The ESTP personality type is constantly looking for action, for the 'next big thing,' throwing themselves in social activities, difficult situations and projects with real zest and energy. The imaginative, reflective life is not for them, preferring to jump in and see what happens. Supreme optimists, ESTPs will work long and hard on activities which interest them but can switch tack entirely once they begin to lose this interest. The ESTP does not enjoy the constraints of deadlines, schedules or end-dates so if an ESTP does exactly what you asked them, it is only because they wanted to do so in the first place. ESTPs love to be at the centre stage, demonstrating feats of wonder and daring.
An ESTP will need lots of practical, real-life experiences as it is through such activities that they best learn and understand, and indeed where they are happiest and at their best. The 'P' aspect of their characters means that they are flexible, but this can also mean they become bored by routine, procedures which they see as irrelevant, and impatient with those who say: 'let's think about it first.' The ESTP wants to suck it and see and, if it doesn't work, well there will always be another opportunity just around the corner. Real hard workers, ESTPs will immerse themselves activities which interest them, but they’ll become bored and lose interest if the task becomes more steady state and then their energies will become depleted or focused in a totally different direction. The ESTP is pragmatic, tough-minded and will act on the facts and data, rather than emotion. They don't like to be controlled, need to know they can switch horses in mid-stream and may slide out of obligations, if they get a 'better offer.' An ESTP will generally be able to switch tasks with good nature and humour, will enjoy interaction and 'the craic.' Being so action-oriented, the ESTP will look to get on with it and may therefore jump in without being in possession of all the facts as the excitement and rush of potentially interesting action will spur them on. This makes them excellent champions for the cause, provided someone is checking progress and can sweep up any debris behind them. The ESTP sees life through their own very subjective lenses and it is a fun packed, great-tasting adventure with one sensory experience after another. They jump into the ‘next big thing’ without thinking through the consequences so keen are they to immerse themselves in something new. If the project needs an injection of energy or there’s a big immediate problem, step forward the ESTP. They are spontaneous, active individuals.
Strong ‘T’ types the ESTP may often forget to factor in the implications on other people as this new experience is to be grasped immediately and anything that stands in the way may be inadvertently trampled underfoot in the rush. The impulsive nature of the ESTP can see them cut to the car chase and bring great energy to bear on any new project that captures their interest, but this expedient side can also see them drop the idea once the initial fascination has passed and a new experience is ready and waiting. This need for excitement means the ESTP will learn ‘on the hoof,’ by actually throwing themselves into the experience without thought or planning, and “let’s see what happens.” Every new experience is ‘the big one’ and will consume their energies, attention and time until…er...it doesn’t! The ESTP loves to get involved and will be great at enthusing others although their expedient side means that once others have been through several cycles and see how they operate there may be a feeling of ‘here we go again’ and ESTP leaders can create ‘initiative fatigue’ in organisations and staff, with their constant desire to try out new activities, ideas and projects.
Theories or anything conceptual makes the ESTP restless, bored and then they will disconnect from the process and go look for something else, often without telling anyone. The ESTP has an attention span which is very short and their energies wane if they think they’re ‘treading water.’ Having to sit and read or reflect would just not ‘compute’ with the ESTP and so they would move on, swiftly and often leaving debris in their wake. Follow-through isn’t the forte of the ESTP but if the project needs an injection of energy or there’s a big immediate problem, that is where they excel. Like the other SPs, ESTPs love acting on impulse. Activities involving power, speed, immersion and risk are attractive to the ESTP and supressing these de-energises them. The ESTP may be the ‘first to try it out,’ but then they’re onto the next experience as soon as it becomes predictable, the need for the thrill outweighing anything else.
Linking ‘type’ and ‘careers’ would be easy if it was just about listing specific jobs that perfectly fit specific personalities. However in truth it is more difficult than that as ignores other, more important issues, such as the organisation, the values and the culture, which are far better determinants of suitability than a job title. Also individual jobs vary widely from industry to industry, organisation to organisation and person to person. Therefore our focus on ‘type’ and ‘careers’ will be far more on you: your personality, your aptitudes, interests, likes, strengths and weaknesses and then matching these to the sorts of environments, cultures and norms within organisations that will allow you, given your character, to thrive grow and flourish. We spend a lot of our time at work and so it is important to get these issues right or we could spend a lot of working time unhappy, unproductive and unfulfilled.
The ESTP has an incredibly capacity for jumping in and getting the job done. Thinking too deeply about it or “let’s wait and see what happens” is not the domain of the action-oriented, thrill-seeking ESTP. Intensely practical, drawing on their vast store of knowledge, experience and previous ways of doing things, they have little time for theories or concepts. They prefer risky, exciting or thrilling short-term activities, and definitely not conventional or repetitive routines. The ESTP values freedom and flexibility and will often complete tasks in the face of any rules or regulations. This persistence often influences their ability to navigate superbly through restrictions in order to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. The ESTP prefers hands-on work and would rather be doing a task than discussing it and they will produce work of genuine quality and precision. However, their tendency towards risk and spontaneity may result in not following through with some responsibilities or commitments, as they will like the bits they like. Their ability to remain focused in a crisis is incredible, indeed there is part of the ESTP that comes alive in a crisis and they need that feed of action and potential to fail to drive them to succeed. When approaching a problem their focus is intense and detailed but for the ESTP when it’s over, it’s over and they will be off in search of the ‘next big thing.’
ESTPs are impervious to their environments and that is what makes them such superb, action-oriented fixers. They can be dropped into immediate problems and will get straight to it. However, this focus can mean they don’t pick up on how others are feeling, as their focus is to get the job done. So, while they are always friendly, amendable and fun to be around, they are less comfortable in emotionally charged situations, and may get surprised with other people being upset as they tend not to fully understand their impact and feelings don’t really ‘compute.’ They tend to work in short bursts of energy applying all their knowledge and experience to solving the problem right here, right now. This means they often neglect to plan, and so other people may see them as disorganised and taking shortcuts. They can become bored with the more routine and workaday tasks and may have to apply themselves to tie up loose ends, as they will be looking forward to the next big, action-oriented project. The ESTP preference for short term fixes and high impact immediate solutions may mean the neglect the wider context for their actions, as they like to get stuck in and do, then move on. The ESTP needs to be full on and so they will need a constant feed of short term, action-oriented projects or they will become restless.
The ESTP excels in difficult environments where they can use their huge store of experience and knowledge to solve practical problems that require immediate application. Energetic and single-minded, they can jump straight in to a problem and apply themselves to coming up with radical and very quick solutions. They need lots going on, lots of variety and san environment that values ‘doers.’ ESTPs are at their best in a crisis, where their natural disregard for rules, authority and structures allows them to focus on and tackle the present crisis or problem in the most effective way and it is the challenge the feeds their energies. The ESTP needs a practical environment, where they can apply themselves and see tangible results. The ESTP is friendly and an extremely positive influence, happy working in a team, it’s just that they just don’t need people and certainly don’t really understand emotion. They are better at fixing problems, in a practical, pragmatic way than dealing with ‘people issues,’ which does not really play to their strengths.
People-centric, slow-paced, repetitive environments where a premium is placed on adherence to rules and regulations and where there is no room for risk taking will not bring out the best in the ESTP. Forward planning and endless detail will not motivate them as they need to be fully immersed in solving difficult problems. They will thrive in practical environments where they have the freedom and flexibility to get on and do it their way, and not have to ask permission. They have a strong independent streak means so won’t want to be micro managed or told what to do or how to do it, they need to feel they have the freedom act as required. A lack of challenge and no facility to respond quickly would not be good for the ESTP as they thrive on difficulty and pressure and they will lose energy if they are asked to follow the line and move methodically towards conclusion. They will not want to spend time in meetings or dealing with the emotional aspect of people, as they are intensely factual and practical and don’t really get the more subtle or theoretical issues.
The ESTP will be happiest and most productive in a challenging role that can offer them change, variety, flexibility and action. ESTPs become stifled if put in a box and the organisation will get the best out of them if they can use their practical, problem-solving strengths in a crisis. Asking them to plan and work in a prescribed way with protocols and tradition will not bring out the best in them. Roles such as Consultant, Trouble-shooter, Crisis Management, Plant Manager, offshore energy type roles where there are elements of danger and the need is short term, intense focus on practical problems, then moving onto the next one are where they excel. The ESTP has incredible drive and energy, but all focused on practical application and sorting things right now.
In a team situation, the ESTP personality type will bring so much energy and an urgency to get things rolling - and make sure they happen right now. Impatient and wanting to get on and do, the ESTP will look to have an immediate and positive impact on the team and as such will be a good catalyst for action, cutting through anything woolly or ethereal.
They have the energy and drive of the ENTJ and ESTJ but have a much lower boredom threshold so can lose interest once the initial fascination has passed. In the initial stages however the ESTP can bring a tremendous enthusiasm to bear on the team, firing everyone up and motivating and cutting through all the red tape to get real things done.
ESTPs are not planners but episodic leaders who will seek to get things done, move on and get more things done, working in short bursts of energy. They prefer action-oriented people who don’t slow things down and who cut to the chase and who demonstrate hands-on practical approaches.
The ESTP drive and energy is all focused on practical application and sorting things right now. They have a low boredom threshold but when focused on the task at hand they can do so forensically, but once it’s done they will get bored and need another thrill. The ESTP is essentially a practical type, preferring to use facts, data, knowledge and experience to fix things and will not really value reflecting or ‘blue sky thinking, or complex theories they prefer to jump right in and do.
ESTPs are engaging individuals who share their opinions easily. They are fun loving individuals who like the banter of verbal sparring and robust interactions, provided they are factual and interesting. ESTPs have a low boredom threshold and immerse themselves fully in an experience, enjoy it to the max, then they’re off looking for the next thrill. They don’t really ‘get’ or see the need for emotions, as they don’t really help get the job done or the problem fixed or make it fun. ESTPs are very protective and family oriented and will support those close, but they don’t like to be constrained or, worse still, told what to do, they are extremely independent beings. Boredom saps their energy, they need the constant feed, drawing energy from moving swiftly from issue to the next, coming up with practical solutions to whatever is thrown at them, and then moving on. They are great company, friendly and chatty, but don’t really ‘get’ emotions.
Direct, factual and economic in their use of language, ESTPs will tell it like it is and expect others to do the same. This can see them project as a little brutal at times, but they are genuinely well-meaning and see language as function, i.e. a medium through which people can get to the factual truth and so solve practical problems. Anything an ESTP sees as fanciful or ethereal will be brought down to earth. Reflection and ‘let’s think about this’ will irritate ESTPs whose sole purpose is to ‘do,’ and make it fun at the same time. There is `a refreshing honesty to the ESTP, provided others see that they are being direct, not harsh. But it does mean they can forget the ‘niceties’ of ensuring people are onside, it isn’t that they don’t care, more that they don’t notice.
The ESTP likes to move quickly, they are not ponderous, they would rather be doing stuff than thinking about it. They learn by experience and so they will jump in and do and are happy to ‘see what happens.’ The ESTP does not need a plan and they are confident enough to forge the new path, indeed it’s what they prefer. Ultimate thrill-seekers, ESTPs love new experiences, lots of stuff happening and will throw themselves in wholeheartedly, until it becomes tedious.
ESTPs revel in robust discussions, not for its own sake or to cause offence, but because it creates the honesty and tension that gets things sorted. They love banter and the more fun it is, the better for them. Impervious to their environment they also rarely take offence. Once it’s over, for an ESTP it’s over and they will have moved onto the next big thing. They don’t bear grudges or dwell on issues, they are not reflective individuals, preferring to sort then move on.
Choose another personality type to compare side by side the different approaches work, attitudes to conflict and the way they engage with others.