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  1. #1
    Member ChrisC99's Avatar
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    Default ENFP vs. ENFJ: Approach with others, leadership

    I'm very much an MBTI noob, but my understanding is that as judging-feelers with an Fe dominance, ENFJs interact with the outside world by aligning themselves with the feelings and values of those around them. For example, their first subconscious instinct in approaching a group would be to sense what the other members seem to feel or need, and respond accordingly. In that vein I'm assuming ENFPs are the reverse: in their mind the outside world is a place to share their internally-derived values and feelings with others more than a place to glean them from others...in a simplified sense making them more the talkers than the listeners! Or to generalize it another way, ENFPs crave being the center of attention, while ENFJs are inclined to let others have the attention and observe what they say or do.

    If this is true, how would they compare in a leadership environment? I know ENFJs are often cited as natural leaders, ENFPs less so (Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton being exceptions). For example, are ENFJs typically the careful listeners, who guide in gentle ways with careful attention to manners and guidelines - while ENFPs are more blunt and outspoken, even iconoclastic, more apt to impose their own ideas than to glean the ideas of those around them?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Hello

    In response to your thoughts, as an ENFP, I both agree a lot and disagree a bit. I think it's a little more complex than this, especially when it comes to factoring more traits and influences like enneatype and instinctual variant into the mix. Being ENFs, both of our types naturally sense others' feelings and respond to them. Both tend to be affable and warm, and both tend to glean big-picture feel-y information from social situations, such as values, ideals, motivations, passions, harmony, authenticity, and hopes.

    ENFPs do see the world as a place to share. On the other hand, Ne dominance is all about taking in external information, so we do a lot of gathering as well as sharing. Most of us are fairly ambiverted, and are very talkative at times and very subdued at times. Many ENFPs enjoy leading but often prefer it only for short periods of time - we're very good at setting things in motion, and we're also very good in a crisis, but we tend to "fix" things and then move on - we typically get bored with daily maintenance. As leaders, we tend to be supportive, enthusiastic, and excel at delegation. Also, like you said, Fi and Te make us more blunt and individualistic, but Ne dominance and P leave us more open to more information, even after goals are set - our outspokenness is far from imposition of ideas. We tend to "live and let live", but we can also be very directive and authoritative when clear rules are broken, in particular when someone gets hurt.

    ENFJs, on the other hand, are very good at reading and influencing the social atmosphere, as Fe is about behavior, accommodation, communication, connection, empathy/sympathy, and influence. ENFJs are often more natural leaders than ENFPs because J is an aspect that seeks closure instead of open exploration, and as such ENFJs tend to mobilize people towards a certain specific goal. Also because of that quality, ENFJs may be excellent listeners, but Ni is a honing function, and you may notice that ENFJs in leadership will tend to listen more to certain ideas than others - they're more accommodating behaviorally, but, being Js, once they've made their own judgment about something, they're less likely to be open to more information from others. In my experience, ENFJ leaders are usually warm, motherly/fatherly, concerned, confident, insightful, and decisive, and they are excellent at utilizing and predicting the mechanism of action-into-consequence. ENFJs are generally more consistent in both ideas and behaviors, which probably makes them better day-to-day leaders on average.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Chiharu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    Hello

    In response to your thoughts, as an ENFP, I both agree a lot and disagree a bit. I think it's a little more complex than this, especially when it comes to factoring more traits and influences like enneatype and instinctual variant into the mix. Being ENFs, both of our types naturally sense others' feelings and respond to them. Both tend to be affable and warm, and both tend to glean big-picture feel-y information from social situations, such as values, ideals, motivations, passions, harmony, authenticity, and hopes.

    ENFPs do see the world as a place to share. On the other hand, Ne dominance is all about taking in external information, so we do a lot of gathering as well as sharing. Most of us are fairly ambiverted, and are very talkative at times and very subdued at times. Many ENFPs enjoy leading but often prefer it only for short periods of time - we're very good at setting things in motion, and we're also very good in a crisis, but we tend to "fix" things and then move on - we typically get bored with daily maintenance. As leaders, we tend to be supportive, enthusiastic, and excel at delegation. Also, like you said, Fi and Te make us more blunt and individualistic, but Ne dominance and P leave us more open to more information, even after goals are set - our outspokenness is far from imposition of ideas. We tend to "live and let live", but we can also be very directive and authoritative when clear rules are broken, in particular when someone gets hurt.

    ENFJs, on the other hand, are very good at reading and influencing the social atmosphere, as Fe is about behavior, accommodation, communication, connection, empathy/sympathy, and influence. ENFJs are often more natural leaders than ENFPs because J is an aspect that seeks closure instead of open exploration, and as such ENFJs tend to mobilize people towards a certain specific goal. Also because of that quality, ENFJs may be excellent listeners, but Ni is a honing function, and you may notice that ENFJs in leadership will tend to listen more to certain ideas than others - they're more accommodating behaviorally, but, being Js, once they've made their own judgment about something, they're less likely to be open to more information from others. In my experience, ENFJ leaders are usually warm, motherly/fatherly, concerned, confident, insightful, and decisive, and they are excellent at utilizing and predicting the mechanism of action-into-consequence. ENFJs are generally more consistent in both ideas and behaviors, which probably makes them better day-to-day leaders on average.
    This.

    It also depends on how stressful the situation is:

    ENFPs most likely get into an Ne-Te loop, which can make them either really organized and effective or turn them into drill sergeants (or both).

    I would rather an ENFJ explain their behavior under stress, since my limited experience with it was the person becoming disinterested and dismissive to the point of rudeness (it was an extreme case).
    Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness." ― Kurt Vonnegut

    ENFP. 7w6 – 4w3 – 1w9 sx/so. Aries. Dilettante. Overly anxious optimist.

  4. #4
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisC99 View Post
    I'm very much an MBTI noob, but my understanding is that as judging-feelers with an Fe dominance, ENFJs interact with the outside world by aligning themselves with the feelings and values of those around them. For example, their first subconscious instinct in approaching a group would be to sense what the other members seem to feel or need, and respond accordingly. In that vein I'm assuming ENFPs are the reverse: in their mind the outside world is a place to share their internally-derived values and feelings with others more than a place to glean them from others...in a simplified sense making them more the talkers than the listeners! Or to generalize it another way, ENFPs crave being the center of attention, while ENFJs are inclined to let others have the attention and observe what they say or do.

    If this is true, how would they compare in a leadership environment? I know ENFJs are often cited as natural leaders, ENFPs less so (Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton being exceptions). For example, are ENFJs typically the careful listeners, who guide in gentle ways with careful attention to manners and guidelines - while ENFPs are more blunt and outspoken, even iconoclastic, more apt to impose their own ideas than to glean the ideas of those around them?

    Thanks!
    I cant speak for the ENFJ side as my observations are limited. My current company has an enfp ceo, enfp coo, enfp vp engineering, enfp of sales, an estj over mark/PM and an istj over services. There is an extreme bias towards enfps/intjs/intps in the new hire process. The culture is NeTeFiSi

    As leaders, ENFPs tend to become baby ESTJs-they are quite directive, can be prone to micromanagement or a slightly disorganized variety, and tend towards concrete goal oriented objectives in the long term, combined with a bit of a ball dropping-scattered-duct tape approach to the short term. Stuff gets done, but more due to emergent resolution, than planned activity-they continually reorient on the future, long term goal, however, so in spite of the chaos, things seem to work okay. (My ENTP notes this is a huge Ti fail-she has no idea how we get anything done ) They dream big-way too big with huge eyes about all the things they are going to do. They are good at conveying enthusiasm and the importance of drive, work ethic and diligence to those they are leading. They seem to be driven to take care of those underneath them and be protective of their subordinates and , if they are any good, they learn to get over their own sense of offense at personal critique and focus on the best answer to the question at hand.

    You Said: "In that vein I'm assuming ENFPs are the reverse: in their mind the outside world is a place to share their internally-derived values and feelings with others more than a place to glean them from others...in a simplified sense making them more the talkers than the listeners! Or to generalize it another way, ENFPs crave being the center of attention, while ENFJs are inclined to let others have the attention and observe what they say or do."

    What I notice is that the value of the enfps in leadership, becomes one in the same with the concrete goals of the organization-they place an Fi values on Te-hard work, objective achievement, goals of the company etc..thus you dont see "value pushing" with respect to very personal values, but instead pushing of a corporate collective values. In some sense, this deemphasizes the particular enfp, as they are placing the benefit of the whole group and the company above their own goals or feelings. There is a huge emphasis on accountability and ownership-if you screw up its okay, but how do you fix the mistake? You also own what you do-it weighs heavily on your shoulders and you have to be invetsed in it.

    You mentioned the enfjs will ask observe how others feel (I note they tend to then direct how others feel). ENFPs share their own thoughts and are fully expecting you to share your thoughts as well-the solution isnt personal-no one person owns the answer, but part of being a responsible, committed member of the group is challenging the ideas of others and making sure we all reach the answer together, and that we correct one another's mistaken ideas as a group.

    If you ask them "why do you like what you do?" the answer is "I like helping people solve their problems" or "I gain satisfaction from helping people do things more efficiently"

    I do note the enfps leaders have a distinct sp/sx NeTe flavor, where many of the employeed enfps are more a mix of sx/so, sp/sx, sx/sp and so on. I suspect that enfps who grow up to be leaders actually feel devalued psychologically-they do not feel of value to the group as a source or Fi value input, so they are driven to prove they do have sense of self-worth via their Te contribution.....If enfps would typically be protected by a stronger TJ provider, these do not possess enough value to be taken in by a provider, thus sit on the edge of the social group attempting to justify to themselves and others why they do serve a role that is of value to the group....this is an extremely strong driver and these enfps can be insanely productive... (however my entp and I laugh as we note that my company and it's parent portfolio company appears to be actively recruiting fucked up enfps, because our neurosis makes us incredibly good at running chaotic, ever changing companies in disruptive market conditions.)

    From a Book called "Great by Choice":

    "Let’s first look at what we did not find about 10Xers relative to their less successful comparisons: They’re not more creative. They’re not more visionary. They’re not more charismatic. They’re not more ambitious. They’re not more blessed by luck. They’re not more risk-seeking. They’re not more heroic. And they’re not more prone to making big, bold moves. To be clear, we’re not saying that 10Xers lacked creative intensity, ferocious ambition, or the courage to bet big. They displayed all these traits, but so did their less successful comparisons.

    So then, how did the 10Xers distinguish themselves? First, they embrace a paradox of control and non-control. On the one hand, 10Xers understand that they face continuous uncertainty and that they cannot control, and cannot accurately predict, significant aspects of the world around them. On the other hand, they reject the idea that forces outside their control or chance events will determine their results; they accept full responsibility for their own fate."

  5. #5
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    *cracks knuckles*

    I'll take a meeting as an example, since that's of course a case where group dynamics/leadership is highly relevant. I size up the group dynamics first, then assert myself accordingly. Gather information, chart a course, rinse and repeat. Ensure that we're all generally on the same page before we move forward.

    It's not necessarily about conforming to the group's needs; often, it's more about leading the group toward understanding your ideas. That process takes proper communication and an understanding of the group. Teaming is good. A sense of democracy, motivation, collaboration, and contribution from all involved is good.

    Reaching that understanding? Ceding is a tactic. Being blunt is a tactic. Being assertive and direct is a tactic. Being passive is a tactic. Adhering to guidelines and social norms is a tactic. Not adhering to social norms is a tactic. It's all about being aware of the situation and doing what needs to be done.
    _____

    I don't mind deferring. At all. But when *ahem* some people lead, I sometimes find myself not knowing what the hell--as if there was a huge, powerful, chaotic whirlwind that probably did something profound but I'm not exactly sure what. Often, I want to reduce ambiguity by being the person who leads, especially when nobody else is.

    Think of two people approaching an intersection, stop signs in front of both. If they stop at nearly the same time, then it's not clear who should proceed first. If I 'seize control,' simply through waving a hand or pulling forward, then I can reduce the ambiguity. That control isn't about necessarily about forcing myself into a situation where I allow myself to go first (selfish gain), or about some sort of people-pleasing wherein I always allow the other person to go first, but about actually resolving the situation somehow.


    Questions welcome

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