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 the ENFP Can Start a Business

The ENFP is likely the most misunderstood of all the 16 personality types. The ENFP is often viewed as a space cadet, bouncing around from idea to idea with no sense of time, priority, or follow-through. We find they are often more likely to be diagnosed (or misdiagnosed) with ADD/ADHD. 

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Conversely, the ENFP is also an idea factory, a brainstorming machine, and an overall future-thinking behemoth. We all know someone with this personality type that can just crank out ideas seemingly without end. They are great in marketing, sales, and R&D departments.

I want to show how the ENFP can take this plethora of ideas and drive them forward in their own life and start a thriving business.

Typical Struggles of the ENFP

In coaching ENFPs, here are some recurring themes that arise:

  • Better at starting projects than finishing
  • Would rather create the idea than implement it
  • Having too many ideas to pick just one
  • Stuck ideating endlessly which prevents starting
  • Fear of rejection; fear their ideas are bad

This can be easily explained by understanding how the ENFP operates functionally. The ENFP cognitive function stack is:

Ne (Extraverted iNtuition) – Brainstorming

Fi (Introverted Feeling) – Values

Te (Extraverted Thinking) – Effectiveness

Si (Introverted Sensing) – Memory

Simply put, leading with a mindset that prioritizes brainstorming, ideation, and novelty will naturally reject things like process, structure, and repetition. There is always a counterbalance, and if we leverage it to grow, then we can become our most dynamic Self.

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So from the perspective of starting a business, the ENFP can utilize their less-developed functions to actually move forward productively.

Let’s use Introverted Sensing (Si), the ENFPs 4th function, which is known as Memory. It’s not just remembering in the classic sense, but it’s, as Dario Nardi has labeled it “a predictable standard.” Standards, traditions, and stability are what this function seeks. For the ENFP, the desire for newness and novelty will always try to fight against predictability and standards. 

With ENFPs, the struggle of starting a new business lies in the fact that once the new idea gets going for a certain amount of time, the allure wears off and it’s no longer new and fresh. This start-stop motion can be internally frustrating for the ENFP who’s many good ideas seem to flame out after a very energetic start.

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3 Tips for an ENFP

Here are some tips that I’ve learned while coaching and collaborating with ENFPs:

  • Look at what’s worked before for you. Can you use that as a jumping-off point for your new venture? For example, have you had repeated remarks from others that “You see things nobody else does…” or “I’ve never thought about it that way until you said it.” Perhaps everytime you post a meme you created on social media, you get a massive response from your audience that is much better than your text posts. Repeatability creates a standard by which you can then move forward with an idea. 
  • Put things into motion to the point where you can no longer turn back. File that fictitious business statement, get that business bank account, create that logo, start branding, create that website. These are all points of no return psychologically that prevent backsliding. 
  • Capture your ideas into a journal of some sort and return to them days later to see if you still feel the same fire you did when you first captured it. If it’s 5 days later and that idea still has passion behind it, then it’s worth pursuing in full.
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The ENFP has massive potential to start their own venture and be successful. When they can combine their brainstorming ability with the sometimes frustrating acceptance of a predictable standard, they are able to create sincerely wonderful things.

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How the ENTJ Should Choose a Career

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The ENTJ is the most powerful of all the 16 personality types. I say powerful from many perspectives including willpower, determination, communication, and competence. From the outside observer, the ENTJ usually radiates self-confidence and self-assuredness.

I’ve always said that you can put an ENTJ into any role in any company, and within 5 years they will be at, or near, the top. The ability to figure out the mechanisms by which the hierarchy works, and to ruthlessly climb the ladder within that system, is perfectly adapted to the ENTJ temperament.

The issue that I see with every ENTJ I know personally and that I’ve coached, is that there is a massive gap between achievement and happiness. You might just confuse their success for actually enjoying what they do. And for most people, being really successful at what they do usually coincides with enjoying that work.

The ENTJ can easily be miserable at their role and still be a top performer. Aren’t you a bit envious?

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But time and time again, there comes a point of self-reflection with the ENTJ, where they don’t “feel” like being the best in something that doesn’t matter to them. The ENTJ will conflate their material possessions with inner fulfillment. “Look at my house, car, clothes, and title. I’m WORTH SOMETHING! The money, status, and power.

Mistakenly, they look outside to fulfill what is inside.

This developmental crossroads usually occurs in their late 20s through mid 30s.

What is Going on Here?

The ENTJ functions in a similar manner to the ESTJ in that action, effectiveness, efficiency, and determination are the first considerations for doing anything. 

However, this magnetic pull towards action and effectiveness has its ugly polar opposite which is values, inner alignment, and authenticity. What is important to me? What do I care about? Other Types know this answer instantly, but the ENTJ struggles to give a clear answer. 

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My usual go-to question is: “If money wasn’t a factor in your career, what would you do?” This usually gets an answer that reveals their true passions. 

I’ve never struggled so much to get a real answer from an ENTJ. 

What I get is, “I could do X, I could do Y.” This response is not telling me what they want to do or what they value, it’s listing off things they’d be good at. Like I mentioned, ENTJs are often successful no matter the role or company.

It seems like a very small difference between dominating for someone else (random corp ABC) and dominating for yourself.

My question to all the ENTJs reading this article is: “Where can you use your determination, grit, and bulldozing attitude towards something you truly care about?” Only then can you find the right career, mission, and inner fulfillment. 

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When this question isn’t asked, the ENTJs foresight, efficiency, and ungodly willpower are sadly used on work that is ultimately meaningless.

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The INTJ as Thought Leaders

A societal obligation for the INTJ

The goal of this short essay is not to proclaim the genius of the INTJ, but rather to inspire them to make their unique views known in a world that is heavily dominated by a select few voices.

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When I’ve spoken previously about cognitive diversity, it was in reference to the hiring process and creating amazing project teams.

But cognitive diversity can be applied anywhere.

It’s time for the Thought Leadership space, particularly on LinkedIn, to get the perspective of INTJs in order to prevent the echo chamber from becoming too large.

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When a social network becomes one-sided in its use of cognitive functions (explained below), it rejects many other strongly needed and vitally important talking points.

To explain what I mean in as concise a way as possible:

Right now, the most widely used function within the Thought Leadership space is known as Extraverted Feeling (written as Fe in the Typology world). Extraverted Feeling can be simply characterized as Harmony, Togetherness, Unity. Fe takes the prevailing norms, mores, and social niceties and adopts that as the mechanism of decision-making. It uses whatever is currently trending as the lens to view the world.

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INTJs and Cognitive Functions

All 16 MBTI types have a unique order of cognitive functions that they use to decipher information and then make decisions based on that information. 

There are 8 of them:

  1. Ni
  2. Ne
  3. Si
  4. Se
  5. Ti
  6. Te
  7. Fi
  8. Fe

For the INTJ specifically, Extraverted Feeling (Fe) is a highly under-utilized and often under-valued function that falls far down in their function stack.

INTJ function stack:

  • Ni
  • Te
  • Fi
  • Se
  • Ne
  • Ti
  • Fe (7th)
  • Si

Simply put, most INTJs do not value harmony and togetherness in the way that other types do. ESFJs and ENFJs value it the most, and ENTJs value it the least.

My argument is that this is a good thing, especially for a platform like LinkedIn that is crying out for a counterbalance to the prevailing Thought Leadership. 

When everything starts to sound the same and the same types of posts are trending, then you know you are sitting inside a thought bubble.

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I say there needs to be just as much cold, hard, and objective truth as there needs to be empathy, warmth, and inspiration. Because the INTJ is actively not considering the prevailing wisdom when they form thoughts, they can contribute a wholly fresh perspective. 

Tips for LinkedIn Thought Leadership

So what do I recommend for INTJs to do (and other introverts, for that matter)?

  1. Propose a solution that is completely opposite from what others are saying. Ask your audience for feedback.
  2. Remark on current trends and explain why you see it differently. Ask if others see this as well or if you are by yourself?
  3. Study influencers that use Fe (Extraverted Feeling) and attempt to emulate that style in 1 or 2 posts. See how it feels. Do you still feel authentic or do you feel gross? Reiterate until you find that happy medium between bold and inclusive.
  4. Understand that many thought leaders don’t know it all, yet they speak with authority. Getting caught in that loop of “ I just need to study it some more before I can speak on it” will be detrimental to getting your ideas out in the world.
  5. Make a concerted effort to do a short video so people can see how you present yourself. Building trust is the best way to begin a Thought Leadership journey. From experience as an introvert, there is a magical thing that happens when you click “record” that transforms you into an Extravert. The more you do it, the more you will build that confidence. 
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Because INTJs are a rare personality type, their unique style of perception is greatly needed on LinkedIn. Corporate thought leadership risks falling into a very loud echo chamber that doesn’t consider other points of view, which then ultimately affects the greater society.  My hope is that other INTJs join me in finding their voice and making their insightful views known to the world.

To book me for an MBTI session or learn more about me, find me here:

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For any MBTI art sold through my Etsy store, I am donating 5% to anti-human trafficking causes.

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