Portrait of an ENTJ – Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging
(Extraverted Thinking with Introverted Intuition)
ENTJ’s generally have the following traits:
- Driven to turn theories into plans
- Highly value knowledge
- Natural leaders
- Impatient with inefficiency and incompetence
- Want things structured and orderly
- Excellent verbal communication skills
- Dislike routine, detail-oriented tasks
Jungian functional preference ordering:
Dominant: Extraverted Thinking
Auxiliary: Introverted Intuition
Tertiary: Extraverted Sensing
Inferior: Introverted Feeling
As an ENTJ, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you deal with things rationally and logically. Your secondary mode is internal, where you take things in primarily via your intuition.
ENTJ’s are natural born leaders. They live in a world of possibilities where they see all sorts of challenges to be surmounted, and they want to be the ones responsible for surmounting them. They have a drive for leadership, which is well-served by their quickness to grasp complexities, their ability to absorb a large amount of impersonal information, and their quick and decisive judgments. They are “take charge” people.
ENTJ’s are very career-focused, and fit into the corporate world quite naturally. They are constantly scanning their environment for potential problems which they can turn into solutions. They generally see things from a long-range perspective, and are usually successful at identifying plans to turn problems around – especially problems of a corporate nature. ENTJ’s are usually successful in the business world, because they are so driven to leadership. They’re tireless in their efforts on the job, and driven to visualize where an organization is headed. For these reasons, they are natural corporate leaders.
There is not much room for error in the world of the ENTJ. They dislike seeing mistakes repeated, and have no patience with inefficiency. They may become quite harsh when their patience is tried in these respects, because they are not naturally tuned in to people’s feelings, and more than likely don’t believe that they should tailor their judgments in consideration for people’s feelings. ENTJ’s, like many types, have difficulty seeing things from outside their own perspective. Unlike other types, ENTJ’s naturally have little patience with people who do not see things the same way as the ENTJ. The ENTJ needs to consciously work on recognizing the value of other people’s opinions, as well as the value of being sensitive towards people’s feelings. In the absence of this awareness, the ENTJ will be a forceful, intimidating and overbearing individual. This may be a real problem for the ENTJ, who may be deprived of important information and collaboration from others. In their personal world, it can make some ENTJ’s overbearing as spouses or parents.
The ENTJ has a tremendous amount of personal power and presence which will work for them as a force towards achieving their goals. However, this personal power is also an agent of alienation and self-aggrandizement, which the ENTJ would do well to avoid.
ENTJ’s are very forceful, decisive individuals. They make decisions quickly, and are quick to verbalize their opinions and decisions to the rest of the world. The ENTJ who has not developed their Intuition will make decisions too hastily, without understanding all of the issues and possible solutions. On the other
hand, an ENTJ who has not developed their Thinking side will have difficulty applying logic to their insights, and will often make poor decisions. In that case, they may have brilliant ideas and insight into situations, but they may have little skill at determining how to act upon their understanding, or their actions may be inconsistent. An ENTJ who has developed in a generally less than ideal way may become dictatorial and abrasive – intrusively giving orders and direction without a sound reason for doing so, and without consideration for the people involved.
Although ENTJ’s are not naturally tuned into other people’s feelings, these individuals frequently have very strong sentimental streaks. Often these sentiments are very powerful to the ENTJ, although they will likely hide it from general knowledge, believing the feelings to be a weakness. Because the world of feelings and values is not where the ENTJ naturally functions, they may sometimes make value judgments and hold onto submerged emotions which are ill-founded and inappropriate, and will cause them problems – sometimes rather serious problems.
ENTJ’s love to interact with people. As Extroverts, they’re energized and stimulated primarily externally. There’s nothing more enjoyable and satisfying to the ENTJ than having a lively, challenging conversation. They especially respect people who are able to stand up to the ENTJ, and argue persuasively for their point of view. There aren’t too many people who will do so, however, because the ENTJ is a very forceful and dynamic presence who has a tremendous amount of self-confidence and excellent verbal communication skills. Even the most confident individuals may experience moments of self-doubt when debating a point with an ENTJ.
ENTJ’s want their home to be beautiful, well-furnished, and efficiently run. They’re likely to place much emphasis on their children being well-educated and structured, to desire a congenial and devoted relationship with their spouse. At home, the ENTJ needs to be in charge as much as he or she does in their
career. The ENTJ is likely best paired with someone who has a strong self-image, who is also a Thinking type. Because the ENTJ is primarily focused on their careers, some ENTJ’s have a problem with being constantly absent from home, physically or mentally.
The ENTJ has many gifts which make it possible for them to have a great deal of personal power, if they don’t forget to remain balanced in their lives. They are assertive, innovative, long-range thinkers with an excellent ability to translate theories and possibilities into solid plans of action. They are usually tremendously forceful personalities, and have the tools to accomplish whatever goals they set out for.
- Genuinely interested in people’s ideas and thoughts
- Enthusiastic and energetic
- Take their commitments very seriously
- Fair-minded and interested in doing the Right Thing
- Very good with money
- Extremely direct and straightforward
- Verbally fluent
- Enhance and encourage knowledge and self-growth in all aspects of life
- Able to leave relationships without looking back
- Able to turn conflict situations into positive lessons
- Able to take constructive criticism well
- Extremely high standards and expectations (both a strength and a weakness)
- Usually have strong affections and sentimental streaks
- Able to dole out discipline
- Their enthusiasm for verbal debates can make them appear argumentative
- Tendency to be challenging and confrontational
- Tend to get involved in “win-lose” conversations
- Tendency to have difficulty listening to others
- Tendency to be critical of opinions and attitudes which don’t match their own
- Extremely high standards and expectations (both a strength and a weakness)
- Not naturally in tune with people’s feelings and reactions
- May have difficulty expressing love and affection, sometimes seeming awkward or inappropriate
- Can be overpowering and intimidating to others
- Tendency to want to always be in charge, rather than sharing responsibilities
- Can be very harsh and intolerant about messiness or inefficiency
- Tendency to be controlling
- May be slow to give praise or to realize another’s need for praise
- If unhappy or underdeveloped, they may be very impersonal, dictatorial, or abrasive
- Tendency to make hasty decisions
- Make explode with terrible tempers when under extreme stress
ENTJ people are realists, in the most basic sense of the word. Not only because their thinking is based upon a clear view of how things actually are in the world around them, but also because their ideas and strategies are structured around those unambiguous, “down to earth”, commonsense beliefs which sum up the obvious and undeniable in life. But while ENTJ’s might be pragmatic about the immediate situation before them, they are scarcely satisfied with it until it can be made more productive, useful or valuable.
The ENTJ’s reasoning on such matters is always clear and generally unemotional. If action can improve an item or a situation then it ought to be taken, and the ENTJ will always be found in the midst of such action, organizing, planning and leading the way forward until the best result possible has been realized. This makes success for an ENTJ something that can be clearly seen, a real world result which can be measured. And whether measured in dollars, bricks, bread or just happy people, the successful ENTJ knows the result is due to their belief that it is just plain commonsense to try and make the best of every situation and get the most out if it for the most people.
As an ENTJ, you have gifts that are specific to your personality type that aren’t natural strengths for other types. By recognizing your special gifts and encouraging their growth and development, you will more readily see your place in the world, and be more content with your role. Nearly all ENTJ’s will recognize the following characteristics in themselves.
They should embrace and nourish these strengths:
- Able to cut straight to the chase in any situation and not be sidetracked by non-essential issues.
- A propensity for leadership which follows naturally from their ability to control and manage real time/real world situations.
- A talent for factual analysis unbiased by prejudice or emotion.
- A “can do” approach to life which makes the working environment a positive place for them.
- A strong regard for positive social and economic institutions, structure and government.
- Second to none time and space management skills, everything organized and in its place.
- Able to constantly synthesize and adapt new ideas and concepts into strategies for business, social, financial or environmental development.
ENTJ’s who have a well-developed Introverted Intuitive function to complement their dominant
Extraverted Thinking will enjoy these very special gifts:
- A talent for creating great benefits through the addressing of social justice issues.
- The ability to recognize and mediate their potentials in accord with the expectations of others.
- An approach to life which includes an awareness of the differences between their needs and those of others.
- Able to know when to stop and take stock of life and recognize the qualities of the moment.
- A talent for showing others the way to get past difficulties in their outer life
- A broadening of their own ambitions which includes rather than excludes others from the decision making and the benefits which flow from their achievement.
With any gift of strength, there is an associated weakness. Without “bad”, there would be no “good”. Without “difficult”, there would be no “easy”. We value our strengths, but we often curse and ignore our weaknesses. To grow as a person and get what we want out of life, we must not only capitalize upon our
strengths, but also face our weaknesses and deal with them. That means taking a hard look at our personality type’s potential problem areas.
ENTJ’s are strong, right minded and rational people. This should be kept in mind as you read some of the more negative material about ENTJ weaknesses. These weaknesses are natural. We offer this information to enact positive change, rather than as blatant criticism. Most of the weaker characteristics in the ENTJ stem from their dominant Extraverted Thinking function overtaking their personality, stifling the natural expression and balancing value of the other personality functions.
In such cases, an ENTJ may show some or all of the following weaknesses in varying degrees:
- May be unable to understand other people’s needs where these differ from their own.
- May unwisely assume their ideas are the only right ones and are therefore being fully implemented by others.
- May become childishly petulant or angered when confronted by situations which require feeling judgments.
- May become so engrossed in a plan or ambition that personal needs and the needs of others are forgotten.
- May take every decision not made in agreement with their rational beliefs as a personal rejection.
- May be easily taken in or manipulated by others via agreement with their rational attitudes.
- May become obsessed with small obstructions and difficulties to the point where the overall plan is forgotten
- May believe natural limitations are actually ailments which ought to be eradicated
- May assume others are ever plotting against them.
- May believe only their own view of the world or a situation is correct, even to the point that they make it into a kind of dogma which must be followed by those around them
Most of the problems described above can be seen as a direct result of a too dominant Extraverted Thinking function ruling the personality. In most cases this is exactly what is happening, but it is also worth recognizing that some of the weaknesses in the ENTJ’s personality that are more apparent to other Types, flow not so much from the excesses of the ENTJ’s dominant function, but from the natural inferiority of their feeling function and its lack of adaptation. We must also recognize that the level of expression of all functions in all people is variable and that some of the problems discussed here apply only to strongly expressing ENTJ’s, where the attitude which flows from using Extraverted Thinking exclusively to guide them through life creates its own particular problems.
The over dominance of Extraverted Thinking leads to an intensely intellectual way of seeing the world, where values such as right and wrong, good and bad, useful and useless are judged only by their applicability to an almost mathematically exact – and to the ENTJ – always rational, attitude to life. Without
the balance provided by other ways of seeing or judging, the ENTJ is unable to account for actions based upon the inner views or feeling behavior of others, hence such things are always judged negatively, either as irrelevant – or at best – as being of small consequence. Additionally, with their thinking attitude always turned outward and totally subject to the world beyond their senses, without the balance of some internally felt objectivity the ENTJ will often follow their ideas and ambitions without consideration for their own physical and emotional needs. Indeed, the ENTJ often feels that if only his project, his work, his outer reality would just fall into line with his own rational views then all would be well within his world and all his needs would be met. Unfortunately such an attitude can never be satisfied, for the world is not only rational, but also full of situations and human behavior which must be appreciated and understood by quite different, and again – to the ENTJ – often seemingly absurd criteria.
A healthy personality needs to have a good balance between its dominant and auxiliary functions. For an ENTJ, dominant Extraverted Thinking needs to be well-supported by their auxiliary Introverted Intuitive function. If Introverted Intuition exists only to support the intellectual rationale created by Extraverted Thinking, then neither function is being used to its full potential.
Introverted Intuition is the ENTJ’s access to their inner world, to the information that could tell them how the world is affecting them. Because it is introverted, its images arise from the subjective depths of the mind, and contain all that the ENTJ has not considered within their strictly rational and object oriented view of the world. Introverted Intuition provides the personally biased information the ENTJ needs to balance this world view and protect the ENTJ from being totally swallowed up by their selfless and yet single minded attachment to facts, figures and a rationale they accept only from the world outside themselves. Because this inner information is often opposed to the ENTJ’s strongly held ideas it is often rejected, or if accepted, turned outward to make negative judgments about external situations or the behavior of others, rather than seen as a corrective balance to the ENTJ’s own attitudes and behavior.
To grow as an individual, the ENTJ needs to recognize the role Intuition plays in their life, and learn to understand its language. In particular the ENTJ needs to realize that their intuitive function is not directed outward to the world, that its images are personal, subjective and relate directly to the way the ENTJ’s
inner self is being affected by both the outside world and their own behavior. Introverted Intuition is not an obvious process to understand, and quite unlike the rational, straightforward thinking the ENTJ is used to. Nevertheless, if understood and fully utilized to support thinking, it can make the ENTJ the most outwardly effective and productive of all the personality types. For this reason it is essential to allow this gift to become what it can be, rather than limiting its talents and allowing it only to speak when it seems to agree with the ENTJ’s outwardly focused thinking. Below are a few specific suggestions to help you apply Introverted Intuition.
When confronted by a situation which requires an important decision, try to put it off for long enough to be able to sit quietly with it. In doing so allow yourself to feel and see the images which arise in your mind regarding this situation. Try to set aside those which appear immediately as the products of your own beliefs and thinking, and regard the others closely. If these images and ideas were the opinions of people whose judgment you trusted implicitly, try to question them in your mind and find the reasons why they consider things in such a way.
There are some people around you who always seem to know just which way to go or how things work or what the outcome of a certain situation will be without them seeming to have sufficient information to be able to do so. These people are intuitive types and their world is full of possibilities which they can immediately recognize as apt to certain situations. You also have this talent, but you have a habit of not following it, rather you prefer to think it out and find the options which “ought” to be correct.
I placed ought in quotes for a very good reason here, for you know yourself how often things have developed in the direction you had an inkling of, but refused to accept without thinking. Try to let these immediate impressions have their moment and recognize them as true possibilities which ought to be examined more closely. Understand that they are not baseless images and ideas but rely upon valid sources of information which you simply screen out of your life by habit.
Some ENTJ’s have difficulty fitting into our society. Their problems are generally associated with a strongly dogmatic and overly rational approach to life, coupled with an almost total lack of ability to understand the needs of others. Where such a strongly expressing difficulty arises, the ENTJ finds themselves constantly embattled by a world which refuses to conform to their ideals and creates situations in which the ENTJ is out of their depth. Such situations are often met by the ENTJ with such a childish emotionality that others are put off and isolate the ENTJ emotionally.
Such ENTJ’s often find themselves without friends, and with business partners or employees who are unwilling to engage the ENTJ upon any matter other than strictly task related questions. Such behavior in others only serves to bring out underlying sentiments in the ENTJ which, via their badly adapted intuitive function, speak to them of plots, nastiness and covert obstructive behavior on the part of others. Suffice to say, such suspicions and childish sentiments coupled with dogmatic demands to conform to the ENTJ’s own way of seeing the world can soon destroy families and close relationships.
It is incumbent upon the ENTJ to break the circle of such behavior by allowing their Introverted Intuition a place in their life. Through attention to this function the ENTJ can discover a path to understanding and recognizing the effects not only their own behavior has upon others, but also the greater possibilities which lie within themselves for not only a harmonious relationship with others, but also a greater sense of what might be best for themselves.
Understanding the feeling needs and judgments of others is not an easy task for the ENTJ, but through their Intuitive function they can find images and ideas which – whilst not speaking directly to the feeling judgments of others – might allow them to see outside the strictly rational circle of their world view in such a way as to recognize that there is indeed a different perspective which must be taken account of
- Feed Your Strengths! Give yourself every opportunity to show others your appreciation of a situation and how you could see it through to a good outcome. Take charge where you can make it count.
- Face Your Weaknesses! Understand you have limits too. Your careful world view is not the whole deal. How things look and feel may not concern you, but they concern many others. Try and allow such things to be and learn from them.
- Talk Time to Find Out How Others Really Think. You need to drive past your thoughts with others and let their appreciations of a situation reach you at a deeper level. It will then be possible for you to take account of their needs as real world objectives which if included in your ideas will bring greater harmony and quality to life and relationships.
- Take Time Out To Let The Whole Situation Speak To You. Don’t dismiss those abstract and seemingly hard to understand or bothersome aesthetic and feeling judgments coming from others or from inside yourself. Drop everything for a while, stop thinking and worrying and just relax into those ideas and let them speak to you. Perhaps they can be accommodated, perhaps something is hiding in there which offers a new way
- When You Get Upset, You Lose. Your energy and rational understandings are strong assets, but can be very harmful if they turn against you and leave you with nothing but emotions you cannot deal with. Remember that others cannot always be expected to fall into your ways of seeing, and when your drive to make them do so fails you will suffer feelings of resentment and even abandonment. You cannot deal with the world like this. Moderate your ideas, allow others their spaces, and you will grow.
- Respect your need for intellectual compatibility. Don’t expect yourself to be a “touchy-feely” or “warm-fuzzy” person. Realize that your most ardent bonds with others will start with the head, rather than the heart. Be aware of other’s emotional needs, and express your genuine love and respect for them in terms that are real to YOU. Be yourself.
- Be Accountable for Yourself. Don’t blame the problems in your life on other people. Look inwardly for solutions. No one has more control over your life than you have.
- Be Humble. Judge yourself at least as harshly as you judge others.
- Take a Positive Approach to Differences in People. Don’t distress yourself and others by dwelling on what seem to be their limitations. They need you to guide them and you need them to see things through. Try and recognize who can perform the most ably within certain fields outside your own competence. Let the feelings of others become a strength rather than a hindrance to you.
- Don’t Get Obsessed! Recognize the value that personal world has to you, your friends, your family, your own inner sense of self worth and life. Take pride in just being a good person and don’t allow external situations to control you. Try to relax and let the moment belong to the best things you can find in others and yourself. Nothing out there is more important than your own happiness.