The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a test that examines a person’s personality and then categorizes them into one of sixteen “types.” Our subject of interest today is the ESFJ type, which is one of the most good-natured and philanthropic personalities. It is also fairly common, which is good news for the human race.
Following is a more in-depth look at what makes ESFJ types tick and an explanation of the careers they find to be most rewarding. Take your understanding of personalities further with this video textbook on the psychology of personality, with major theoretical and empirical approaches to grasping why people are unique in their decision making.
Who Are ESFJs?
First I must offer my standard warning when it comes to Myers-Briggs: if we’re being honest with ourselves, 16 personalities is not that many; certainly it’s not enough to be accurate for every individual on the planet. So take this advice with a grain of salt. If you’re an ESFJ, you still have to follow your own aspirations. These are simply careers and characteristics that are common among ESFJs and where many ESFJs have found success and satisfaction in the past.
Now let’s break down this type into its letters, E-S-F-J:
Extraversion: ESFJs are very similar to ESFPs, which are one of the most gregarious personality types. Thus, ESFJs are out-going, personable and true social butterflies.
Sensing: Whenever we talk about sensing in terms of Myers-Briggs, we are referring to a tendency to immerse one’s self in the present. ESFJs typically dislike trying to look too far into the future. They also prefer facts to speculation.
Feeling: Anytime a personality type is both sensing and feeling, there is a certain contradiction of terms. While the sensing trait causes ESFJs to prefer concrete evidence, the feeling characteristic makes them side more with their emotions when it comes time to make a decision. In this way they favor their feelings over what works out on paper.
Judging: Judging is not a malicious term here; it implies a use of judgement. ESFJs like using this judgement to take the necessary precautions and steps to ensuring things go as planned. While ESFJs are out going, they are perhaps less adventurous than their ESFP brethren.
As we’re about to discuss, ESFJs are not perfect and have their fair share of issues when it comes to what they need emotionally. Improve your ability to interact professionally with this course on working with different personality styles.
ESFJ Professional Tendencies
Due to the philanthropic nature of ESFJs, they love helping other people. They tend to be sincerely interested in making their professions worthwhile (in which case they should read this post on non-profit fundraising ideas). If there’s one negative result of this, it’s that they seek approval for their actions; sincere though they may be, they like to be recognized for their good deeds. But that’s a small price to pay for someone who prioritizes your well-being.
ESFJs are empathetic. They can read people’s emotions without explicit evidence. This makes them excellent caregivers, but also extremely sensitive. Relationships that are not reciprocal have a tendency to hurt the feelings of ESFJs.
On the other hand, a strong environment can make all the difference. This will prevent ESFJs from becoming too reliant on their “feeling” characteristic, which can cause them to become selfish or jaded. A dosage of type-A in ESFJs is generally a good thing, as they use organization and will-power to achieve self-assurance.
- Health Care
If you’ve read this far, then you easily could have anticipated health care as a great career option. Within health care there are more careers than I can reasonably list, which is to say there is something for everyone. ESFJs make wonderful physicians; this an incredibly stressful job, but it allows them to control the way their business runs, who they work with, how they treat patients, etc.
For ESFJs that are less focused on being in complete control, nurses and nurse practitioners are perfect alternatives. This gives them all the access they need to help and comfort patients without the stress of managing a business (which would require, among other things, thinking about the future).
- Education, Social Service And Child Care
Even though these careers are different, I lumped them together because they share a similarity: they involve helping other people without tending to their health.
ESFJs were born to teach. Teaching incorporates all of their most prized attributes: interpersonal skills, immersion in the present, leading through emotion and planning lessons out (just not too far into the future). Aside from mastering subject matter, one of the most important things a teacher can do is build meaningful relationships with his or her students, and this is where ESFJs excel.
ESFJs and other personality types who teach will find this course on the psychology of learning highly illuminating, as it examines the ways in which we make connections and respond to stimuli.
Almost needless to say, ESFJs are at home caring for children or doing social work. These careers are also bound to earn them recognition, which keeps them going strong.
ESFJs can be successful in business. They make unbeatable team leaders and provide a degree of emotional support not commonly found in management positions. This allows them to create an atmosphere of hard work, community and well-being. Naturally, difficulties arise when we consider the fact that ESFJs dislike looking far into the future and are generally not good at separating their emotions from important decisions.
These can pose serious problems when employees are not living up to their expectations, when difficult hiring/firing decisions have to be made, when business ideas have to take precedent over personal feelings, etc. But certainly these things do not make up the majority of the career and the benefits ESFJs bring almost always outweigh the risk.
ESFJs that want to purse the management or business life should check out this course on defining your entrepreneurial personality profile. It will help you understand what type of qualities are successful in business and pioneering ideas.