ISFJ vs ESFJ | Personality at Work

ISFJ vs ESFJ

ISFJ

The Defender

ESFJ

The Supporter

Personality

ISFJs are quiet, and often understated people-centric doers. Conscientious and hardworking, they are loyal and dedicated to people and organisations, and they take their responsibilities very seriously. They have an incredible store of knowledge and superb memory used to support people and solve problems. Shunning the limelight the ISFJ is often the one who quietly make it all happen.

People focused and action oriented the ESFJ is driven by a sense of duty. Cooperative and helpful, ESFJs are pragmatists, disliking anything woolly, preferring practical solutions to people issues and they will work hard to make this happen. Incredibly organised and great planners the ESFJ can become overly controlling in their desire to help sometimes believing their way is best.

At Work

We all bring something different to the team and we all agree that difference and balance are good things. However when someone is different from us we might not understand them so well so in this section we allow you to compare the differences at work, how these might manifest themselves and how best to manage them.

Contribution to the team

The ISFJ will bring order, clarity, organisation and planning. Although not the most vocal member of the team, the ISFJ will make sure the team moves towards a 'known' conclusion in a planned way.

Contribution to the team

The ESFJ will ensure the team is protected from mistakes, and will focus on the people issues and the detail. They are painstaking, orderly, duty-driven, conscientious and fretful to get it right.

Leading

ISFJs are more of the behind the scenes operators rather than being a charismatic leader. Yet their incredible memory, their caring and practical nature and planning ability make them good team leaders.

Leading

As the ESFJ has the twin focus of getting things done and taking care of the people they will make sure that everything is planned and that the team are equipped and ready to drive for closure.

Being managed

Ironically, because they prove over and over that they can be relied on for their loyalty, attention to detail and high-quality work they can be taken for granted. Give them clarity and trust, they will deliver.

Being managed

As the ESFJ is driven by a sense of duty, they will take their roles seriously and work long and hard to get it right. They may get bogged down in detail and have to lift their heads to see the wider context.

Attention to detail / focus

The ISFJ is painstaking, orderly, conscientious and anxious with a superb capacity for follow-through although they have a tendency to worry about the smaller things and a reluctance to ‘let go.’

Attention to detail / focus

The ESFJ will want a plan and closure, they do not like loose ends or anything they perceive as impractical. Great at follow-through they may struggle with anything woolly, or not clearly getting the intended result.

Creativity

ISFJs have a great memory for facts and superb attention to detail. They will be more factual and practical than overtly creative, motivated by an internal anxiety to ensure the team doesn’t fail.

Creativity

The strength of the ESFJ is their focus on people and detail, not in coming up with the original ideas. They will be super organisers and excel at getting people to stick to the plan and making things happen.

Culture fit

How will an ISFJ fit with your team? Often, when recruitment decisions go wrong, we realise that it was all about personal chemistry. Assess potential candidates for your team

Culture fit

Knowing the real drivers, motivations and aspirations of an ESFJ, and their unique strengths, helps you see how they will fit into your team. Assess potential candidates for your team

Conflict

Some people seek harmony, some see conflict as simply robust discussions, some people are emotional, some more factual. So there is no right or wrong about this and what we are trying to do is help two different people each understand how the other might deal with conflict and what it will mean for how they work together.

Initial response to conflict situations

The ISFJ will initially close down on conflict as they prefer harmony and indeed will work hard at creating that. Indeed the ISFJ will be a superb diffuser of conflict but they themselves do not enjoy it.

Initial response to conflict situations

Because of their natural ‘take charge’ style, the ESFJ will want to diffuse conflict and ensure that harmony is created. This will be done with a no-nonsense, factual common sense approach.

Issues they'll fight on

ISFJs are often called ‘the defender’ and this is because they will stand up for what is right and the rights of others. So whilst they may shun conflict personally, they will fight for other people.

Issues they'll fight on

Down to earth and practical the ESFJ feels that social obligations and responsibilities come before personal fun or relaxation and they will work hard to ensure that harmony is creative and maintained.

Conflict style / communication

Naturally more quiet and low key, the ISFJ will be conciliatory and seek consensus preferring to see good in people and they will look to get to a resolution that makes everyone happy.

Conflict style / communication

Under pressure the ESFJ may become quite parental in their desire to control and create harmony. They are the natural people organisers and although emotional will feel it’s their duty to sort things out.

How they feel after

Altercations and over interaction in general sucks the energy of the ISFJ and so they will need some private ‘me’ time to recharge their batteries and build up their energy levels.

How they feel after

For the ESFJ it is about the end result: did the problem get sorted, are people happy now, was the plan followed? For themselves on occasion the ESFJ can feel that other people do not appreciate them.

Creating harmony

Understanding ISFJs pressure points will help you adapt to one another. We all ‘get’ people who are like us, but for a team to work to its optimum level, we need people who are not like us, so the whole is far greater than the sum of the parts. Map your team and get them collaborating.

Creating harmony

ESFJs deal with conflict in their unique way. Getting team members to understand the differences, where the potential areas of conflict might be and, more importantly, showing them how they can quickly overcome them is key to team success. Map your team and get them collaborating.

Interpersonal

We all have different motivators, values and views on the world, in part driven by our personalities. The section below describes how each person is likely to engage with others, and how others may see them.

Being around them

ISFJs are deep and caring with strong values and these will be held privately until the ISFJ allows people in. What others will perceive is a helpful, supportive, patient and detailed individual who is under the radar. The ISFJ is sociable but doesn’t like the spontaneity of crowds.

Being around them

ESFJs are cooperative, sympathetic pragmatists who dislike anything ethereal or woolly as they prefer practical solutions to people issues and they'll work hard at planning to making this happen.

Dealing with emotions

The ISFJ is an emotional type, but may struggle at times to deal with these, as they are so private and reflective. It may be possible to deeply offend an ISFJ and not realise it, so private are they.

Dealing with emotions

The ESFJ is emotional but will tend to deal with the emotions of others in a practical way making sure there is a clear plan and it is followed. However the ESFJ may not like anything they perceive as criticism.

Openness and sharing feelings

Once allowed close the ISFJ will open up but it will take time and they are not naturally forthcoming. This may mean it emerges in small chunks, often off the back of other conversations.

Openness and sharing feelings

ESFJs are extremely talkative and will voice their feelings easily, including clearly telling others what they should do and also have their own strong views on issues which are important to them.

Drivers and values

ISFJs have a strong sense of what is right and wrong and will tend to do what they believe is right, even at the expense of themselves. They really do want to support, care and are generous with their time.

Drivers and values

ESFJs are driven by a sense of duty, of being at the centre of things and making sure that everything is taken care of with a clear plan of action and that people are following this, in detail.

Personal development

ISFJs require a specific approach to being managed, motivated and developed, so that they are best able to contribute to the wider team. To find out how best to develop different personalities take a look at our development tool.

Personal development

Understanding what makes an ESFJ tick will help bring out the best in them, support them and know how they can play to their strengths. To find out how best to develop different personalities take a look at our development tool.