Roles: Sentinels

Shared personality traits: Observant (S) and Judging (J)

Character and Competence

Sentinels – Logisticians (ISTJ), Defenders (ISFJ), Executives (ESTJ), and Consuls (ESFJ) – are cooperative, practical, and grounded. They feel comfortable with who they are, and they take pride in their good character and their competence. These personality types seek order, security, and stability, and they tend to work hard to maintain their way of things. This leads to a deserved reputation as the cornerstone of any group or organization, from family to church to the office and the factory floor.

Careful and consistent, Sentinel personalities tend to be self-motivated. This means that they rarely need external inspiration to be productive and focused. They work hard and aim never to let anyone down, and they expect other people to embrace this same ethic as well. Given a choice, these personality types prefer to collaborate within a clear set of rules. Following proven methods makes more sense to them than swanning around in search of innovation. Their motto is, “If it works, don’t break it.”

78% of Sentinels say they are good at executing their ideas.

Steady Progress

That said, Sentinels are hardly unimaginative. They simply take inspiration from the past rather than the future. These personality types remain loyal to established best practices and traditions, whether that’s the best way to make a pizza crust or the most efficient way to write an algorithm. This enables them to make steady, consistent progress – which is exactly what they enjoy. Sentinels would much rather guide a single project to completion than start (and abandon) a flurry of interesting ideas.

Sentinel personalities thrive in environments that have clear hierarchies and rules. Whether or not they’re in a formal leadership role, they care about setting a good example, and they gain great satisfaction from guiding a well-functioning group. This can make them excellent teachers, managers, and community officials, as well as caring parents and hosts.

82% of Sentinels say they avoid risky or unpredictable situations.

Guidance and Wisdom

In their personal lives, Sentinels want to offer stability and wisdom to others. They see it as their duty to give their families safe, happy lives that prepare them for the real world. An appreciation of strong relationships allows these personality types to share generously with those they respect and love. Sentinels feel bolstered by having reliable people in their lives, and they make sure they hold up their end of the bargain. Birthdays, dinner parties, and camping trips are delightful events under their enthusiastic direction.

These personality types are happiest without drama – though they can occasionally be stubborn. In particular, inconsistent people can test Sentinels’ patience. It can be difficult for Sentinel personalities to accept people who lack their conscientiousness. Fortunately, they often serve as engaged and caring mentors to those who wish to grow in that direction.

77% of Sentinels say they don’t give up quickly when faced with difficult problems.

Love and Care

Sentinels are the personality Role least likely to say they fall in love easily – but don’t let that fool you. Sentinels may not spout love poems, but they do express affection and admiration – they just do it a little differently than other personality types. Sentinels often show their love in practical ways, such as checking the tires on their partner’s car or making them a nutritious dinner. To other types, these actions might not look romantic, but Sentinels do these things with love and care.

In all of their relationships, Sentinels want to make contributions. This attitude informs how they treat not only their nearest and dearest but also their acquaintances, neighbors, and coworkers. These aren’t the personality types who neglect their responsibilities or leave the office kitchen a mess – in fact, they’re often the types who quietly clean up other people’s messes, both literal and metaphorical.

Of course, Sentinels wouldn’t mind being recognized for the ways they help others, but these personalities rarely demand attention. Instead, they work behind the scenes to make everyone’s lives run as smoothly as possible, even if that means taking on unglamorous tasks like remembering to buy toilet paper or handling their family’s income taxes. They may not be obvious with their feelings, but Sentinels do care and care deeply – you just have to know how to spot it.

Due Diligence

Sentinels have a core set of principles that they bring to their academic and professional pursuits. These principles include diligence, honesty, and respect. The result is that Sentinel personality types tend to work hard, striving to meet deadlines, and generally get things done. This can be seen even from a relatively young age – Sentinels are far more likely than other Roles to say that they developed productive work habits in school.

66% of Sentinels say that success is usually determined by hard work.

These personality types have a clear vision of what it means to do things “right,” and they take great pride in living up to these standards. Sentinels are rarely willing to cut corners and do shoddy work – even if doing so would help them get ahead. They are less likely than any other Role to say that they could compromise some of their principles to advance their career.

Above all, Sentinels stand out for their ability to stick with their work until it’s done – even if the work is tedious or rote. These personality types are far less likely than others to say that they often abandon work in favor of doing something more interesting and fun, and they’re also less likely to say that they get distracted from what they’re working on. For Sentinels, productivity is a bit of a superpower – and they get great satisfaction from exercising their ability to get things done.

Planning Ahead

Sentinels know the value of a well-made plan. Compared to other Roles, Sentinel personalities are far more likely to say they’d rather prepare for problems rather than tackle them as they arise. And Sentinels aren’t afraid to think up every contingency that might arise – as long as they can do something to avert disaster, that is.

Of course, we can’t prepare for everything – although if anyone could, it would be a Sentinel. Like everyone else, these types must occasionally face unforeseen problems. Learning to roll with the punches, so to speak, is an important part of their personal development. Over time, Sentinels can learn to distinguish between when they should stick with their plans and when they’d do well to change course. And when they do so, these personality types can press through even the most challenging of circumstances, bringing together determination and adaptability.

Learn About the Other Roles