People with preferences for ESFJ tend to be sociable and outgoing, understanding what others need and expressing appreciation for their contributions. They collect the necessary facts to help them make a decision and enjoy defining helpful procedures. Words or phrases that describe people with ESFJ preferences at their best are highlighted in the MBTI® Type Head below:
People with preferences for ESFJ work best in an environment that fosters a family-like and harmonious atmosphere with friendly, caring people. They enjoy interacting closely with customers and colleagues and communicating the value of a product, service, or project. ESFJs are likely to be attracted to jobs or careers in child care, healthcare, education, service industries, or religious institutions.
Like ENFJs, people who prefer ESFJ are often driven to take care of the immediate needs of the group and the individuals within the group. They tend to be the one on the team who makes sure birthdays are honored, that new team members are personally welcomed, and that the team bonds through group lunches and other activities. Within a family unit, they are typically the one who makes sure that the family’s traditions are honored, such as celebrating holidays in a particular way each year.
People with preferences for ESFJ are often the rule makers and followers within a group, although the rules must align with their personal values and those of the group. The biggest difference between them and individuals who prefer ENFJ is how they want to help people. They want to provide immediate, practical support, and usually within a traditional structure, whereas the focus of those with ENFJ preferences is on inspiring people to see their long-term potential, and in providing structure to pursue their identified path.
Jobs That Typically Appeal to ESFJs
Child care worker
Medical record technician
Licensed practical nurse
Landscape gardener/lawn maintenance worker
Vocational education teacher
Hairdresser/cosmetologist, manicurist, skin care specialist
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People with preferences for ESFJ make up over 5% of leaders globally while representing about 7% of the general population.* Their preferences may help them consider how their decisions affect others as well as avoid repeating mistakes from the past.
*Note: Global leadership sample includes 960,000+ supervisors, managers, and executives; global sample representing the general population includes 21,000+ individuals. See Introduction to Myers-Briggs® Type and Leadership (2015).
Lean on Me
While STs tend to focus on the execution of objectives and problem-solving as their key strengths, SF leaders more often reported that building relationships (83%), developing others (77%), and promoting teamwork (75%) were among their major contributions. These findings were not surprising given what we know of the SFs' natural approach toward providing for others’ needs. From this, SFs in leadership positions may demonstrate a natural proclivity for:
People with preferences for ESFJ preferences will typically become stressed by the factors highlighted in the MBTI® Stress Head above. In these circumstances they may tend to be pessimistic and rigid and prone to self-doubt and insensitivity. During initial stress they may become so concerned about how others feel that they don’t take care of themselves. Download and share this ESFJ Stress Head to remind you (and your colleagues) about the things that stress you.
People with preferences for ESFJ are often highly attuned to others, showing empathy and understanding their emotional needs and concerns. Their partner, peers, family members, and friends will likely view them as responsible and caring.
Find out more about Types and Relationships
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People with preferences for ESFJ tend to “bring opposing sides together” during conflict (Introduction to Type® and Conflict, p. 37). This can work well for them when others are having trouble understanding each other. However, it could backfire when they don’t bring up their own concerns enough.
The FJ conflict style of people who prefer ESFJ works when others feel their side needs to be heard. However, it could fail when they don’t engage in enough critical thinking to address the real issues.
Who are some famous ESFJs?
Unless they have taken the MBTI assessment and shared their personality type preferences, it’s impossible to know. Anything else is just speculation, and we call it “type-casting.”
Where do our data come from?
All figures and data are representative of our own assessment samples collected at the time users take the Myers-Briggs personality assessment.
Think you might have ESFJ preferences?