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Slave-Driving Bosses - STJ Personality Type in Employee Management

Painfully uncreative managers


Your boss is more likely a successful boss that can tend to be a slave driver. More than a 50% of middle management bosses are this type who are "STJ"—those who favor the Sensing, Thinking and Judging preferences as described by the Myers-Briggs® concept of personality type. The personality types ESTJs and ISTJs also make up over 20% of the population. You may wonder how to deal with a successful boss who turns into bad boss. It is the "STJ" bosses who are all too often

  • micromanaging,
  • plodding,
  • anal retentive,
  • one-step-at-a-time,
  • painfully unimaginative,
  • uncreative, and
  • totally "inside the box" managers.

One thing they have going for them, though, is that they are also incredibly successful.

The people who get things done

If you are reading this, you could well be an "STJ," and hopefully one with a sense of humor who can be kidded. Otherwise, I can just hear your computer going "click/delete."

Senior management loves ESTJs and ISTJs, especially at first. They are the people who get things done, keep the costs way down and, most importantly, don't ask irritating questions like, "Why?" They are just the ones to carry out the organizational goals. They believe in authority and following orders.

Update leadership assumptions

Working for the "STJ"

When you're working for the "STJ" (ESTJ or ISTJ) boss, it's like climbing a steep vertical cliff straight up the mountain. These people have one goal in mind—getting it done. The only rest stops "STJs" allow are to check the equipment, to monitor progress, and to get ready to go again. STJs tend to feel that it's fun only if everything is difficult and tedious.

The "STJ" is a person driven by

  • to-do lists,
  • project plans,
  • standard operating procedures,
  • facts and figures, and
  • “we've always done it this way."

The favorite bumper sticker of the "STJ" could be, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

What's the problem?

"So what's the problem?” you're saying, particularly you who are "STJs." In life you must be totally organized, or else you are just a total “screw off." ESTJs invented management by objectives, daily reports, and status analyses … along with stress, anxiety, and fear of failure.

Working With You Is Killing Me

Working under "STJ" control

When you're working for the "STJ," you understand the value of stability, as they define it—a boring, upward, hard climb. Don't bring up vision, imaginativeness, or inventiveness. These qualities belong with crystal balls and Tarot Cards, not in a business. Their view is that this just wastes a lot of time!

"STJ's" dominate, rule, and run the major parts of organizations. They are the work force who do the accounting and every invoice you every wanted to get through the system. They are ever present in operations, telling you when the floor can be waxed and at what temperature the thermometer will be set for the AC system. They are the implementers, the gatekeepers of every process and function, and the organizational cops.

By the time senior management wises up to the hyper-control of the “STJ”, it's way too late. Senior leadership calls on the "STJ" boss when something needs to be expedited, only to have the "STJ" say that even though he or she is the boss, policies and procedures must be followed, whether they by make sense or not, and to heck with “your” emergency. The rules are the rules!

"STJs" are the guts of the economy

"STJs” are at the top in the industries where there are systems that need to be run, like accounting departments.  They love numbers, small and large.  They do whatever it takes to keep costs down and revenues up.  They're big into law, real estate, and manufacturing.  They are the guts of the economy.

ESTJs and ISTJs have much in common, but are significantly different in their approach.

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Management Styles - Authoritarian and Delegative


ISTJs are in accounting, purchasing, operations, and facilities management. They dominate many aspects of

  • accounting departments,
  • comp and benefits in HR,
  • legal,
  • operations,
  • real estate, and
  • the maintenance of facilities.

They produce complex reports, chart cash and expenses, and pay the bills. If it comes to running the operations on the ground, they run the show. They can be like the cook in the kitchen and won't let anyone to mess with the recipe. They do not welcome suggestions from the outside, guarding the gate.

Delegating Effectively


ESTJs make up a big part of organizational middle management. They head up

  • departments,
  • manage projects, and
  • are the key individual contributors who get things done.

These are the people who deploy resources to get things done. They are "out and about," procuring what's needed and making sure the product gets out the door. They are extremely agile in guiding teams.

They want to know

  • what is the immediate objective,
  • who they're working with, and
  • what are the resources.

In battle they keep up with troops and material and make sure that food and armaments show up in the right quantities at the right time.

The "STJ" Challenge

In the life of an organization there is always the unexpected crisis that cannot be planned for ahead of time. Past information often doesn’t help. Products quickly become obsolete. New advances wipe out what we thought were new technologies and become old, seemingly in an instant.

At this point, we need MBTI types that can improvise, reinvent, redefine and take quick mid course corrections. That's where the “STJ” needs strong, steady, and constant alliances with these other personality types. The other SJ types can help the “STJs” bring a cohesive team together and encourage other types to contribute to the effort. NTs can help foresee the future trends and patterns and guide us out of the bad into a new opportunity. NFs can put together the team in an effective way. SPs are geniuses at improvising in the moment and taking action to make those mid course corrections (as in the below "Uruly Bosses" article).

"STJ" bosses and managers are at the heart of what gets done in organizations. They can be beautiful to watch when with confidence and competence they are able to be the strong leaders of teams.

How to deal with a difficult boss

© 2010 Deidre Shelden


mike keels on May 23, 2016:

no such thing as a good boss . Their job is to manage, most that call themselves bosses are a failure at being a manager

John Young from Florence, South Carolina on July 12, 2011:

Ms Dee, This is the first of your hubs I have read. And as a professional former news reporter I am impressed with your style. I don't follow many writers, but I will follow yours!

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on May 24, 2011:

Ms. Dee - you nailed it - you described my last boss to a T!

gracenotes from North Texas on March 12, 2011:

Good hub, Ms. Dee. I believe that I am an ISFJ.

As far as the ISTJ, I do believe that they would be very likely to take action as a whistle-blower. Years ago, I dated one man like this, and sure enough, he got fired by upper management because he dared to speak up.

Lori J Latimer from Central Oregon on September 25, 2010:

Very interesting Hub on human behavior, specifically in the workplace. Thank you for sharing.

johnnynaakea on September 24, 2010:

Thank you for a very informative hub. I know a few of these type of people. Maybe I am one of them. Ha!

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