ESTJ: The Executive

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The ESTJ, or the Executive, is decisive, firm and carries out tasks with the utmost confidence. In this article, we will explore the meaning of ‘ESTJ’. We will look at their core traits, strengths, weaknesses and their cognitive functions to give you a thorough insight in the ESTJ.

ESTJ Meaning

The ESTJ, or the Executive, 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.

ESTJ represents an individual who has a preference for Extraversion, Sensing, Thinking and Judging. This indicates that the ESTJ is an individual who is energized by spending time with others, who focuses on facts and details, who makes decisions based on logic and reason, and who prefers to be planned and organized.

ESTJ Traits

ESTJs are thrive off tradition and order. They have a huge grasp of what is right and what is wrong, and they behave in this way themselves. Due to their extraverted nature, they take pride in working with others and bringing people together. Often, they take the lead and pave the ways for others.

The ESTJ IS exceptionally hardworking. They need to able to use their productivity to achieve observable results. They will work tirelessly towards goal, ensuring that they follow rules and guidelines. And, they expect others to do the same. They will lead other by example, showing an utter rejection of laziness, cheating and cutting corners.

They have the nickname “The Executive” because they are excel at organizing things – whether is people, project or operations – and as a result, often end up in positions of power. Their confidence, drive and willingness to implement visions makes them exceptional leaders.

ESTJ Strengths and Weaknesses

As the nickname Executive suggests, ESTJs are natural leaders with a clear vision who like taking charge. Many are self-confident and embody the concept of good citizenship. Interacting with people is pleasurable for ESTJs, although they often have little patience for individuals who do not follow laws or respect traditions.

While ESTJs enjoy interactions with their family and within their broader community, a tendency towards rigidity can sometimes make relationships difficult. ESTJs have a tendency to neglect their feelings and emotions, which can make it harder for them to fulfill the needs of others in order to achieve greater intimacy. Some ESTJs can also become too detail-oriented, although their focus on details make them excellent at accomplishing goals and designing effective systems to get tasks completed.

ESTJ 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 ESTJ  has a ‘Te, Ni, Se, Fi” cognitive stack. However, they are called the ‘TeNi” due to their top two functions. This cognitive stacks means that:

  • Dominant: Te (extroverted Thinking) is the primary way that ESTJs interact with the world around them. It encourages them to be efficient, get things done and make logical decisions in the moment.
  • Auxiliary: Si (introverted Sensing) means that the ESTJ catalogues experiences and information they deem important. In particular, the Si preference allows ESTJ to remember their impressions of the experiences they have had.
  • Tertiary: Se (extroverted iNtuition) helps the ESTJ to use their senses to understand the world around them. They handle real world information better than vague hypotheticals. This function is what drives ESTJs to live in the moment and seek new experiences
  • Inferior: Fe (introverted Feeling) helps ESTJs to assess situations and see how they match up to their belief. This cognitive function allows ESTJs to be sensitive to the values and feelings of those around them.

ESTJs and Careers/Work

Best Careers for ESTJs
ESTJs thrive in work environments where they are able to work as decision makers and where they are able to enforce policies and guidelines. They tend to appreciate a structured, often hierarchical, work environment where tangible results are expected. Particularly, ESTJs are likely to thrive in financial professions. ESTJs often do not do well in occupations where creativity and freethinking are valued over rule-following and procedural processes. Work in the arts, a cosmetologist, or elementary education may not be ideally suited for ESTJs.

Check out our comprehensive page on ESTJ careers to see more job titles specific to ESTJs.

Famous ESTJs

ESTJs are fairly common, making up about 9% of the general population. Some famous ESTJs include:

  • George Washington
  • Colin Powell
  • Sanda Day O’Connor
  • Mike Wallace
  • Vince Lombardi
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Theresa May
  • Michelle Obama
  • Sonia Sotomayor

ESTJ Hobbies

  • Checking off tasks from their to-do list
  • Devising a plan for fitness, eating, socializing
  • Exploring new productivity apps and podcasts
  • Learning new languages (spoken, computer, etc.)
  • Rigorous, controlled exercising (lifting weights, cardio)

ESTJ Quotes

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
– Saint Paul (Paul of Tarsus)

“Awareness without action is worthless. Sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you make the decision right.”
– Dr. Phil

“The main message of my show is that people have to be responsible for their own actions.”
– Judge Judy

“Role modeling what good families should look like [is important]. And my view is that if you can’t run your own house, you certainly can’t run the White House.”
– Michelle Obama

“In my mind nothing is more abhorrent than a life of ease. There is no place in civilization for the idler.”
– Henry Ford


Those who score as an ESTJ will sit somewhere on the identity scale, ranging from assertive (A) to turbulent (T). The ESTJ-A tends to have high levels of self-confidence and, because of this, often considers themselves purposeful. However, they can appear insensitive and unconcerned to others – especially more timid types.

The ESTJ-T are equally as goal orientated is ESTJ-A. However, they tend to be far more erratic, reactive and easily angered than the assertive ESTJs.

ESTJ vs. Similar Personality Types


The ISTJ is more serious about performing their responsibilities to the best of their ability rather than having a commanding presence over others. One hallmark of ESTJs is that they thrive in leadership positions and understand how to push a team forward and feel unimportant in subordinate roles.


The ENTJ prefers a high-level approach to solutions, which can improve the future. They do so by using their auxiliary function, Introverted Intuition (Ni) in tandem with their primary function, Extraverted Thinking (Te) to make their vision a reality. ESTJs prefer to focus on results that can be seen in the short-term or immediately.


The ESFJ leads with Extraverted Feeling (Fe), which aligns their goals with other people. ESTJs instead lead with Extraverted Thinking (Te), so they focus more on tangible results and goals rather than the individual concerns and feelings of the team.


The ESTP prefers to live in the moment, but in an exploratory way, due to their leading function, Extraverted Sensing (Se). They seek out high-energy activities that get their adrenaline pumping, such as skydiving, stunt driving, triathlons, and the like. ESTJs are more serious and orderly in their endeavors, and far more risk-averse.

Next Steps

The Career Project can help you find rewarding work that is well suited to your skills and abilities. Browse our career guides t0 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.

Finally, for more about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, read our first post in this series.


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