ENTJ Personality Profile

By Dr. A.J. Drenth

Those of the ENTJ personality type are born leaders. They are direct, assertive, and uninhibited. They can become frustrated and impatient when things don’t unfold according to their expected plan or time frame, evoking notions of the “Type-A” personality. In the presence of ENTJs, others may feel they are somehow being hurried or rushed, that the ENTJ wants them to “cut to the chase.”

Like ESTJs, ENTJs are firm, direct, and outwardly opinionated. At times, they may be seen as harsh, blunt, or insensitive. Despite outer confidence and imposing presence, they are, on the whole, no more inwardly secure nor sure of themselves than other types. In fact, because their inner Judging function (Fi) is inferior, they may feel they have relatively little inner control. Finding inner control elusive, they naturally turn their focus outwardly, hoping that achieving outer order and control will bring them inner calm and security. Of course, controlling the outside world is rarely an easy task, contributing to ENTJs’ propensity for restlessness and hypervigilance.

Unlike ENFJs, ENTJs don’t enjoy ready access to the interpersonal benefits conferred by Extraverted Feeling. Instead, they rely on their sense of humor, fueled by their auxiliary function, Introverted Intuition (Ni), to ingratiate themselves to others. ENTJs can be great showmen and storytellers. Undeterred by conflict or controversy (they actually like being seen as edgy or provocative), they like to push the envelope, which not infrequently results in someone feeling hurt or offended.

ENTJ, Napoleon

Napoleon

While ENTJs can be quite funny when the time is right, they are, on the whole, quite serious in the approach to life. Their dominant function, Extraverted Thinking (Te), confers a strong work orientation. As we will shortly explore in greater depth, Te seeks to impose order, rationality, and efficiency on the world and its operations. Therefore, like INTJs, ENTJs are often drawn to science, or can at least appreciate the value of its standardized methods. One of the hallmarks of Te is its need for everything to be clearly defined, measurable, and quantifiable. This, in combination with their love for strategy and competition, can make ENTJs formidable strategists and executives. ENTJs are commonly found among CEOs heading for-profit companies.

Wealth and social status can also be motivating factors for ENTJs. This can be seen as deriving, at least in part, from their tertiary function, Extraverted Sensing (Se). Despite their status as Intuitives, ENTJs love worldly things. They are not opposed to owning high-end homes or taking extravagant vacations, just as long as these things are written into the Te budget. So while ENTJs certainly like to work hard, they can also play hard.

ENTJ Personality Type Development & Functional Stack

ENTJs’ functional stack  is composed of the following functions:

Dominant: Extraverted Thinking (Te)

Auxiliary: Introverted Intuition (Ni)

Tertiary: Extraverted Sensing (Se)

Inferior:  Introverted Feeling (Fi)

ENTJs’ type development can be broadly conceived according to three phases:

Phase I (Youth-Early 20s)

This phase is characterized by the emergence and differentiation of ENTJs’ dominant function, Extraverted Thinking (Te). Even early in life, ENTJs are goal-oriented. They are ambitious and seek success in whatever they put their mind to. Taking their goals and responsibilities seriously, they typically do well in school and aren’t afraid to assume leadership roles.

During this phase, ENTJs can seem particularly inflexible and opinionated. They are quick to make judgments and draw conclusions about the world. Since their Extraverted Thinking (Te) judgments are not yet being tempered by their auxiliary and tertiary Perceiving functions, they are especially prone to jump to conclusions.

Phase I ENTJs differ markedly from Phase I INTJs. Since INTJs dominant function (Ni) is a Perceiving function, they tend to be more passive and take life less seriously than ENTJs. In Phase I, INTJs are more concerned with ingesting and digesting the world (Ni), while ENTJs are already focused on shaping and manipulating it (Te).

 Phase II (Late Teens-30s)

Once their dominant Te reaches a certain threshold of strength and dominance, ENTJs’ inferior function, Introverted Feeling (Fi), enters the picture and begins to play a more influential role. This can be confusing because Fi is not next in line in their functional stack. Its undue influence derives from its bipolar relationship with ENTJs’ dominant Extraverted Thinking (Te). Unfortunately, the influence of their Te peaks in Phase II of type development, which happens to be the same time they are making life-altering decisions about their careers and relationships. ENTJs’ Te-Fi tug-of-war will be elucidated later in this profile.

In addition to the increasing presence and influence of their Fi, Phase II ENTJs are also developing their auxiliary function, Introverted Intuition (Ni). As they encounter complex problems and situations that call for greater patience and reflection, they turn to their Ni for assistance. In doing so, they work to better see and incorporate the bigger picture (Ni) into their Te Judging process. As they develop their ability to assume different perspectives and to grasp the bigger picture, they become somewhat slower to judge and display more discernment and foresight in their decisions.

Phase II ENTJs may also begin to differentiate and incorporate their tertiary function, Extraverted Sensing (Se). For ENTJs, Se represents a further relaxing and opening of their judgments. It helps them loosen their grip on life, tempering their need for constant outer control (Fe).

Phase III (30s, 40s, & Beyond)

If all goes well and they are fortunate enough to enter Phase III, ENTJs become increasingly aware of the insidious ways of their inferior Fi. As they become more aware of their inferior and learn to function more healthily as ENTJs, they experience greater balance between their Te and Fi, as well as an increasing sense of peace and wholeness.

ENTJs’ Dominant Function: Extraverted Thinking (Te)

Extraverted Thinking (Te) serves as ENTJs’ dominant and most preferred function. It undergirds their tendency to quickly express their judgments and opinions, to literally think (i.e., make judgments, conclusions, decisions, etc.) aloud. ENTJs speak before they listen, Judge before they Perceive. This can be both a strength and a weakness. On the one hand, it can make them strong and courageous leaders, while on the other, it can contribute to their being abrasive or controlling. It can also dispose ENTJs to advancing premature judgments and assertions. They may say things that, in retrospect, they would prefer to rescind, soften, or further qualify.

As mentioned earlier, Te strives to impose order and rationality on external world. It is quantitative in nature, pushing for objective standards and measurable goals. Rarely vague or ambiguous, it insists on clearly defined policies, plans, and procedure. Although their auxiliary Ni may contribute some degree of openness, ENTJs still expect things to be done according to their Te plans and guidelines. After all, if too much leeway is granted, they feel the system will not function at their desired level of rationality and efficiency.

Te also contributes to ENTJs’ work-orientation. As T-dominants, ENTJs are generally more serious and focused than they are relaxed or receptive. Even on days when they have no external obligations, they are quick to get to work on something. Like other types with a dominant Judging function, ENTJs are not good at relaxing and doing nothing.

ENTJs’ Auxiliary Function: Introverted Intuition (Ni)

Like other Intuitives, ENTJs are future-oriented, always striving for something more. They are forward thinking and change-oriented, getting bored or restless when things seem too repetitive, straightforward, or mundane.

Instead of thinking of their Ni in terms of “intuition,” which can sometimes have a feminine connotation, ENTJs may use terms like “instincts” or “going with their gut.” Unlike Ne, which tends to generate more options than it does firm solutions, Ni confers a higher level of convergence and singularity. Hence, ENTJs, as well as other NJs, often feel confident that their Ni answers or insights are trustworthy and reliable.

Like INTJs, ENTJs are not only are they blessed with the ability to isolate and analyze specifics (Te), but can also maintain a clear vision of the whole system (Ni), including its hierarchical structure and the interrelations of its constituent parts. Their proficiency with seeing both the big picture (Ni) and its specifics (Te) makes ENTJs masters of strategy, analysis, and planning.

Not only does a well-developed Ni make ENTJs better visionaries, but it can also temper their propensity to jump to premature conclusions. ENTJs can use their Ni to explore alternative perspectives and avoid the tunnel vision that may result from exclusive use of Te. Using and developing their Ni represents an important part of their personal growth, helping to ensure that their Te judgments are rooted in a broader, more comprehensive understanding.  (This Personality Junkie type profile is continued on the next page.)