Also known as ‘The Provider’, ESFJ (or “The Consul”) is gregarious, welcoming and highly organized.
In this article, we will explore the ESFJ in-depth – looking at their traits, strengths and weaknesses, career options and famous ESFJs!
The ESFJ, or The Consul, is one of the of the “16 personality types” that we see in several different models based on the work of Carl Jung. These models include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Keirsey Temperament Sorter, among others.
ESFJ represents an individual who is Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling and Judging. This indicates that they are a person who is energized by spending time with others, who focuses on facts and details, who makes decisions based on feelings and values and who prefers to be planned and organized.
ESFJs are often considered the life of the party, a dependable coworker or friend and as someone with high moral-integrity and strong values. They are often highly organized and have high emotional intelligence. Their extraverted natures means they make excellent leaders and have a true passion for the teams the supervise.
Anyone with the ESFJ personality type tends to loves people and social interaction. They have a great interest in others and place great importance in being liked and being popular. This can often make them adept at offering support to others. They value loyalty and tend make their loved ones their top priority.
They are nicknamed “The Consul” (or the provider) because they have a genuine interest in providing for others, helping them and taking care of them. Consuls have a true sense of harmony and are very sensitive to the needs of others.
Strengths and Weaknesses of ESFJs
ESFJ personality types are known for being incredibly reliable, responsible and dependable. This makes them great workers as well as family members, as they always ensure that they are pulling their weight, and often more.
ESFJs are energetic and will often feel inclined to take a more commanding role, particularly in the workplace. This also manifests in a desire to be in control of any given situation and in difficulties with feeling comfortable if they are not in the driving seat.
Despite this desire to be in control, the Consult personality type tends to have high levels of respect for authority. This is something that is reflected in their own clearly codified system of values and morals. These values are often derived directly from rules and laws that the individual has seen to be effective in society.
ESFJ Cognitive Functions (Functional Stack)
Each of the 16 personality types has four cognitive functions, as introduced by Carl Jung. These functions are the two scales of Sensing-Intuition (used to process information) and Thinking-Feeling (used to make decisions), each of which can be expressed both in an extraverted manner (e.g., displayed outwardly/externally) or an introverted manner (e.g., displayed inwardly or internally). The EFTJ has a ‘Fe, Si, Ne, Ti” cognitive stack. However, they are called the ‘FeSi” due to their top two functions. This cognitive stacks means that:
- Dominant: Fe (extroverted Feeling) is the ESFJs primary function and is what they use to communicate with the world. Fe gives ESFJs their “gut instincts” about a person or situation.
- Auxiliary: Si (introverted Sensing) this function keeps track of the information that an ESFJ gathers about people. It keeps track of this information in an organized fashion and helps EFTJs to remember the things important to them.
- Tertiary: Ne (extroverted iNtuition) allows ESFJS to navigate unfamiliar situations and see the potential in people.
- Inferior: Ti (introverted Thinking) is the ESFJs last cognitive function, and thus the least used. This Ti function allows ESFJs to examine and analyze the information that their Fe function collects and determine if their ideas and opinions stand up to scrutiny.
Possible Career Choices for ESFJs
The ESFJ personality types are best suited to rules that provide structure and have clearly defined roles and duties. Careers for the Consul should also give them the chance to accept greater responsibility, to assume control within the framework of the company and progress through the hierarchy are also likely to appeal to ESFJs. Roles in such as a retail manager, purchasing manager, school administrator or in human resources are likely to provide this.
Check out our comprehensive page on ESFJ careers to see more job titles specific to ESFJs
The Consul personality type is the second most common personality type, making up around 12% of the population. Famous ESFJs include:
- Martha Stewart
- Sally Field
- Mary Tyle Moore
- Hugh Jackman
- Sam Walton
- Barbara Walters
- Ray Croc
- Whitney Houston
- William Howard Taft
- Ed Sheeran
- Celine Dion
- Volunteering at senior homes, shelters, daycares
- Hosting talent shows, parties, gatherings
- Assuming leadership roles in their groups of choice
- Making others feel welcome in their homes and outside
- Decorating the interior and exterior of their homes
“There’s something very addictive about people pleasing. It’s a thought pattern and a habit that feels really, really good.”
– Anne Hathaway
“As the most average, ordinary person, it’s so cool for me to be able to do the extraordinary things I get to do.”
– Adam Young
“The main thing that you have to remember…is just be nice to everyone…always appreciate things, because [they] could be gone tomorrow.”
– Ed Sheeran
“[When] speaking…make yourself perfectly at home before your audience, and simply talk to them, not at.”
– Andrew Carnegie
“Get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world.”
– Pope Francis
ESFJ-A Versus ESFJ-T
Those who score as an ESFJ will sit somewhere on the identity scale, ranging from assertive (A) to turbulent (T). On one side of the scale, the ESFJ-A tends to have high levels of self-discipline. However, this does not stop them from making mistakes. Yet, these mistakes motivate them to be better.
At the other end of the scale, turbulent ESFJs more sensitive. Often, the ESFJ-T will find it hard to let go of negative emotions and tend to view themselves negatively as a result. More so than assertive types, ESFJ-Ts need other people and seek their approval.
ESFJ vs. Similar Personality Types
The ISFJ prefers to take a one-on-one approach to their relationships and are incredibly patient listeners. ESFJs, in contrast, often have many large friend groups they keep on top of to the best of their ability, as they lead with Extraverted Feeling (Fe).
The ENFJ channels a more sage-like energy and has a penchant for predicting the future due to their secondary function, Introverted Intuition (Ni). ESFJs are more grounded in the present and focused on how they can support their friends in the moment, as they are Feelers who prefer Sensing over Intuition.
The ESTJ has goals that focus on making actionable progress through people instead of having to consider their feelings, because of their leading function, Extraverted Thinking (Te). ESFJs place group harmony above all since they instead lead with Extraverted Feeling (Fe).
The ESFP is more spontaneous and driven by their own emotional state rather than the feelings of others, because of their secondary function, Introverted Feeling (Fi). ESFJs lead with Extraverted Feeling (Fe), which propels them to place the wellbeing of others over their own at times.
Knowing your personality is important aspect in making smart career choices. The Career Project can help you find rewarding work that is well suited to your interests, talents and skills. Browse our career guides to learn about different career options. Or, check out our job profiles, which are informational interviews with real-world professionals sharing their “inside scoop” on what their job is really like.
To learn more about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, read our first post in this series.