Assertive Executive (ESTJ-A) vs. Turbulent Executive (ESTJ-T)

With their trademark responsibility, work ethic, ambition, and leadership, Assertive Executives (ESTJ-A) and Turbulent Executives (ESTJ-T) share a very dynamic path through life. Because of the nature of their core traits, where Identity might split other personality types, Executives can look very similar. This similarity is likely due to their shared sense of dedication and drive. However, that doesn’t mean that they are untouched by Identity differences. Let’s explore further to see how those differences play out, specifically in their emotional and social interactions.

Passionate Thinkers

We see a lot of Executive Identity differences playing out in their emotions. But that doesn’t mean that either type of Executive is highly emotional. It’s helpful to remember this as we explore the Assertive and Turbulent personality differences.

That said, when compared to other Sentinels, both types of Executive describe themselves in ways that suggest that they are passionate about their goals and accomplishments. And both types of Executive will likely stand their ground when the defense of their achievements and goals seems needed. These personality types are the Sentinels who are least afraid of conflict.

Turbulent Executives take this up a notch. They guard all the things they’re responsible for energetically. In defending them, they can become angry and even aggressive. When compared to Assertive Executives, Turbulent Executives describe themselves as more emotionally reactive.

It’s likely that when typical Executive ambition meets Turbulent doubt, Turbulent Executive personalities are more likely to engage in defensive thinking and behavior. They may do so in the name of protecting their gains or goals. Turbulent Executives are more likely than their Assertive counterparts to say they are easily provoked and to meet aggression with aggression. That probably comes across as toughness. But, in reality, it may be a more fragile defensiveness.

However, that doesn’t mean that Turbulent Executives pass through life always angry by any means. Turbulent Executives are likely to moderate their emotions for practical and rational reasons. Being too upset too often is not suitable for personal or professional relationships, which are valuable to them. When viewed in an overarching way, these personalities are more likely to look for a rational approach when interacting with others rather than an emotional one.

Assertive Executives have some of these same protective qualities, but they aren’t as likely to take a defensive stance quite as quickly. They are more likely to believe that they can easily handle any threats they sense or imagine, and so are more easygoing when responding to such things. They are less likely to dwell on problems or the past, which might suggest that these personalities let go of slights and find forgiveness more easily. But their relaxed nature may also be interpreted as apathy by others who do not know them well.

The Role Others Play

Similarly, Assertive Executives say they don’t need approval to be happy. Assertive individuals tend to think in more independent terms. When this independence is combined with the Thinking personality trait, these Executives are a little more likely than Turbulent Executives to keep others at a distance. That’s not to say Assertive Executives are incapable of deep relationships, but such connections may not be as urgent for these personality types.

Assertive Executives are still Extraverts even if they have less of a need for others than Turbulent Executives. Their Extraversion limits their Assertive pursuit of independence much more than it might if they were Introverts.

Turbulent Executives are much more responsive to others and profess a stronger need for the people in their lives. Even eating alone in a restaurant is more uncomfortable for them than for Assertive Executives. People seem essential for their happiness and comfort.

An elevated need for people can be a real benefit to Turbulent Executives, making them more open to opinions and ideas as a way to preserve respectful relationships. This openness may even nudge Turbulent Executives toward being more sensitive to the needs and feelings of the people who populate their various social and professional circles.

Turbulent Executives may try to “fit in” to satisfy these needs for others. In many situations, that alone is not a problem. As the saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Conforming can be a way to connect with others. It only becomes a problem when it goes too far, and these Executives abandon that which makes them who they are. These personalities may also find themselves people-pleasing and trying not to upset others. This walking on eggshells is yet another reason they are likely to moderate – or perhaps repress – any negative emotions they might feel.

Assertive Executives are less interested in conforming. Their self-assurance and their sense of purpose offer them a perspective that allows these personalities to place less value on how others see them. But again, their level of attention to such things is relative. As Extraverts, Assertive Executives are likely to want mutual respect or even shared admiration, if for no other reason than to keep their social connections healthy. But they are less interested than Turbulent Executives in being popular. Connecting with others likely comes from a place of “want” for them, rather than “need.”

Both types of Executive are likely to sacrifice to benefit any group with whom they are involved. Such sacrifice is likely a product of their disciplined nature and their drive to succeed. However, there is a glaring difference here between Assertive and Turbulent Executives. Turbulent Executives report succumbing to pressure much more than Assertive Executives do. Consequently, Turbulent Executives’ sacrifice may feel coerced.

Turbulent Executives are more likely to report getting a lot of pressure from their families to succeed. These personalities are more likely than Assertive Executives to say they feel uncomfortable doing something socially unacceptable, even if no one sees them do it. So, even without actual eyes on them, they still feel social pressure.

Such pressure may sound like a negative. But, in the right measure, it can also provide a type of accountability that drives Turbulent Executives toward even more diligent behavior. However, if excessive, such pressure can also play on their self-doubt and create anxiety that paralyzes their efforts.

Assertive Executives appear to be comparatively immune to the pressure others try to place on them. They have less need for the approval of others or to be liked on any level. Because of this, they tend to be more independent and to travel more lightly and somewhat more swiftly through life because they don’t depend so much on the counsel of others.

Again, a grain of salt must be taken. They are still Extraverts and still get energy from people. They aren’t likely to crave solitude. But they probably avoid the opinions of others becoming a burden as much as is possible while still maintaining relationships.


  • Assertive Executives are more likely than Turbulent Executives to consider themselves very purposeful people. However, on closer inspection, both personality types have strong focus and are goal-oriented.
  • Turbulent Executives tend to be more emotionally reactive and more easily angered. This is likely born of a more defensive stance rather than an aggressive one.
  • Assertive Executives are more easygoing when it comes to emotions. This can make them appear less sensitive and unconcerned. But it likely also makes them quicker to forgive.
  • As Extraverts, both types of Executives want people in their lives. However, Turbulent Executives experience a bit more of a need for this than Assertive Executives do. Turbulent Executives feel a higher pressure to conform. This pressure can make these personalities more sensitive to the needs of others.
  • Assertive Executives are likely to desire companionship more than need it. Viewing social interaction as a pleasurable option allows them to enjoy the people in their lives while also maintaining their more efficient, independent decisiveness.

Whether they’re Assertive or Turbulent, Executives are ambitious and diligent in all the things they see as important. Introduce the Identity personality traits, and they become less alike while keeping their shared core traits. We see their differences expressed mostly in their emotional and social lives, and this boils down to how they regard and relate to others. Since both personality types are Extraverts, people remain essential to them and provide energy in their lives. But it doesn’t always look the same, depending on whether Executives possess the Assertive or Turbulent Identity.