How The ESTJ Can Be a Better Boss

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The ESTJ has been labeled the Executive, Life’s Administrator, and the Director. The ESTJ knows what needs to be done and how to make it happen. This “knowing” is based on a vast collection of sensory experience — that solidifies in a structured, delineated, and traditional manner of operation. You are hardly ever going to find an ESTJ doing something out of line with how it’s always been done. We can see why David Keirsey labeled this temperament “The Guardians.”

The reason I single out the ESTJ for being a better boss is that statistically speaking, the ESTJ tends to be in management positions in corporate America. Most of us, if we look through our work history, have had an ESTJ boss. However, with direct experience under the tutelage of ESTJs, I believe I can add real value to this discussion.

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The ESTJ in Corporate America

If you study ESTJs in relation to corporate America, you will see that most of the time, they are at or near the top, but not in a founding role. ESTJs tend to not be the creative, innovative, entrepreneurial type, but rather extremely diligent and prudent administrators and upholders of tradition. That tradition will be in whatever institution they find themselves in like government, law, military, or corporate America.

The ESTJ is similar to the ENTJ in that they both lead with Extraverted Thinking (Te), the cognitive function that desires to organize the physical world into effective, pragmatic action. Doing, above all else, you could say, is the ultimate desire of this function. 

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The 2nd function differs in that instead of Ni with the ENTJ, it is Si, which is called Introverted Sensing (Si). Si is what we call Memory, and desires to look backward at the past in order to make judgments about the future. Introverted Sensing, simply put, is a backward-looking function.

Given that the ESTJ and ENTJ both share Introverted Feeling (Fi) as their inferior function, the advice I gave previously for the ENTJ could be used here as well. However, in my experience, the ESTJ is better served in the boss’s chair by observing their 3rd function: Extraverted iNtuition (Ne). 

Ne is what we call Brainstorming, and it desires to both connect many ideas together and to create various alternatives. In many ways, it is directionless and novelty-seeking, without a true goal in mind. With this in mind, let me set the stage for how embracing this part of the ESTJs personality will lead to better leadership.

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How the ESTJ Can Work with Their Colleagues

As a boss, you are going to have colleagues that will bring you ideas. New ideas. They will be enthusiastic and genuinely passionate about their ideas and want, in some way, to be validated in those ideas. Your natural inclination is going to be resistant to change as new ideas break things. Your memory (Si) will be searching for instances where you’ve tried it before and whether or not it worked, and evaluating if it fits with the way things currently operate.

The breakthrough occurs when you allow that Brainstorming (Ne) part of your personality to stay open-minded against your Memory (Si) part of your personality to be considerate of new information. Nothing kills the creative intrapreneurship of great employees more than immediate rejection without consideration.

Avoid Saying This as an ESTJ

Deletion of the phrase “That’s not how we’ve done things” and replacing it with, “OK, interesting idea, how do we do it,” allows you a couple things. One, you get them to answer a Te (Extraverted Thinking) question (How do we do it?), and two, you empower further discussion and input from your colleagues. Eventually, someone will bring you an idea that you will implement, and be so glad you didn’t reject it immediately. 

The bad stereotype of the stodgy ESTJ boss can be broken by embracing novel ideas from your colleagues and creating a culture of intrapreneurship.

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Why The INFJ Doesn’t Quite Fit In

The INFJ is often portrayed as a mystical being, some sort of fortune-telling medium that has wisdom well beyond their years and a keen sense of predicting the fates and successes of people around them. They have a shaman-esque ability to know people (their pain, traumas, complexes, strengths, potentials, etc)

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Despite their introverted nature, I do observe them with larger than expected social circles and in leadership positions (outside of Fortune 500, however). This fact is at odds with the title of this article.

INFJ Cognitive Functions

The reason I say that INFJs don’t quite fit in — despite the many people that reside in their social group is that the INFJs themselves feel they are alien to others.

This feeling comes from their lead process of Ni (Introverted iNtuition) which oftentimes is unable to articulate itself fully. Ni is a function that perceives patterns within patterns, data points inside of data points, and from that, predicts how things are going to be. However, these predictions don’t always trace back to their origin in a neat manner.

Introverted iNtuition (Ni) is the same lead process as the INTJ, but with different and highly distinct manifestations. With the INTJ, their second (and what we’d call Auxiliary Function) is Extraverted Thinking (Te); while the INFJ has Extraverted Feeling (Fe) as theirs.

What Te wants to do is organize objective data into a plan of action and motion; essentially getting things done. What Fe wants to do is organize social data into the most acceptable way of operating.

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When you combine Ni and Fe, you get a personality type that wants to shape humanity towards its most utopian vision. Articulating this can be exceedingly difficult.

What they are typically trying to articulate is how to help, save, transform, and reform society and humanity. This is why you see them in roles like counseling, social work, mental health, psychiatry, and in volunteer and philanthropic endeavors.

When you observe other famous INFJs like Jesus, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Jordan Peterson, you can see that they are broad-reaching and ambitiously idealistic towards improving the fate of humanity. 

In a society that is heavily weighted towards a collective ESTJ (think Corporate CEO) persona, the INFJ internally feels on the fringes of thought and orientation. Their human-centric vision is greatly overshadowed by the objective-materialist society of the ESTJ.

Advice for INFJs

My advice is less prescriptive than usual as it’s not a strict numbered list of “how-to’s.”

For INFJs, cultivating a very tight inner circle of friends who will listen and go down the rabbit hole with you is going to prove mentally beneficial. Those who can add to your ideas and provide insightful feedback without instantly shooting them down will be keepers. Inversely, those that are open to expressing their own inner thoughts without reservations, are hugely valuable to you.

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Starting your quest to transform society is better served on a smaller level, usually volunteer work, charities, church groups, 1-on-1 counseling sessions, etc. Once you see the changes taking root on a small scale, then you can create that cult following that becomes pervasive and widespread. I use “cult” half-jokingly because there are historical INFJs who turned their utopian vision into a dark hellscape. 

Lastly, make sure to allow yourself to indulge every once in a while without feeling guilty that you aren’t being productive or progressing in your crusade to fix society TODAY. We have seen how disconnecting from the problem, counterintuitively, helps us to solve it.

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How to Figure out your MBTI Function Stack

Joe Arrigo attempts to easily explain this complicated formula

MBTI Function Stack

Video Transcript via Zubtitle:

The MBTI function stack is one of the more advanced concepts within personality and I’ve gotten some requests to explain this in a separate video.

So I want to lay it out as best I can. There are a couple different methods I’ve seen or ways to describe how you figure out the function stack.

Everyone understands when they start digging into MBTI, that there is a way that every type processes information and they all have a unique order, but most people don’t actually know how you figure that out.

And it’s fun to point out how to do it, it’s not necessarily important to know if you’re (just) an enthusiast, but it’s almost a cool party trick just to understand people at a level deeper than “oh, you’re an ENFP. That means you’re the cheerleader.”

Well, I want you to be able to figure out this formula and go, “Oh, they’re Extraverted iNtuition with Introverted Feeling” because you can figure it out using this formula in your head.

So, I’m going to share my screen and I’m going to draw it out as best. I can forgive me my hand writing is pretty terrible. But I’m going to go over a couple examples and we’re going to just start off with the ENTJ.

(Watch the video from this point)

I hope that this helps a little bit there are some activities and then some very good resources I can provide via YouTube and in books that will lay out the formula, but I appreciate you watching. Let me know if this clarifies things or if we’re all now more confused than ever.

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