Friday, May 21, 2010

Getting Into Character: The ENTJ (Extravert, Intuitive, Thinker, Judger)

Today we continue our specific look at the sixteen types in the MBTI line-up. This is going to be so fun, because even if this is not your particular label, more than likely you will recognize someone you know and love revealed on the page. I need to let you know that this is NOT a professional opinion or blog—I’m just teaching you what I've learned over more than ten years of studying personality.

I’m not going to repeat my description of the dominant preferences and such, but if you haven’t been following along, go back and read the beginning of the first week’s post, which you will find under the April archives (The ESTP). I’ve highlighted the part you need to read in green, so you can easily catch up.

Last week we looked at the ISFPs', inward-energized analytical, logical, fact-based approach to life. This week we will change every letter and see if ENTJs are truly the polar opposite of our friends from last week. ENTJs are planners, visioneers, and problem-solvers who are adept at bringing people along to work out the ideas they have stirring in their minds.

Living Life with an ENTJ: ENTJs are known for their skilled leading, their ability to bring order out of chaos and logic into problems, by stepping into leadership roles when they see a need. Their ideas are oriented toward the future and geared toward meeting a need, achieving a goal, or solving a problem. They are adept at stimulating others to do what's necessary to get the job done. Their Thinking and Judging influences allow them to think both logically and objectively about situations and then express their thoughts and judgements in clear, concise, and creative ways. Often their work becomes their life as they strive toward the goals and achievements they've set for themselves. They don't take "no" for an answer and they are natural skeptics. ENTJs are able to see how the parts of an organization, object, or situation relate to the whole, which enables them to develop strategies for planning, goal-setting, and finding solutions.

Career/Service Area Choices for an ENTJ:   Since ENTJs are so skilled at focusing on the future, they also enjoy ministry/volunteer/career opportunities that allow them to use these gifts. ENTJs are also results-minded people with a global perspective and who excel at leadership, so they should keep that in mind when seeking out service or career options. Some ministries or volunteer positions that might appeal to ENTJs are anything to do with finances such as fund-raising, investing, and finance. Evaluating and developing projects often are a strong-suit, so ENTJs might look for opportunities to serve on committees for building projects or strategy sessions for organizations. Some careers that often include a high percentage of ENTJs include: administrators, attorneys, consultants, credit investors, designers, engineers, managers, mortgage bankers, systems analysts, teachers/professors (especially of adults), and human relations/resources.

Free Time for an ENTJ:  Often for the ENTJ, their work is their play. If they engage in leisure activities, it usually has a purpose toward meeting long-range goals they've set for themselves. ENTJs are busy and don't enjoy not having anything to do. Don't look for them to sit still for long. They also prefer to spend time with others, so most of their free time is spent in a group setting. ENTJs tend to be competitive and they love to debate, so you will likely see this show up in their hobbies and interests. ENTJs prefer to participate in regularly scheduled activities as opposed to spur-of-the-moment endeavors.
Warnings for the ENTJ: Too much of any good thing can be a bad thing, so here are some things ENTJs need to beware of: Since much of their time is spent looking toward the future, ENTJs can allow this to interfere with their leadership and personal relationships. They often can't let go of their goals and cringe under anything that they feel lacks purpose. ENTJs tend to demand competency from themselves, but this can spill over into demanding it from everyone around them and sometimes makes them seem like professional critics. Or on the flip-side of that, they may blame themselves when something fails, thinking their own incompetency caused the failure. ENTJs are zealous, but this enthusiasm can lead them to make decisions hastily and to railroad others in the process. They can become so focused that they discount others' needs and appear impatient. ENTJs are often accused of being emotionally cold. They fear losing control of their emotions and are uncomfortable in situations that are too emotionally charged.

Spiritual Helps for the ENTJ: ENTJs will likely enjoy spiritual settings that allow for rigorous study, debate, and discussion. They will want to have clearly defined principles and purposes for their faith and will often pursue scientific means to support their beliefs. Born leaders, ENTJs enjoy taking headship of projects and experiences that allow people to deepen their faith while doing or serving in some capacity. ENTJs also enjoy times of meditation and prayer.

What Others Say about the ENTJ: Known for their logical, controlled, objective, and planned thinking, ENTJs can come across as critical and tough. However, when tempered, ENTJs strong personality may be described as strategic, challenging, and decisive. ENTJs are also heralded as being fair in their dealings with others. Other personality types appreciate the ENTJ for their leadership and visionary qualities.
Okay, who do you know that is an ENTJ? Let me hear from you if you are!

Next week, let's change just one letter (the N to an S) and see what difference that crazy little guy makes!


  1. Hi Nikki,

    I am an ENTJ. I just came across your blog tonight because I am researching ENTJs. I'm looking for a book to help with my weaknesses--relationships. I'm learning it's like a Jeckle/Hyde kind of thing. On one hand, I'm a "let's get this party started" kind of person, open and friendly to all. But when I'm put in a roll of responsibility and performance, I'm a whip-crackin' slacker-buster. I mistakenly look at inefficient or nonproductive people as slackers (including bosses). When I react from this perspective, I obviously turn people off. Especially Feelers. My husband and now I'm sensing my 6 yr old son are Feelers. I crush them often. At first it shocks me, then it breaks my heart. I've offended colleagues, pastors, brothers and sisters in Christ, family members, peers, superiors and underlings alike, and it's NEVER intentional. It's always because I want to help make things better. Though I look at things critically, I do not see myself as a negative person. I'm not a cynic. I just have an over powering urge to improve things. It's like I'm a passionate monster. I feel if I can't say what's on my mind as clearly as possible (in hopes to initiate change), then it's not worth saying at all. My husband says I mow people down with my ideas and opinions like a machine gun. Unfortunately, most times I don't have the self control or patience to chew on it and deliver my thoughts in a loving manner. It seems the more I chew, the more fired up I get--like a tea pot! Not mad, mind you, just passionate and more convinced of my ideas. Thankfully, I do care about my relationships and try to make amends. The routine seems to be 1. mow them down 2. discover they were offended 3. apologize for offending them (but not for my view). Unfortunately, some are so offended that they do not want to be reconciled. That's pretty bad. Thankfully the Lord will continue his work in me until it's complete! That gives me hope.

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    It sounds like you know yourself very well, and knowledge, as they say, is power. In knowing ourselves well--the good, the bad, the ugly--we are able not to change, but to evolve into the people we want to be. Remember, though, that when we are stressed (good stress or bad stress of any kind), we most likely revert to our "default settings".

    So, you've identified the things you want to improve upon in your life. Now, the question is how do you do that? I'm sure you could get your money's worth of a few sessions with a Christian counselor who is an expert in temperament. But my lay-advice to you is:

    1-Keep doing what you are doing. That's easy, huh? :) When you "mow someone over", apologize and try to make admends. Let them know you are aware that you do this and that you are trying to soften your approach. Telling them that might serve to help smooth things over.

    2-Give people permission to butt into your business. Pick a few close people and ask for their help. Maybe you husband, son, and a few close friends who know you and love you all the same. Give them permission to let you know when you are steam-rolling them or someone else by a simple phrase or gesture. Have your husband or friend say something like, "You're doing it right now." or allowing your son to hold up his hand in the "stop" motion will help you stop while you are in the middle of it. Knowing you DID it is helpful--knowing you ARE DOING it allows you to make adjustments in your approach and change the direction of the situation.

    3-When you know you are passionate about something, write it out or speak it into a tape recorder or your cell phone. Then, ask yourself if it really needs to be shared. If the answer is no, leave it. If the answer is yes, re-write it to re-speak it, taking out any unnecessary emotion. Also try to make a bullet-list of the most important points you want to get across. Then try to calmly express just the important information.

    A book on personality that I really like is called LifeTypes by Sandra Krebs Hirsh and Jean Kummerow. My copy is from 1997 and I got it for just a couple bucks at You can also see what your local library has. Some good authors are Hirsh, Kummerow, Jane A.G. Kise, and David Stark.

    Good for you in trying to tame the passion monster within you. Passions are given by God, but the key for you might be to focus in on several specific passions and learn to let yourself attach less emotion to the things that can slide some.

    Thanks for reading and blessings on your journey,