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Work Motivation - ESFJ and ENFJ Occupations and Careers Advice

Deidre has a Masters in applied linguistics and translation for her 20 years overseas. She's worked as a certified provider of the MBTI®.

We have the choice of situations that energize us and drain us. Certain things or occupations can build us up or tear us down. Such knowledge, often determined in career or personality tests, can help guide us in team building at work or in managing our own lives. Employee engagement and motivation can be better encouraged by considering individual personality types. Let's look at the ESFJ and ENFJ personalities.

Two similar personalities

by joshdeweese

by joshdeweese

Why Personality Type?

Personality type is a way to understand what keeps us going and what energizes us. We have a natural inborn preference that determines certain kinds of work situations as more comfortable and therefore more enjoyable. Careers and occupations with these work situations are more ideally suited for us and provides some of the how to motivate employees.

Each of the 16 Myers-Briggs® personality types uses mental energy in a unique way. This is an important element behind employee productivity.

What personality type is

Our 4 Mental Functions

There are four mental functions, or processes, according to Jung's typology; two opposite ways of gathering information and two opposite ways of making conclusions. The two ways of gathering of information has to do with how we Perceive, and the two ways for making conclusions has to do with how we Judge.

 4 Mental Functions  



Through detailed facts from experiences 

ways we gather information 


Through global wholes of possible interrelationships 






On objective logical analysis of the information

ways we make conclusions


On the value of the information

We all use each of these four mental functions. A basic way we differ from each other, though, is how we use each of the four. Ever wonder why siblings brought up by the same parents in the same household in the same location can still be so different? You've got it! The way each uses the four mental functions can make huge differences!


The Favorite Mental Function

Each person uses one of the four mental functions as their favorite . This favorite (or dominant) mental function uses the lion's share of a person's psychological energy. This favorite mental function is therefore the most conscious of the four -- the one we are most aware of and can most readily control, or direct.

This is how we can know what energizes us mentally! We very much enjoy using our favorite mental function and tend to acquire a lot of experience and competence with it. We naturally tend to choose to take on tasks, relationships and even careers, that energize us in this way.

ESFJ and ENFJ Energizers

Let's look at what energizes the ESFJ and ENFJ Myers-Briggs personality types. You share the same favorite mental function, Feeling, to make conclusions by the value of the information. As extraverts you use this in the outside world.

Here are the Feeling activities, environments and resources you ESFJs and ENFJs most enjoy and derive benefit from, and therefore are what energize you at work.

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Energizing environments and resources

Activities You Enjoy Environments You Enjoy Resources 

Contribute to society 

Being valued for your contributions

Talk it through with uninvolved person 


Control of own workload and schedule is manageable 

Time alone, journaling, a support group

Independent achievement 

Sociable and genuine appreciation expressed

Take on a new project 

Honest and open communication

Sense of connection with others

Rely on spiritual values in the experience

How the Likes of the ESFJ and ENFJ Differ

In addition to these common features, you ESFJs have a greater liking for for their work to be made simple and predictable, having Sensing as your second favorite mental function. This is reflected, too, in your desire for stable work environments that are well defined, organized and structured so that you can work at a steady pace.

You ENFJs have a greater liking for a broader range of work opportunities, having iNtuition as your second favorite mental function. This is seen too in your enjoyment of working with people from different backgrounds and the opportunity to add to your knowledge. You appreciate job security, but it may be less important than professional advancement and career success.

Sensing vs Intuitive

Typical Resources and Remedies

You ESFJs and ENFJs will know you have become a veteran of life's struggles by having developed well a

  • Reduced need for harmony
  • Trust in own logical thinking
  • Tempered response to conflict

Realizing what energizes you, in particular, is a way to grasp what it is that you can do to counteract many of life's energy drainers. You managers may find, when you know an employee's personality type, you can better motivate your staff through engaging them in work activities and environments that energize, rather than drain.

Managing our own activities, environments and resources, or that of our staff, may help avoid low morale and even staff attrition more often than not. I encourage you to give this a think, and a try!

© 2010 Deidre Shelden


Deidre Shelden (author) from Texas, USA on April 08, 2012:

wba, so good you are applying this insight on personality type motivations to your loved ones. The accuracy of the Myers-Briggs personality type information has been proven over time-tested use. May the help this can provide be experienced by you and your family. from upstate, NY on April 08, 2012:

Thank you for these insights! They will help me understand my ENFJ wife and my ESFJ son, so that I can give them some insight as to how they may improve their respective work envirnments! What caught my eye is their need to be valued,to have a connection with others and to have a sence of control of their workload. These issues are exactly what they deal with.

Also in regards to their secondary function "intuition" my wife does have a need for professional advancement, career success and an opportunity to learn from others with diverse backgrounds.

Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on August 24, 2010:

Excellent information! Very well written - concise videos. Thank you!

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