Monday, May 30, 2011

Personality and the Christian, Part 4: Supervisors (ESTJ)

The Supervisor personality type (ESTJ) is one which often finds itself in a position of leadership. Civic-minded and highly social, supervisors are generous with their time and money and often heavily involved in a variety of organizations. Supervisors are often highly successful middle managers, working well under the direction of their boss but also demanding the same from their subordinates.

Supervisors are effective managers of time and agendas, and excellent at organizing tactical goals and carrying them out. Like their fellow SJ personality types, they have little patience for theories or experiments, preferring to do things in ways that have demonstrated success in the past.

Supervisors are often sticklers for the rules, and expect those whom they manage to be so as well. They believe in fair but firm discipline, and are the only personality type that might be able to out-work a Protector. They believe firmly in being responsible and dutiful, often performing well at school and always having a respect for authority. This personality type is one who is very outspoken about doing things the “right” way.

Marriage and parenthood are sacred, traditional institutions, and supervisors make great, loyal, long-term friends. They talk easily with others and are often well-liked, and greatly look forward to social events, country club gatherings, charity dinners, and the like. Supervisors do understand the importance of tact and politics, but they deplore sending mixed messages, and tend to be rather direct and clear in their communications.

Vocations and Ministry
Supervisors are smart and well-organized, and natural leaders. They also communicate effectively and feed off of the energy of crowds, so they generally find themselves in roles as team leaders, supervisors, and managers. In ministry, they tend toward positions of leadership and enjoy the limelight, so they often find themselves as pastors, deacons, elders, or ministry directors.

As a general rule of thumb, Supervisors find themselves unhappy doing the “unnoticed” or “behind the scenes” ministries that the Inspectors and Protectors found engaging. They are not necessarily vain, but they feed off of the energy of others, and to be happy in their jobs they must have the opportunity both to lead others and to be led. Many strong pastors have this personality type, and even more exceptional associate pastors—these are the guys who “make the vision happen” and help spread it throughout a church or ministry.

Discipleship Strengths
Sharing their faith is not an issue for Supervisors. They build relationships well and are easily liked; in addition, their faith is based upon intellect and organization, so they generally do well with explaining the concepts to others. They gain a great deal of joy from mission work and evangelism, and putting a team together and leading them brings them great pleasure.

They are great as heads of ministries, because they can organize effectively and gain people’s followership to make a ministry vision come to life. In addition, Supervisors excel at serving as an example of the faith in secular, civic organizations as well—serving as heads of PTA, or holding public office, with their faith and traditional approach being very clear.

Discipleship Struggles
Supervisors have somewhat of a struggle empathizing with others; it is not their natural mode of thinking. They are not the personality type to sit in a quiet time of reflection and pray for others naturally; they would rather be out helping the poor in a tangible way than praying for them. Disciplines of fasting, quiet time, and prayer are tough for Supervisors to master in a real way. Do not misunderstand—they are disciplined enough to do those things every single day; they just may not get as much benefit from them as a Protector or Inspector did. Instead, their talents are better suited for organizing ministries and working with people to make them happen.

As a general rule, isolation is not a good thing for Supervisors. If you are a Supervisor, do not despair when your personal time alone with God seems less rich than your time with other people; while you cannot neglect those times, it is natural that God will speak through others to get to you.

Scriptural Example
Elijah was a bold, take-charge prophet who was not afraid to stand up against the opposition. Well versed in the Scriptures, he was a thinker but one who was practical above all else—he did not spend his time writing theologies or seeking the mysteries of God, but instead went out to confront those who would dare to oppose the Lord. Never afraid of a challenge or a crowd, Elijah is the type of personality who can stand up to several hundred other prophets, challenge them to a duel of faith, and actually mock them when their god cannot perform.

However, his greatest period of depression—and it became suicidal—happened when he believed himself to be alone. A Supervisor is a natural leader, and years of trying to “stand in the gap” without followers can destroy this personality type.

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