So much has been written about whether opposites attract or difference is the key but in real life it is all about understanding the differences, accommodating and managing them. This section will help you see where the potential for conflict exists between personality types and help you manage it.
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.
Outspoken and organised the ESTJ will take charge, bringing order, structure and focus to situations. Their desire to get things done may mean that they ignore the people issues, as they act on the facts and so are not so tuned in to peoples’ feelings. However everyone will know where they stand and they will use their vast store of knowledge and experience to plan and deliver.
There is no perfect type and in the same way there are no perfect matches. We can all learn to adapt and modify our behaviour if we choose and this section is therefore not designed to suggest particular specific matches but to demonstrate areas of similarity and difference so that a true understanding can happen and thus reduce the risk of misunderstandings.
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.
ESTJs are built to take charge, at work, at play and in relationships. They are essentially caring and traditional but they will express themselves with a directness that can at times be bone jarring.
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.
The ESTJ doesn’t really get emotions or indeed anything they see as irrational and if someone is upset they will have to translate this into practical issues that they can then deal with factually and practically.
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.
ESTJs are extremely open and direct but they don’t really truly ‘get’ or understand emotions. Everything is translated into facts and data and presented in a logical way that can leave people feeling processed.
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.
The ESTJ is built to get things done, taking charge, helping and making sure that the plan is stuck to. They may not demonstrate empathy but they will care in their way, which is practically.
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 the relationship.
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.
ESTJs are happy with conflict, as they are essentially impervious to their environment and so would see conflict as simply an element of getting things done, and may not ‘get’ others who are more sensitive.
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.
The ESTJ wants to plan the work, work the plan in life as well as work. So if things are not moving forward, as agreed, they will be extremely vocal as driving for closure is what they’re built for.
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.
Direct and factual the ESTJ may inadvertently upset others who are more feeling as they see honesty and incredible directness as the same thing and so may at times project an honesty that is brutal.
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.
Conflict is all part of getting things done and so the ESTJ will not let it affect them nor harbour ill feelings. It needs to be said, it has been said, we’re all clear so now let’s move on would be their motto.
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.
The ESTJ will be the organiser, of materials, of people, of deadlines and team, making sure tasks are planned and coordinated and that everyone is clear what is expected and what should happen next.
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.
ESTJs are conservative and predictable with great organisational ability, ensuring everyone is clear where they stand. They like a plan and like people to stick to the plan working towards the known.
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.
ESTJS need to know exactly where they stand and what is expected of them and then they will work long and hard to get it done. They dislike anything they perceive as woolly and will act on the facts.
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.’
ESTJs have practical common sense and a good deal of self-control and discipline, they work hard and tackle problems in a systematic fashion moving in a straight line from beginning to end.
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.
ESTJs have a practical, factual nature, and enjoy hard work, although they may lack flexibility and be unresponsive to new or unproven ideas, as the ESTJ prefers the known and rely on their experience.