Forceful, yet disciplined; aggressive, yet deferential to established authority; Stags are so influential and vital to the establishment of our society that they are often looked upon as the quintessential SJ. More than any of their SJ siblings, Stags embody the idea of community, teamwork, and order. More practical than the soft hearted Elephants and Bears, and given more to supervising than the auditing Beavers, Stags are natural leaders who believe they have a responsibility to ensure that every individual is on the same page when it comes to reaching a common objective; one that will benefit society in a practical way.
The Authority Figure
I don’t gripe to you, Reiben. I’m a Captain. We have a chain of command. Gripes go up, not down. Always up. You gripe to me, I gripe to my superior officer, and so on and so on and so on. I don’t gripe to you. I don’t gripe in front of you. You should know that, as a Ranger.
– Capt. James Miller (“Saving Private Ryan”)
Much like Beavers, Stags prioritize dutiful obligations over family ties. It’s not that they don’t care about family. It’s that their role as a parent for example, and the subsequent responsibility to ingrain in their child a reasonable respect for authority, supersedes their feelings as an individual, one who dearly loves their child and will side with them at all costs. This ability to remain objective enables Stags to make reasoned, impartial decisions. As opposed to the Beavers, whose objectivity is frequently utilized in positions of judgment and inspection, Stags are often found in supervisory roles, where their impersonal decision-making is vital to guaranteeing the success of the group as a whole, as is their disregarding the whims of any specific individual, including their own. Whereas rules are paramount for the Beavers, Stags adhere to the chain of command. A clear line of authority, predicated on qualifications and experience, is important to them: there is a comfort in knowing—Stags are security-striving SJs after all—that the person you’re following has reached their position through hard work and experience, and that the men and women who are following your lead feel the same about you. This can be misconstrued as blind obedience, and Stags are commonly accused of not thinking for themselves. While this might be true when it comes to immature Stags, the accusation has no merit when regarding most ESTJs, whose ability to reason and ponder the ramifications of their decisions rival any type. However, Stags know that consistently questioning authority, even on a rational basis, can only lead to the eventual upheaval of the structure that authority is based upon, and if the choice is between conformity and chaos, well, for the Stag, that is no choice at all.
By enforcing the Clauses, we have kept religion a matter for the individual conscience, not for the prosecutor or bureaucrat. At a time when we see around the world the violent consequences of the assumption of religious authority by government, Americans may count themselves fortunate: Our regard for constitutional boundaries has protected us from similar travails, while allowing private religious exercise to flourish… Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?
– Sandra Day O’Connor
Order is paramount for Stags. Like Beavers, who ensure that everything is in its proper place, Stags strive for a world with clearly delineated niches and designations, and they will make sure that these categorizations are accepted by all. If the Beaver is the anvil, the support on which the laws of society lean on, the Stag is the hammer that enforces those laws. Stags do not fear confrontation. In fact, they take pride in the straightforward, confident style with which they dictate their opinions on what is right and wrong. Though this is not to be confused with the dominating Killer Whales, who can sometimes be rather oblivious to the needs of others. Stags, beacons of the community, are always aware of the needs of their group members, so any critique they dole out is, in their minds, beneficial to the team in the long run. They are the hard-driving drill sergeant, the screaming football coach, or the taskmaster boss. Regarding their role in an organization, Stags do not view themselves as specialists, but rather, as great judges of character, and unlike their fellow administrators, the Killer Whales, Stags will, when recruiting, place a higher premium on traits such as loyalty, practicality, and trustworthiness, than knowledge or skill. Of course, to a Stag, being practical is akin to being intelligent, and they have a hard time acknowledging the virtues of speculation and experimentation.
The Inflexible Bureaucrat
You’re going to keep your mouth shut until I come to you and ask you a question, then you’re going to speak; otherwise Byrd will take you outside until you understand the rules, ’cause here, I’m in charge.
– Judith Sheindlin
Stags’ purpose in life is to determine the most practical way to reach a certain echelon of success and to hold themselves and the other members of their organization to this standard of achievement. Unfortunately, this can lead to a tremendous amount of conflict when they fail to realize that there are different definitions of success for different people; Stags often follow a virtual manual on how a person should properly behave themselves, with specific rules for specific context. At their worst, Stags aggressively engage with those that would challenge their authority or rather, the authority of the system they adhere to. In this case, it is not uncommon for them to be perceived as overbearing, obtuse, and virulently closed-minded, unwilling to view a situation from any other perspective but the “correct” one that they hold. Their devotion to the chain of command and their penchant for delegating, when combined, can cause them to form committee after committee of “authorities”, creating a bureaucracy that stagnates progress. Lucky for us, the same knee jerk reflex towards established “virtue” that leads Stags into the aforementioned problems, can lead them out of it, as it usually only takes an intervention from a qualified individual they respect to—in words that almost every Stag can relate to—“get their [stuff] together”.
The Natural Born Leader
There is nothing that gives a man consequence, and renders him fit for command, like a support that renders him independent of everybody but the State he serves.
– George Washington
As opposed to Elephants, the other herders among the SJs, Stags are less about turning their organization into one big, happy family, and more about directing their organization towards attainable goals. To achieve this, Stags take it upon themselves to make sure that every member of the organization is fulfilling their prescribed duties. They are practical individuals who prefer when plans are laid out in a concrete fashion. What is the benefit from a certain course of action? Is the goal feasible? What are the specific steps needed to accomplish said goal? The reality-based Stags focus on immediate, tangible results rather than distant, projected outcomes. In no way does this mean that they avoid establishing long-term objectives. It’s just that Stags need to see progress every step of the way, or else they will begin to doubt the plan. Due to their hard work, social awareness, and loyalty, Stags are often high-ranking individuals who climbed their respective organization’s corporate ladder with ease. Ironically, their dedication to maintaining a team-first mentality causes the individuals under their leadership to respect them even more, safe in the knowledge that the ship is being steered by a solid, straight-shooting captain who has all of their best interests at heart.