Help with my ESTJ boss?

Help with my ESTJ boss?

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  • 1 Post By jabe
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This is a discussion on Help with my ESTJ boss? within the ESTJ Forum - The Guardians forums, part of the SJ's Temperament Forum- The Overseers category; ...

  1. #1

    Help with my ESTJ boss?

    Hi all,

    I've come seeking your advice. I'm an ENFJ (Extravert/iNtuitive/Feeling/Judging) and I'm experiencing a few problems with my ESTJ boss. I hope you won't take any of my comments personally, although they do arise from my frustration!!

    I am really struggling with my ESTJ boss. Bear with my this is a long one, because I am spending a lot of time stressing about it.

    I donít want to change jobs Ė I like the team I work in, I like my place of work and I love my job. I am really keen to progress and want to impress my boss, but the fact she is ST and I am NF is causing me some problems. I donít think she even realises that I feel this sensitive, because she is T and I am F.

    First of all, I have to say, she really is lovely. I like her as a person. Everyone else seems to like her. Relationships are important to her. She is outgoing, and interested in people and helping people. (I donít get this Ė how can someone care that much about people and relationships and not be able to pick up on how they feel?)

    On top of this, she is really nit-picky! She corrects the smallest of things, even when I think whether they are right or wrong is a matter of opinion.

    It really gets me mad, because my spelling and grammar is pretty good, and hers is not exactly a strength. The things she produces are full of mistakes, but she's just not able to spot them. Yet, she meticulously reviews everything we do and brings it back to us to re-do if there is the smallest of mistakes. Stuff like Iíve written the date in a different format to the one she wanted, for example.

    Plus, I find it really irritating that she can't think outside the box! If I suggest something to her, even if it is a really great idea, she looks at me as if I have just suggested we should hire a pink elephant if it is outside her range of experience. She gets really annoyed and almost 'stamps her feet' if I do this when I am presenting an idea different to hers.

    The other thing is, she has such a respect for authority, that she believes we should always bow down to it. I know she does this with her own superiors, although there have been occasions when I have seen her speak out. But she also thinks I should always do this to her. She gets really exasperated when I try to present a different view. Donít get me wrong, I donít want to cause conflict or trouble and usually agree to whatever she says to stop it escalating, but I feel really annoyed that my opinion hasnít been taken on board.

    Also, she finds it really difficult to give feedback - either positive or negative. Don't get me wrong, she'll say 'thanks' or 'do that again' but she never says 'That was great because...' or 'I'd prefer you didn't do that because...' I guess that's because she just assumes that her way is the right way things are done; they fit in with her script and to her it requires no explanation - it just is.

    On the same note, because she is sensing rather than intuitive, she will sometimes accept things Ďas rightí because they have been presented to her with evidence even if the evidence misleading or wrong. This is where I get most frustrated, because she already has a fixed idea now, and as and NF I just can't seem to explain it to her in a way that is meaningful. I have to make a conscious effort to go through it in minute detail and I get frustrated and feel like I'm patronising her.

    The fact that we are both EJs can be great - we can get down to things and get them done. But, I feel like she doesn't really respect me or trust me. I can't put my finger on exactly what it is. I guess she respects my intellect, but doesn't really see it as useful. I find this quite upsetting. I know I am an NF, and that she probably thinks this is all a bit 'woolly' but I have some good ideas! She can't really criticise the end results I produce - I do the job and I do it to a good standard, but I guess she just doesn't trust how I get there and doesn't have any respect for my method. This means I have to keep everything under wraps and then go 'ta daaaa'. This doesn't help communication, believe me and I would like to be able to ask for support.

    Basically, I donít really know how to get her on side so that I can utilise my strengths in my job and I don't WANT to be irritated by my boss - I want to get on with her (after all, I am and ENFJ!). Any help or advice would be great!!

    Thanks in advance.
    Rory thanked this post.



  2. #2
    Unknown Personality

    Hi there,

    I'll toss my two copper pieces at this...
    First off, her being ST is not the issue. The things you describe are straits of SJ, the T isnt so important in this equation.
    Basically, in a nut shell and to make use of healthy stereotype a sensor who judges (SJ) makes decisions without the benefit of foresight. Imagine how scary it is to have to make a decision and not have all the information needed at hand, and be unable or very uncomfortable trying to fill in the blanks with "guesses".

    So, what SJs do is go with what worked yesterday. After all, we didn't use a pink elephant yesterday - it is lunacy to think that using one tomorrow is the right course of action... right?

    Established rules and seniority are paramount in the SJ world. If I follow orders, and follow the rules then how can I be wrong?

    Because the N position is focused forward, and the SJ is focused on the past (tradition and rules that worked before) they tend to see the ideas that you come up with as just making things up, or so much BSing.

    And she may be outgoing and likable, but the lack of feedback that is more meaningful is usually there... but withheld because it is seen as not being needed or awkward to speak - mostly because because they are in charge, and believe you follow them because you respect the established order of things. Just like she does... (She views her boss the same way she assumes you view her or should view her.)

    And like I alluded to above, she doesn't trust your methods because they are not based on established rules and precedent.

    It is a tough spot to be in. I'm ENTJ and my boss was ESTJ, we clash. He's out now because of surgery and I'm running the show, but now I answer to his boss an ESFJ. The situation changes a little bit because now I'm at the helm of my area, and my new boss (by proxy) gives me the same free reign as all shop chiefs get, but his SJ nature still pokes through on areas where we disagree. My way of doing things is an enigma to him, but he leaves me alone, because I get results, run my shop well, and because tradition and established precedent dictates that if I'm getting my job done he stays out of my business.

    There's an attempt to help you understand... now for the "advice" portion of it:
    It's her show, her name is attached to the success and failures your work and the work of the other teammates creates. If she soaks up all the credit, then you'd have a right to complain. But the bottom line is your job is do what she tells you to do, and if she deems it... how she tells you to do it. Believe me when I say I'm not sticking up for her... I can't stand my ESTJ boss (when he was around) and I feel your pain, but at the end of the day it is your place to do what you're getting paid for, as harsh as that may sound.

    I also see something in the tone of your post that I can't quite put into words... but I think both of you suffer from some ignorance (as the definition of the word... not as an insult) of each other. You're upset she can't think outside the box and she's probably irritated that you don't seem to "Get it" when it comes to doing things the way she asks, or the way they've always been done. I get the impression you want her to understand you, and how great you are (you almost sound like you think you're better than she...) but you don't really care to try to understand her... there's a light hint of contempt... now I know why you posted here, so don't take that too harshly... but that is your tone, if not your intent. You may need to really check your motives, because if this is how you come across to me, you might be coming across that way to her.

    The unfortunate truth is you're going to have to earn her trust for your methods, and her respect for the special skills you posses that she doesnt. (I really believe you have them.) But you also need to learn to respect and understand her views too, actually... that can be vital since she's the boss--she doesnt have to understand you at all to be honest...

    What I'd recommend you do... is ask her a project or whatever "unit of work" you guys do, that you can can assume direction of. And do it your way, present her with the results and get her feedback on the results... keep the methods to yourself until you get her opinion of the results. Once she sees what a good job you did, explain to her how you did it. Before you do this... read up on the differences between NF and SJ (Amazon.com: Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence: David Keirsey: Books) so you'll know how to express where the two of you are not seeing eye to eye... (don't forget; she's boss.) See if you can find some mutual understanding. Doing the work before you seek the understanding with her can be important because if you do quality work without doing it "her way" it sets a precedence (very important to SJs, gives them something they can trust). But I would not take myself out of the loop... or keep her in the dark. That "keeping things under wraps then going taa-da!" thing doesnt promote good leadership-followership, keeps your boss in the dark about something she's ultimately responsible for, and could land you in hot water.


    Anyway... long question, long answer. Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Grim; 02-21-2009 at 12:45 PM.

  3. #3
    ESTJ - The Guardians

    Very good answer Bear and I have little more to say about this.

    I agree that you really need to prove your competency if you want the trust and respect of your boss and I think Bear's suggestion is a good one given your boss will accept that proposition. Now, I understand your views about there is no right or wrong answer to some things, but when it's a matter of doing the job right and if the methods you used in the past have worked well, then there shouldn't be a need for an alternative. Rather, if you think your boss is a competent boss without any personal bias and if she really gets the job done, maybe you should just trust her methods and things that she does.
    jabe thanked this post.

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  5. #4

    Thanks for your advice. My position has been that I feel comfortable doing things my way and I don't really want to do them the way she does (even though I know it works for her). In part this is because I'm not sure this makes best use of my skills. However, it's also partly because I think my way is better. Deep down, I know this is not the case - we're just different - but I'm finding that a hard pill to swallow.

    Bear, your comments are very insightful. She has loads more experience and knowledge than I do and she is very efficient in her work, but in terms of intellect I guess I do think of myself more highly. (I think she probably does too, oddly, and in spite of my comments above!)
    I guess the point you make (and the one I don't really want to accept) is that, at times, I have to do things her way and make compromises. After all, she is the boss. So in sum, respect her ways of doing things, and in time try to earn her respect for mine. Definitely food for thought, and definitely not the end of the challenge for me. Oh, and thanks for the link. I'm just about to go and check that out now!

  6. #5

    I have no idea what to tell you. I'm in a situation fairly similar and I've gotten into countless arguements that end with "I don't care what the numbers say, I don't like your attitude." And it comes from him disliking when someone has a different answer to a problem... His boss is very concerned with the end result instead of bat-shit crazy protocol, so he likes me... I'm kind of a lone worker. I get my job done in a professional, responsible manner... I don't get payed enough to do things the wrong way because that's the way he wants it...


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