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.
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.
The ENFJ is the harmonious people champion, warm, caring and extremely organised. The ENFJ will be the one people turn to for help. They are authentic, insightful and great at tuning in to how others are feeling and making people feel truly special. They are found at the emotional heart of a group, selfless, acting as the glue, an unusual combination of bossy and caring.
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
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.
The ENFJ is empathetic and insightful, seeing and making connections between people. Action-oriented, and people-centred they make sure that everything is planned, scheduled, organised and people are happy.
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.
ENFJs are emotional but tend to focus on other people, tuning in and bringing incredible empathy and organisational ability to bear. This means they can get ‘emotioned out’ themselves as they give so much.
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.
Whilst the ENFJ will encourage trust and openness they may not be so open about how they are feeling, indeed they may not really think about that so focused are they on caring for, and organising others.
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.
ENFJs tune into others. They have thin psychological boundaries, and are at risk of being hurt or by those who are less sensitive, often taking on more of the burdens of others than they can bear.
Building stronger relationships
Learn what ESFJs are like in a relationship. Understanding the differences between two types is a really great starting point for getting along. For practical guidance on building strong relationships take our practical tutorial.
Get along better with an ENFJ. Understanding the differences between two types is a really great starting point for getting along. For practical guidance on building strong relationships take our practical tutorial.
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
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.
The twin attributes of insightful caring and organisational ability will mean the ENFJ will see all the interconnections between people, pick up on the cues and work tirelessly to help solve people issues.
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.
The ENFJ is an enthusiastic champion of people who wants to make sure the needs of the people are and taken care of. Excellent networkers who tune into people and popular among their colleagues.
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.
Articulate and confident the ENFJ will be persuasive and tenacious; the one voted the leader or committee chairperson. Everyone knows they can depend on the ENFJ who will fight the cause of the people.
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.
The ENFJ may bite off more that they can chew, as their first priority is to say ‘yes’ and take the pain away for others. During such times they may feel weighed down, overwhelmed and underappreciated.
Dealing with conflict
Some types dislike and avoid conflict, whereas others use it to solve problems and get things done. Understand how an ESFJ deals with conflict in our practical tutorial.
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 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.
ENFJs will bring structure and impetus whilst at the same making sure the needs of all the people are taken care of. Often at the flipchart they capture ideas giving everyone the chance to contribute.
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.
The ENFJ will assume the leadership role simply because they want to drive for closure and ensure that people are happy. They need to satiate their need for action and their passion for people.
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.
Naturally service-driven the ENFJ really does care and will want to apply this energy to tangible outputs, preferably that will help people. They need clarity, real meaning, a worthwhile output and closure.
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.
The ENFJ loves a plan, a clear picture of where they are going and they will work diligently towards the goal. Indeed the ENFJ will feel less comfortable with too many options open, as they need closure.
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.
ENFJs focus on the organisational and people aspects and so are not primarily creative preferring to work on making sure that what has been agreed is properly planned and that people are happy.
Getting the best and motivating
Find out how to get the best out of an ESFJ and what motivates them in our practical tutorial. Are they more motivated by the task at hand, or by the people around them?
Get the best out an ENFJ and learn the way to motivate them. Are they more motivated by people, or by the task at hand? Find out more in our practical tutorial.