster. In those cases, the ESFJ may well choose to ally with types who improvise.

There need to ally with those who are more improvisational and experiential in their problem solving and who are more oriented toward reengineering processes. The ESFJ is then often a logical choice to manage the people and maintain stable processes.

ESFJ’s and the Rest of Their Lives

ESFJ’s are highly sociable and typically enjoy a large circle of friends. They are usually devoted spouses or life partners and highly involved parents. They will dedicate themselves to the good order of the home and never see doing too much as a sacrifice. They will see that their children are taken care of and scrupulously educated.