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How to support ESTJ personality types in the workplace

How to support ESTJ personality types in the workplace featured image

ESTJs, also called “Executives,” are one of the 16 Personalities test types. They’re known for their practicality, assertive nature, and methodical approach to work. As natural-born leaders and sticklers for rules, they’re capable of inspiring and motivating others to achieve common goals.

However, their need for order and structure can be perceived as stubbornness or inflexibility, hindering collaboration and causing friction with team members.

This article explores how to engage ESTJ personality types in the workplace, including an overview of their personality traits and communication style, as well as guidance on supporting their career growth and integrating them effectively into teams. 

Overview of ESTJs in the workplace 

ESTJ personality types demonstrate the following traits:

  • Extroverted (E) - Recharge in quick-paced environments and prefer social interactions that allow them to express their ideas freely.

  • Sensing (S) - Focus on reality instead of possibility, keeping their attention on the present and concrete information.

  • Thinking (T) - Make decisions rooted in rationality, logic, and objective analysis over personal feelings or societal expectations.

  • Judging (J): Prefer structured, planned, and organized work with clear direction over spontaneity.

Strengths and contributions to the workplace

Here are some of the key strengths of an ESTJ:

  • Attention to detail. They have a keen eye for detail and quickly correct errors or oversights, so you can rely on them to complete a job to a high standard. 

  • Methodical thought process. Executives are deep thinkers and approach problems systematically, analyzing situations carefully to develop unique solutions.

  • Strong leadership skills. Executives are decisive, confident, and skilled in leading their teams towards a common goal. 

  • Clear communicators. ESTJs don’t mince their words, so you’ll always know where you stand with them and what they expect of you.

  • Driven to succeed. ESTJs are motivated by challenges and determined to see projects through to the end, making them a valuable asset to any team.

Common challenges and pain points

On the flip side, ESTJs may experience the following challenges in the workplace due to their diligence and preference for stability and order.

  • Resistance to change. Their rigidity means they may struggle with change and be slow to adopt new ways of working. 

  • Over-emphasis on rules and procedures. Sometimes, doing the right or profitable thing means deviating from rules and policies. Executives can struggle with this due to their need for routine. 

  • Difficulty delegating. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself—or so ESTJs think. They may struggle with delegating tasks that they believe they can do better themselves, leading to overwork and burnout.

  • Frustration with inefficiency. ESTJs value efficiency above all else and may become frustrated with clunky processes. This impatience can lead to tension within the team, especially if they don’t share the same sense of urgency.

Bearing these strengths and challenges in mind, below we explore some strategies for engaging ESTJs successfully in the workplace and managing their communication style and team dynamics.

Executive personality types are driven, and efficient, and their attention to detail means they never miss a trick. However, their resistance to change and direct communication style can cause friction and upset more sensitive team members.

Effective communication strategies for ESTJ personality types

Getting the best of your Executive employees means leaning into their direct communication style while encouraging them to be respectful of others. Thus, it’s best to:

  • Keep it short. ESTJs appreciate clear and direct communication. So keep messages to the point. 

  • Provide structure. Provide clear guidance around what is expected of Executives in their day-to-day tasks to help them stay focused and productive. 

  • Be prepared to compromise. ESTJs have strong opinions on the right and wrong ways to approach a task. As a result, you may need to compromise on your approach and find common ground to help them thrive. 

Best practices for integrating ESTJ personality types into teams

Try the following strategies to integrate an Executive personality type into your team:

  • Clarify expectations. ESTJs need clear expectations, but so does the rest of the team. To ensure everyone works together as smoothly as possible, be sure to mark out individual tasks and responsibilities.

  • Coach emotional intelligence. While some people appreciate ESTJs’ directness, it can cause tension with more sensitive personality types. Coach your ESTJs in emotional intelligence and different communication styles, and encourage them to consider others’ perspectives before delivering feedback. This will help them build stronger relationships with their colleagues and prevent hurt feelings.

  • Assign leadership roles where possible. Try to assign leadership or people management roles with extra responsibility to your ESTJ colleagues. An ESTJ's natural assertiveness, organizational skills, and ability to drive results can make them great leaders of high-performing teams.

Tips for preventing and resolving conflicts

Conflict is natural in the workplace, but you can apply strategies such as the following to minimize the potential for disagreements between ESTJs and other team members.

  • Focus on the common goal. ESTJs are end-goal-focused. When disagreements arise, remind Executives that you’re all working towards a common goal, even if there are differing opinions on how to achieve it. This can help diffuse tension.

  • Offer mediation. Executives’ tendency towards inflexibility means you may need to mediate heated disagreements directly. Mediation will help ESTJs gain insight into others’ perspectives and explore new possibilities in a structured environment. 

  • Address issues promptly. ESTJs’ blunt communication style can cause misunderstandings and hurt feelings, leading to disagreements and poor team cohesion. Address conflicts promptly by fostering open dialogue, encouraging active listening, and seeking common solutions.

How to motivate ESTJ employees and keep them engaged

Understanding how to motivate your ESTJ employees is key to getting the best out of them and preventing burnout. Let’s explore some effective methods for supporting Executive colleagues. 

​​What motivates ESTJ personality types at work

ESTJs are motivated by challenging and engaging work, proper recognition of their achievements, and a result-driven environment. They hate the feeling of stagnation and are always looking for opportunities to learn, grow, and achieve their goals. They thrive with clear, developmental feedback. 

Strategies for engaging ESTJ personality types

Try utilizing the following strategies to engage and motivate your Executive employees:

1. Reward employees for their contributions

Take note of the Executive's contributions and ensure they’re properly rewarded for their hard work. If you don’t, they may start to feel disengaged and question their value in the organization. Rewards can either be monetary, like a bonus or pay rise, or non-monetary, like public recognition or additional responsibilities to help them develop. 

2. Encourage professional development

ESTJs value professional development and growth above all else, so offering them opportunities for continuous learning and advancement is crucial. Provide access to training programs, workshops, conferences, and mentorship opportunities to help them enhance their skills and expand their knowledge. 

3. Create a feedback-rich culture

Offering regular, on-the-spot feedback drives performance improvement and keeps ESTJs engaged and motivated. They appreciate direct communication and value opportunities for self-improvement. 

Foster a feedback-rich culture where both peer-to-peer and manager-led feedback are encouraged. This helps ESTJs understand their strengths, areas for improvement, and progress towards their goals.

4. Empower them to lead

Where possible, ESTJs should be given the opportunity to lead teams and take on extra responsibilities. Doing this means you capitalize on their strengths and empower them to make meaningful contributions to the organization, further driving their professional growth and motivation. 

Guidance on personal development and career growth for ESTJs 

Executives' drive, ambition, and attention to detail make them formidable leaders and employees. But, to progress in their career, they’ll need to work on being likable and building strong relationships. 

1. Recognize leadership skills early on

Recognize your ESTJ employee’s natural leadership skills early on in their career and help them develop these skills. Look out for confidence, adaptability, accountability, and strategic thinking when completing day-to-day tasks. 

Offer constructive feedback and guidance to refine their leadership style and expand their skill set, and encourage them to seek out opportunities to establish themselves as leaders in the business. This will empower your Executives to reach their full potential. 

2. Enhance soft skills

The difference between a great and exceptional employee is the quality of their soft skills. Encourage ESTJs to focus on developing empathy, adaptability, and emotional intelligence. You can do this by offering in-house training, encouraging participation in workshops, and pairing them up with soft skills coaches. 

You can also find great free resources online to help employees develop empathy and active listening. These skills are crucial for fostering strong relationships, enhancing teamwork, and being a great leader. 

3. Practice conflict resolution

Provide training and support to help ESTJs develop their conflict resolution skills, including active listening, problem-solving, and negotiation techniques. These skills enable ESTJs to navigate disagreements constructively and maintain positive relationships with colleagues, key when managing a team. 

Get the most out of ESTJs with TestGorilla

ESTJs are driven, methodical, and meticulous in their approach. However, their single-mindedness can be alienating, and their straightforward communication style can ruffle feathers. 

With the right support, Executives can be fantastic employees. Offer clear direction, common goals, and leadership opportunities wherever possible to keep them engaged and focused. 

If you’re looking for tailored solutions to support an ESTJ’s growth, check out TestGorilla. We have comprehensive blog posts about the 16 personality types, as well as customizable talent assessments to help you understand the unique strengths and areas for development of this hard-working personality type. 

You can also check out our test library to discover any areas of improvement for your Executive employees. This can help you plug skill gaps and create a high-performing team. If you’re ready to take the plunge, schedule a demo or sign up for a free account today!


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