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ENTJ, or Extroverted iNtuitive Thinking Judger

is a label borrowed from MBTI nomenclature and now applied to the Jungian Cognitive Function set {Te, Ni, Se, Fi}.

What Is Personality Type

What Is Personality Type

Dominant: Extroverted Thinking (Te)

"Frankly, I work best when I can be in charge, when I'm given the autonomy and resources necessary to get something done. I'm good at handling problems and making tough decisions on a macro level, and I'm able to see potential in a lot of places people might not expect. It's important to know how to define and establish clear objectives--but also to keep your mind open to new possibilities that might work even better. Somehow I'm able to look at the different areas of a problem and compartmentalize them into tangible wholes and sequential steps--and from there it's just a matter of having the confidence, preparation, and skill sets necessary to follow through with your ambitions. I'm good at taking charge of a situation and optimizing its utility, which is something I take pride in my ability to do. It's important to me to organize and promote efficiency wherever I can, and I think sometimes people need to learn that there are times when their personal sentiments should be set aside if they're getting in the way of important progress. I often feel that people don't really understand or appreciate the full extent of my ambitions--but I stand up for my ideas and I support them with empirical facts. It's just a matter of visualizing a solution and implementing the steps necessary--if you're capable of doing something worthwhile, why shouldn't you?"

Sometimes mistaken for ESTPs for their aggressive confidence, often competitive nature, and emphasis on tangible action, ENTJs feel most at home when they:

A) Have the knowledge and skills necessary to perform efficiently, B) Can visualize unique solutions to large-scale problems, and C) Be given the administrative power to implement their ideas in practice.

The above list is, in itself, a nod to the concepts behind dominant Te: the way to get things done is to find out what the most successful people in the field are doing and break down that approach into concrete objectives, to cohesive steps and defined methodology. No burden of proof can match that of empirical evidence, the objectively measurable manifestation of the consensus of observable phenomena and the interpretations of the people who can show evidence that they understand it best. ENTJs are often much more ready to accept an idea when it's been quantified and systematized, and granted credibility by some manner of official recognition--presumably from the people who make it their business to know about whatever that area is, and who generate obviously tangible results from it. Numbers don't lie, and it's of the utmost importance to educate oneself about the standards and expectations by which logical and categorical evaluations are approached and granted collective value.

Most ENTJs will admit that they occasionally have some difficulty with people who seem to block or otherwise hinder the development of their pet projects. They often have little patience for what they see as pointless or non-productive, and they may show little restraint in making this view clear to others. It's this sort of issue--generally born of a desire to avoid wasting resources, but often misunderstood as a deliberate attempt to exert excessive control--that grants ENTJs their somewhat exaggerated reputation for aggressive handling of situations with little regard for the practical implications of the effects of their behavior on others.

Nevertheless, they tend to see difficult tasks as challenges that need to be studied, considered, planned carefully for, and strategically conquered. In this way, the structured nature of their dominant attitude illuminates the real difference from ESTP here: ENTJs are, above all, deliberate. They don't mince words and they don't like to waste time or energy. Given clear objectives and the necessary tools, ENTJs will finish what they start, and you can bet their work will meet all relevant regulations and industry standards. They may even feel like most (or worse, all) of the people around them lack the knowledge, confidence, or leadership ability to keep things running smoothly. It's no secret that they sometimes garner a reputation for being domineering and controlling, although this is not their intention: they simply feel a responsibility to take a leadership role when no one else around them can be trusted to do things right.

Like most Je dominant types, ENTJs tend to excel in management positions where they can be directly responsible for the coordination of various different departments or areas into larger and more cohesive functional wholes. This natural ability to control and govern resources gives rise to the characteristic Te desire for autonomy and self-sufficiency: the competence and self-restraint required to do achieve these ideals become points of pride for the ENTJ. There's a certain way the universe functions most effectively, they reason, and if you can't align yourself with the way things work on a globally objective level, you have no one to blame but yourself. If he cannot maintain autonomy, the ENTJ will be forced to make himself subservient to other (potentially far less efficient) methods of resource distribution. If there's one thing ENTJs dislike, it's being stuck working in a system or framework that could be improved or redesigned for better functionality, but having no authority or position from which to institute such improvements. They feel trapped, like they've solved the problem but its application is being blocked by nothing more than pointless bureaucratic red tape.

Auxiliary: Introverted iNtuition (Ni)

"On a more private level that isn't often fully exposed or even completely understood by the ENTJ himself, auxiliary Ni grants the well-balanced ENTJ his characteristic interest in the reinterpretation and redesign of processes and systems which he sees could be approached more efficiently if only conceptualized through different base assumptions--assumptions which may lie outside of the currently accepted framework and may not be predictable or fully explainable. While dominant Te leads the ENTJ to place a high value on the wisdom and expertise of those who have shown tangible results, auxiliary Ni may contradict this insistence on outwardly measurable observation and prompt the ENTJ to introspect and indulge a seemingly irrational or unverifiable hunch or feeling about the next step toward completing a goal. While Te is busy comparing and evaluating different preexisting external structural approaches and methodologies, Ni works behind the scenes to compile them all into internalized conceptual representations which should ultimately assist the ENTJ in carving out his own personal approach to a given sort of problem--he's on the right track when he can strike a balance between what collective scientific knowledge tells him is an effective approach, and what his own interpretation predicts may change or redesign that approach in the future--possibly the far distant future. ENTJs are macro-level thinkers, and they work best when they can look at everything on an expansive scale.

As she is in the process of becoming more comfortable with auxiliary Ni, the ENTJ may display somewhat perplexing behavior in terms of the conflict between what the evidence says she should do and what her gut is telling her is, in fact, misleading evidence. Ni's perceptual depth may be difficult to handle at first, as it's often responsible for misgivings and uncertainty regarding the ENTJ's understanding of any given process or system, and that sort of second-guessing leads to less progress and thus, a less favorable distribution of resources. Putting in this level of time and determined introspection over the significance of a problem and the way we choose to conceptualize it may strike dominant Te as an inefficient usage of time that would be better spent actually planning and executing the goals we've already defined thus far. Nevertheless, the well-balanced ENTJ recognizes that these sorts of conceptual hunches are necessary to the development of any truly effective approach to solving any sort of problem at all--just getting more done doesn't necessarily mean any of it is substantial or genuinely useful in conjunction with other processes and methods.

Ideally Ni should also grant the ENTJ a more distinct sense of individuality--without it, one may rightly wonder how he may show any measure of personal style or creativity to the world, or bring any of his own experiences and the accompanying set of perceptions and assumptions with him into any problem he agrees to apply himself to. Ni should grant a sense of depth to Te's expansive plans and objectives--it should show the ENTJ the more significant long-term implications of his ideas, and grant him the wisdom to consider all the available information deeply before insisting on a speedy decision and immediate execution. Expediency is key, but Ni provides a reminder that productivity towards an ill-defined or poorly chosen goal may not really constitute genuine productivity at all.

At its best, Ni will support and assist Te's desire for organization and progress by changing the way the ENTJ views and interprets various kinds of resources and their potential for productive use. This contributes to their vaunted ability to see a profitable opportunity in something that doesn't strike anyone else as worthy of any investment of time or substantial consideration. They may sometimes feel, much like INTJs, that they are ahead of their time in terms of their ability to foresee the next wave of opportunity, to plan and structure their approach around maximizing the benefit and utility they can garner from it.

When auxiliary Ni is poorly developed, the ENTJ may find himself lacking in long-term strategic ability or insight into the real significance or symbolic value of the goals he is pursuing. He may become so caught up in maximizing active productivity that he may lose sight of the real purpose of his mission, which threatens the total productivity of the entire effort on a larger scale. Unable to find the unstated meaning that connects his command of process to his visions and ideas, the TeSe loop ENTJ is forced to indulge in the immediately tangible and physically expressive world of literal surface value.

Tertiary: Extroverted Sensation (Se)

Largely responsible for the common confusion between ESTPs and ENTJs is the ENTJ's tertiary function, Se (the ESTP's dominant.) People are usually able to quickly recognize an extrovert with Thinking as one of his two strongest attitudes, and the similarly aggressive and in-charge interaction styles between ESTPs and ENTJs can make them hard to distinguish for the casual observer. Though Te's desire to promote calculated action in favor of a specified and measurable goal can combine with Se's accompanying desire to impress the audience with tangible displays of bravado and immediate sensory impact to mislead the casual observer into mistaking Se for the dominant function, there are quite a lot of substantial differences between the goals and mindsets of these two types that, once we examine them more deeply, it's hard to confuse them further. Tertiary Se is, however, especially visible in situations where the ENTJ realizes he's more likely to accomplish his goals if he dazzles his audience with a little bit of flair: Se gives ENTJs a desire to impress, to display their knowledge and skills in order to impress others and, hopefully, create more useful business opportunities as a result.

In some cases ENTJs may even consciously notice the effectiveness of Se as a social strategy (often by watching ESPs in social situations) and understand through TeNi that it can be reverse engineered and applied in a more structured and purposeful environment as well. Since it's already a natural part of themselves, it's not a difficult leap to consider Se's applications in places and situations where most people might not expect it. This process feeds back into auxiliary Ni's ability to see an opportunity for improvement where others may see nothing of any particular value. When positively applied, tertiary Se connects the ENTJ to a real, physical awareness of the impressions and immediate sensations her words and actions create on the people around her. Rather than seeing the world simply as a set of causal relationships that combine and interact to form plans and complete objectives, Se prompts her to recognize the more direct relationships between her own stylistic approach and the expectations and desires of the people she seeks to influence and direct.

Of course, too much indulgence in Se can lead to a number of disconcerting behavioral issues and a long term trend toward failure to generate the level of productivity and autonomy which makes the ENTJ feel most at home. If Ni is blocked out or underdeveloped, the ENTJ's cognitive patterns begin to shift toward TeSe--too much indulgence in immediately enjoyable play time can combine with the already aggressive Te to produce controlling and territorial behaviors that don't serve to endear the ENTJ too much to the people surrounding him. Insistent upon controlling and regulating (Te) every aspect of his physical environment and the immediate impact it creates (Se), the TeSe ENTJ will find himself aggressively pushing out of the way anyone who doesn't fit his plans or desires, or simply irritates or annoys him on a personal basis. He will feel dominant Te's drive to push for progress and growth, but he may lack the intuitive depth necessary to understand the long term implications of his actions or put any of his ambitions into a context that will promote legitimate forward movement. Self-conscious over his own slow development and unsure of how to make the next step forward, he may indulge further and further in the immediately pleasing world of external sensations, becoming increasingly difficult to confront or criticize as his own poorly understood emotional side is expressed through simple anger and Se's territorial behavior. The tiniest sense of inefficiency or disorganization may drive him up the wall--convinced that his own failure to organize and follow through is responsible for his difficulties, he may go to extreme lengths micromanaging and reorganizing the same irrelevant details, and angrily confronting anyone who gets in the way or suggests any conflicting approach. Stuck in a corner and at his wit's end, indulgence in the immediate pleasures of sensory enjoyment may strike the ENTJ as the only way to (even temporarily) escape his mounting problems.

On the other hand, once Ni is in place and performing its duties, Se will provide a helpful balancing perspective that connects the ENTJ to the tastes and preferences of the real people surrounding her. It will remind her to keep an eye on appearances, aware of the substantial implications of having the right look and feel in her sense of presentation, to be sure that she's up to date, and to occasionally provide a subtle hint of forceful aggression when it contributes to accomplishing her goals expediently.

Inferior: Introverted Feeling (Fi)

By far the least comfortable function attitude in the ENTJ hierarchy is the point at which most ENTJs are aware they are weak and thus tend to avoid whenever possible: inferior Fi. For the ENTJ struggling to integrate the inferior attitude into his perspective, it may be very difficult to balance the personal ethical ideals of the individual against the broader objectives that represent the progression of his interests into tangible processes and measurable progress toward completing them. It may seem impossible to get anything meaningful done without stepping on anyone's toes--a problem most ENTJs solve by simply not worrying much about whether anyone will feel his toes have been stepped on (unless creating such a feeling directly conflicts with the completion of his goals, of course.) Respect for the individual's sense of personal integrity and moral goodness may come as a threatening and confusing shock to dominant Te's ordered and methodical systems of deliberate planning and execution.

When inferior Fi is forced out, generally by a stressful situation, the ENTJ's oft-neglected emotional side may suddenly and unexpectedly force itself into public view. In my experience, one such Fi outlet for many Te dominants (and this includes both ENTJs and ESTJs) involves latching onto seemingly insignificant or irrelevant moral crusades or perceived injustices and waxing poetic about what deplorable tragedies they represent. (I know one Te dominant who, when started on the subject of Native Americans, insists that it's a travesty that their country was stolen from them, and makes it clear that if he were in charge, they would at least have the national parks back!)

Along the way, the ENTJ may have a difficult path ahead of him in terms of connecting his personal sense of moral integrity to the agendas and approaches of the projects and objectives by which he defines his relationship to the world. Unexpected emotional outbursts (often masked with Se anger, which serves to cover up the other more nuanced and less familiar emotions that inferior F types are wont to block out or ignore) may surprise and alarm family and friends when the ENTJ feels personally slighted, or feels his ideas have been disregarded or not given fair consideration. Since the ENTJ, at his core, needs to feel that he is contributing to an increase in efficiency in nearly everything he does, any time his suggestions are not heeded, he may become irrationally upset, taking others' rejections of his advice (his most valued form of input) as an implication that the core value of his personality is not worthy of respect or consideration. Strange and misplaced accusations of personal disloyalty or failure to respect the ENTJ's feelings and desires may crop up at unusual and inappropriate moments as Fi bubbles over and forces out the unfamiliar realm of subjective value judgment.

While the Fi integration process may result in some temporary discomfort and emotional confusion, as the line between "things should be run efficiently" (Te) and "I should be good and do the right thing" (Fi) can begin to blur and lead the ENTJ to believe that he can never actually accomplish enough to feel like he is a legitimately useful or admirable person. He may struggle with the underlying fear of losing touch with the collective standards by which knowledgeable people evaluate things, and thus he may block out his own feelings and emotional needs in favor of adjusting himself to whatever the people he views as knowledgeable and respectable insist is the correct method. Development of Fi helps to balance the weight given to each of these conflicting value systems: it helps the ENTJ to stand up for what he knows is right even if it's more convenient or more efficient not to.

Eventually, the ENTJ's private moral values should gain enough context to be molded into real projects that can do something to help the ENTJ feel she is contributing to the greater good through her continuing efforts to progress and refine the processes she best understands. By intertwining a personal moral value with the assurance that they could make things run more efficiently if given the chance, ENTJs may actually find a way to connect with and provide mutual support for both Te and Fi. By allowing their personal moral values to grant direction to manageable and realistic projects for improvement of process or design, they can give voice to a side of themselves most people don't see--and without necessarily having to compromise the strong and confident image on which they pride themselves. When they can feel they are both achieving on a high level and doing it for the right personal reasons, ENTJs will soar.