People paths

ESFJ personality type

ESFJ: Extravert-Sensor-Feeler-Judger

  • Extraverts are outgoing, energetic and action-oriented. They are enthusiastic and expressive
  • Sensors live in the present. They rely on facts, handle practical matters well and like things to be concrete and measurable.
  • Feelers let their feelings and emotions play a leading role because of their concern for other people.
  • Judgers prefer a lifestyle that is decisive, planned and orderly. They like a life that is organized and controlled.

An ESFJ at a glance

ESFJs are people persons. They are outgoing, friendly and warmly interested in others. They want to like people and have a special skill at bringing out the best in others. People like to be around them because they have a real gift for making people feel good about themselves.

ESFJs are optimistic, generous and giving souls – often attracted to the underdog and those in need of a champion. Giving is their driving force and they look for ways to improve situations and people. People frequently think of an ESFJ as someone who will gladly give the shirt off of their back without a second thought.

An ESFJs energetic liking of people is balanced by a practical, no-nonsense attitude. ESFJs like to get things done now rather than later. They are armed with a strong sense of justice and a natural feeling for what is right and wrong. Following the rules is important, they mind their P’s and Q’s, and they expect the rest of the world to do the same. So if someone upsets them by breaking the rules, they make sure they know it.

Their probable contributions to an organization

Each personality type has a different set of skills, talents and attributes that they bring to an organization, group or relationship. Here is a list of those most commonly associated with personality types like ESFJ.

  • Is a hard worker who seeks responsibility and is always accountable.
  • Is very attentive to the needs and wants of others and always has a friendly attitude.
  • Is outgoing and sociable, and will also nurture and maintain relationships.

On a team

Some people work well on teams, others work best on their own. Understanding the personality types of team members provides information about how individuals are likely to carry out their work and interact with each other. Given the personality preferences of an ESFJ, the following are the strengths (and possible weaknesses!) they will most likely bring to a team:

  • Delivers humor, enthusiasm and attentive organization to a group.
  • Brings a systematic and practical outlook to the team.
  • Personally invests in issues and projects.

ESFJ leadership style

Each personality type has its own leadership style, strengths and blind spots. The following highlights an ESFJ approach to leadership, provides clues as to how an ESFJ will act in a leader role, and pinpoints some of the leadership qualities.

  • Tends to take charge when no one else does.
  • Leads others through personal persuasion, not analytical reasoning.
  • Carries projects to completion, working diligently and at a steady pace.

Communications style

Effective communication is composed of two elements: how well you listen, and how you express yourself. Good communication skills are at the heart of success. Being aware of how we communicate, how others communicate and how we prefer others to communicate with us, is a significant step in achieving this objective. Your personality style has its own communication strategies that are more effective for you than other’s communication styles.

  • Speaks with energy and persuasiveness and is genial and friendly.
  • Replies quickly and thinks on his/her feet.
  • Prefers talking in person, rather than communicating through written reports.

Problem solving

Different people solve problems in different ways. Based on the ESFJ personality type, ESFJ’s will probably use the following methods and skills in problem solving:

  • Is focused on finding solutions that do not disrupt individual or group harmony.
  • Considers what he/she and others in the organization are currently doing.
  • Wants to know what the facts are and what exactly the predicament is.

Stress Profile

Stress plays a significant factor in our abilities to be effective at work and have healthy sustainable relationships. The greater the stress, the harder it becomes to maintain quality work and quality relationships. Each personality type has strengths and blind spots. Under stress, blind spots emerge and people rely on their least favourite functions to operate.

Stress triggers
  • Feeling misunderstood, distrusted, undervalued, or not taken seriously and not having the opportunity to discuss an issue to get it resolved.
  • Feeling pressed to conform to a popular view they find distasteful.
  • Having too many demands upon them.
Stress profile characteristics
  • Optimism and enthusiasm turns into seclusion, inertia and dejection.
  • Can seem depressed, feeling vulnerable and unworthy.
  • Tends to actually feel numb inside, seeing only a bleak future.


People are usually most effective when their environment matches their preferences and work style. When a good match is not present, it will be more difficult to achieve results. Below are some of the ESFJ’s work preferences and key characteristics that ESFJ’s look for in work, or try to avoid. These key characteristics also indicate how an ESFJ would typically like to be managed or related to.

  • Flourishes in co-operative and harmonious environments.
  • Prefers environments where the focus is on executing immediate details.
  • Enjoys working with people and the ability to pay close attention to their needs and wants.

ESFJ Learning style

For many years it has been known that different personality types have different ways of learning. Knowing how a person learns is a big advantage for structuring on-the-job training or classroom instruction. The ESFJ learning style is as follows:

  • Enjoys practical and pragmatic subjects.
  • Finds that field trips, group projects or hands-on experiments foster learning and build relationships with fellow students.
  • Works best in structured learning systems that require memorization, recall, drill and the use of workbooks.

Opportunities for Growth

As we grow and mature, it is important to pull back from our favourite ways of doing things and build skills in the areas of our least favourite preferences. We thereby become a more balanced and versatile individual. The following suggestions address some of the ESFJ more obvious blind spots and are areas to pay attention to.

  • Try to become more comfortable with conflict.
  • Approach conflicts as constructive; know that clearing the air actually aids harmony and builds relationships.
  • Periodically realize that it is OK for your needs and priorities to be more important than others – be attentive to becoming overloaded and heading towards burnout.

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