Articles > The ESTJ Personality Type

The ESTJ Personality Type

ESTJs are ambitious, organized, direct, and eager to take the lead.

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This series of short articles touches on several aspects of the ESTJ personality type.

You can jump straight to any section by clicking the links below, or keep reading to learn about the definition of the ESTJ personality type.

What does ESTJ stand for?

ESTJ stands for Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, and Judging.

In the popular Myers-Briggs or 16-personalities tradition, all personalities belong to one of 16 types. Each type is defined by preferences across these four dimensions:

  • Introverted vs. Extraverted
  • Sensing vs. Intuitive
  • Thinking vs. Feeling
  • Perceiving vs. Judging

Here’s how to understand the ESTJ’s place on all four dimensions:


ESTJs have an extraverted attitude or orientation.

ESTJs tend to focus more on the objective world of people and their external environment, while an introverted attitude leads to a greater focus on the inner, subjective world of concepts and ideas.


ESTJs prefer to use the cognitive function of sensing over intuition when taking in information about the world.

This dimension, sensing vs. intuition, is known as the perceiving function in MBTI theory.

Sensing refers to perceiving and gathering information directly through the sensory system. People who prefer sensing trust their five senses to directly observe the world, and they can be more skeptical of more intuitive, theoretical approaches to learning and understanding.


ESTJs prefer using their thinking function when judging information and assessing values and needs among people.

This dimension, thinking vs. feeling, is known as the judging function in MBTI theory.

By prefering thinking over feeling as their judging function, ESTJs lean heavily on logic, consistency, and correctness when making decisions, rather than focusing on others’ emotions, desires, and perceptions.


As a judging type, ESTJs tend to present their judging function of thinking to the external world.

Because they present their thinking function externally, other people see ESTJs as logical, rational, and highly analytical.

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ESTJ cognitive functions

The four-letter types from MBTI theory encode each type’s attitudes and preferred cognitive functions.

  1. The first letter indicates an introverted vs. extraverted attitude
  2. The second letter indicates the preferred sensing function
  3. The third letter indicates the preferred judging function
  4. The fourth letter indicates a judging vs. perceiving attitude

For the ESTJ,

  • E: This type has an extraverted attitude
  • S: This type prefers perceiving through sensing over intuition
  • T: This type prefers judging through thinking over feeling
  • J: This type has a judging attitude or orientation and will present their favored judging function (thinking) to the outer world

From this, we can determine how the ESTJ prefers the four cognitive functions of intuition, sensing, thinking, and feeling:

  • ESTJs’ primary function is thinking (T)
  • ESTJs’ secondary (auxiliary) function is sensing (S)
  • ESTJs’ tertiary function is intuition (N)
  • ESTJs’ inferior function is feeling (F)

Why? ESTJs have an extraverted attitude (E) and a judging attitude (J), so they present their judging function (T) to the external world.

Like all extraverted types, ESTJs prefer an orientation to the outer world, so they present their strongest cognitive function (T) to the outer world and other people.

ESTJs’ secondary function, sensing, is the one they rely on more heavily in their inner, subjective world. This counterbalances their extraverted primary function.

In MBTI theory, the tertiary function is the opposite of the secondary function, which for ESTJs is intuition.

Lastly, the inferior function is the opposite of the primary function, which for ESTJs is feeling. The inferior function in all personality types is the least developed function.

How rare is the ESTJ personality type?

According to the MBTI, somewhere between 8% and 17% of all people will be classified as an ESTJ.

ESTJ compatibility with other types

For comparisons between ESTJs and other types from the 16 Personality typology, visit any of the type pairings below:

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