Based on the work of Myers-Briggs (Isabel Briggs Myers and Katherine Briggs) and on the personality classifications formulated by Carl Jung, personality style profiles (PSP) help us understand how our personality type affects the way we approach situations and how we may respond or behave and interact with others.
There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ profiles, it is completely non-judgmental, but understanding how personalities are simply ‘different’ to our own, rather than inconsiderate or wrong, can help us to work together.
The Caregiver of the Team
Primarily, ESFJs are externally focussed people, dealing with things according to how they feel about them. Their secondary mode is focussed internally, absorbing information through all five senses in a literal fashion. Their least developed trait is introverted thinking.
Strongly focussed on detail, ESFJs use their Sensing and Judging skills to gather specific information, which they can then use to support their judgement of people and situations. The typical ESFJ is a “people person” who can bring out the best in others. Warm, generous and supportive, he or she has the ability to make people feel good about themselves, and as a result tends to be a popular member of the team.
Key ESFJ personality traits
ESFJs are dominated by their Extravert Feeling side. They are skilled at reading other people to see what “makes them tick,” and with a strong need to be liked will often change the way they talk or act to make them more likeable with others. While they will always strive to understand the other point of view in any debate, they also have strong ideas of their own, which they are not afraid to express. However, their opinions tend to be shaped by things that are happening in the immediate workplace, rather than based on strongly held beliefs which they’ve brought with them.
Naturally kind and generous, ESFJs are often insecure and can spend a lot of time trying to please others. They have a need to be liked and appreciated, and seek approval and reassurance in order to feel good about themselves. They can be upset by indifference, unfair criticism or unkindness, and often find it difficult to accept unpleasant truths about colleagues in the workplace. They can also be oversensitive, imagining criticism where none was intended.
The ESFJ’s dominant Extravert Feeling side means they have a need for structure, organisation and control of their working environment. In some cases – particularly ESFJs who were brought up in a less caring and balanced environment – this side of their personality is revealed as a need to manipulate and control others. As they are charismatic and popular with their workmates, they are able to manipulate them to serve their own ends. However, they can lack the intuitive skills to recognise the consequences, failing to “see the big picture.”
What type of work suits the ESFJ personality?
ESFJs are dependable, honest people who take their work responsibilities very seriously, considering everything in detail. With new projects, they have a flair for seeing what needs to be done before the rest of the group, and for taking control to make sure it’s done properly.
Deeply interested in other people, and sensitive to their needs, ESFJs work well in a caring role, giving practical help where needed. They are uncomfortable doing impersonal tasks, or those which revolve around abstract concepts or theories. They enjoy structure and order, and work well in jobs that require these skills. However, they need to be careful about being overly controlling of others.
ESFJs are traditionalists who crave security and have a deep-seated respect for authority and following the rules. This can be both a good and a bad thing. For example, they can be resistant to changes even when they are needed, and have a tendency to follow established procedures even if they’re outdated, or wrong.
Showing the feminine side
ESFJs display distinct feminine traits. Women are very feminine, while male workers are masculine, but in a sensitive way. Both sexes migrate towards roles suited to their gender.
A typical ESFJ is warm, tactful, co-operative, practical, helpful, sympathetic and lively, with an organised approach to work.