ESFJ: Extraversion, Sensing, Feeling, Judging

At your best

People with ESFJ preferences like to organise people and situations and then work with others to complete tasks accurately and on time. They are conscientious and loyal, following through even in small matters, and they want others to be the same. They value security and stability.

Sociable and outgoing, ESFJs enjoy celebrations and traditions and bring a very personal caring to the workplace and home. They want to be appreciated for themselves and for what they give to others.

How others may see you

ESFJs are energised by interaction with others and genuinely interested in others’ lives and concerns. They feel most comfortable in structured situations and enjoy creating order, structure, and schedules. They prefer to do things the traditional and accepted way.

For the sake of harmony ESFJs will agree with others when they can. However, they also have strong values, which they express clearly and confidently when they think it is appropriate. ESFJs value family and social ties. They enjoy belonging and are good at celebrations and traditions. Others usually see ESFJs as:

  • Sociable, outgoing, enthusiastic, and energetic
  • Organised and orderly
  • Committed to preserving traditions

Characteristics of ESFJs

ESFJs use their Feeling primarily externally and radiate warmth and energy They are encouraged by approval and hurt by indifference or unkindness. Conflict-filled or tense situations make them uncomfortable, and they work to ensure these don’t occur. ESFJs are likely to be:

  • Warm, sympathetic, and helpful
  • Personable, cooperative, and tactful

ESFJs focus on the present and base decisions on experience and facts. Though they enjoy variety, they adapt well to routine and don’t like work that demands mastery of abstract ideas or impersonal analysis. They enjoy their possessions and take good care of them. ESFJs are likely to be:

  • Practical, realistic, and down-to-earth
  • Decisive, thorough, and consistent

ESFJs are sensitive to the needs of each individual in their environment and good at providing practical caring. Much of their pleasure and satisfaction comes from the comfort and pleasure of others.

Potential areas for growth

Sometimes personal circumstances have not supported ESFJs in the development and expression of their Sensing and Feeling preferences. If they have not developed their Sensing, ESFJs may not take in much information before making decisions and jump to conclusions before fully understanding a situation. They may then impose those decisions on everyone around them. If they have not developed their Feeling, they may be tentative and uncertain, accepting the judgements of others too quickly.

If ESFJs do not find a place where they can use their gifts and be appreciated for their contributions, they usually feel frustrated and may:

  • Doubt themselves and focus their attention entirely on satisfying the needs of others
  • Worry and feel guilty
  • Become controlling in their push for harmony-“we will all get along”
  • Become overly sensitive, imagining slights where none was intended.

It is natural for ESFJs to give less attention to their non-preferred Thinking and Intuitive parts. If they neglect these too much, however, they may:

  • Find it difficult to acknowledge and deal with the truth of problems with people or things they care about
  • Support those in charge or the standard procedures too uncritically
  • Fail to see wider possibilities or alternative ways of doing things Under great stress

ESFJs may find themselves uncharacteristically critical of others and of themselves. Their negative thoughts and opinions then trouble them greatly.

Where you focus your attention: Extraversion

People who prefer Extraversion tend to focus on the outer world of people and external events and attention outward and receive energy from external events, experiences and interactions.

Characteristics of most people who prefer Extraversion:

  • Attuned to external environment
  • Prefer to communicate by talking
  • Learn best through doing or discussing
  • Breadth of interests
  • Tend to speak first, reflect later
  • Sociable and expressive
  • Take initiative in work and relationships

Effects of preferences in work situations

  • Like variety and action.
  • Tend to be faster, dislike complicated procedures.
  • Are often good at greeting people.
  • Are often impatient with long slow jobs.
  • Are interested in the results of their job, in getting it done and in how other people do it.
  • Often do not mind the interruption of answering the telephone, often act quickly, sometimes without thinking.
  • Like to have people around.
  • Usually communicate freely.

How you take in information: Sensing

People who prefer Sensing like to take in information through their eyes, ears and other senses to find out what is actually happening. They are observant of what is going on around them and are especially good at recognising the practical realities of a situation.

Characteristics of most people who prefer Sensing:

  • Focus on what is real and actual
  • Value practical applications
  • Factual and concrete, notice details
  • Observe and remember sequentially
  • Live in the present
  • Want information step-by-step
  • Trust experience

Effects of preferences in work situations

  • Dislike new problems unless there are standard ways to solve them.
  • Like an established way of doing things.
  • Enjoy using skills already learned more than learning new ones.
  • Work more steadily, with realistic ideas of how long it will take.
  • Usually reach a conclusion step by step.
  • Are patient with routine details.
  • Are impatient when the details get complicated.
  • Are not often inspired, and rarely trust the inspiration when they are.
  • Seldom make errors of fact.
  • Tend to be good at precise work.

How you make decisions: Feeling

People who prefer to use Feeling in decision making tend to consider what is important to them and to other people. They mentally place themselves in a situation and identify with the people involved so that they can make decisions based on person-centred values.  Their goal is harmony and recognition of individuals, and their strengths include understanding, appreciating and supporting others.

Characteristics of most people who prefer Feeling:

  • Sympathetic
  • Assess impact on people
  • Guided by personal values
  • “Tender-hearted”
  • Strive for harmony and individual recognition
  • Compassionate
  • Accepting

Effects of preferences in work situations

  • Tend to be very aware of other people and their feelings.
  • Enjoy pleasing people, even in unimportant things.
  • Like harmony.  Efficiency may be badly disturbed by office feuds.
  • Often let decisions be influenced by their own or other people’s personal likes and wishes.
  • Need occasional praise.
  • Dislike telling people unpleasant things.
  • Are more people-oriented, respond more easily to people’s values.
  • Tend to be sympathetic.

How you orient toward the outer world: Judging

People who prefer to use their Judging process in the outer world tend to live in a planned, orderly way, wanting to regulate and control life. They make decisions, implement them, and move on. Their lifestyle as structured and organised and they like to have things settled. Sticking to a plan and schedule is very important to them and they enjoy their ability to get things done.

Characteristics of most people who prefer Judging:

  • Scheduled
  • Organised
  • Systematic
  • Methodical
  • Like to Plan
  • Like completion – to have things decided
  • Avoid last minute stresses

Effects of preferences in work situations

  • Work best when they can plan their work and follow the plan.
  • Like to get things settled and finished.
  • May decide things too quickly.
  • May dislike to interrupt the project they are on for a more urgent one.
  • May not notice new things that need to be done.
  • Want only the essentials needed to begin their work.
  • Tend to be satisfied once they reach a judgement on a thing, situation, or person.