How much do you know about the ENTJ personality type?
If you know what each letter stands for in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) lexicon, you can at least identify the four key ENTJ characteristics:
But there’s much more to each type than those four letters can say.
And if you’re an ENTJ, or you know someone who is, the more you know, the better you can understand everything that goes with it.
Let’s start with a bit of background on those four letters.
What Is An ENTJ Personality Type?
Isabel Briggs-Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs, designed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) in 1962 to sort and classify personalities according to four specific cognitive functions:
- 1st: Introversion vs. Extraversion — how you receive and direct energy
- 2nd: Intuition vs. Sensing — how you take in information
- 3rd: Thinking vs. Feeling — how you make decisions and come to conclusions
- 4th: Judging vs. Perceiving — how you approach the outside world
Organizing and expanding on personality theories developed by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, Myers and Briggs classified each of the resulting 16 types by borrowing the first letter of each dominant tendency to create an acronym for each.
The sixteen types are grouped into four subtypes:
- Analysts (N & T) — INTJ, INTP, ENTJ and ENTP
- Diplomats (N & F) — INFJ, INFP, ENFJ and ENFP
- Sentinels (S & J) — ISTJ, ISFJ, ESTJ and ESFJ
- Explorers (S & P) — ISTP, ISFP, ESTP and ESFP
Aside from the acronym, each personality has a name that roughly sums up their personality. Depending on your source, the ENTJ usually goes by either “chief” or “commander.” There’s a reason.
The Commander personality type is a natural-born leader, gifted with charisma and confidence. Their presence projects authority and competence, making it easier for them to rally crowds to their cause.
ENTJs show the following traits related to the letters in their MBTI type:
- Extraverted — gregarious, talkative, outgoing, very assertive, expressive
- Intuitive — imaginative, abstract in their thinking, complex, introspective
- Thinking — rational in their thinking, logical, objective, impersonal
- Judging — critical in thought, thick-skinned, decisive, organized, disciplined
How Rare is ENTJ?
According to psychiatrist David Kiersey (maker of the Kiersey Temperament Sorter), ENTJs represent a mere 2% of the population. Keirsey’s sorter uses 70 questions to sort testers by the same criteria. It uses the word “Fieldmarshal” to designate the ENTJ.
13 Top ENTJ Personality Traits
Read the following as traits every ENTJ is likely to possess, whether they’ve fully explored them or not. A more targeted explanation of strengths and weaknesses comes later.
This type falls into the broader MBTI category of “Analysts.” who use their intuitive and thinking functions to analyze a problem and find an effective solution. ENTJs use their heads more than their hearts to assess a challenge and formulate a strategy.
2. Bold and Outspoken
Other words that fit are blunt, direct, fearless, and (at times) insensitive. ENTJs prefer clarity and directness in speech. Tact and empathy generally take a back seat to those preeminent values.
The ENTP is fearless in presenting their opinions and advocating for their cause.
The ENTJ will use their commanding presence and strategic thinking to attract and inspire others. Their forceful personalities compel many less-forceful ones to follow their lead and work toward their chosen goals.
Put to good use, this trait can unite people and motivate them to work toward a worthy goal — one that benefits everyone involved as well as those who can’t undertake the work.
ENTJs believe they can achieve whatever they put their mind to. They also trust in their own leadership skills. It doesn’t take long for the outspoken ENTJ to recognize their persuasive power and learn how to use it.
They lead by example as well as by the force of their self-assured personality. They don’t need anyone’s approval or permission to go after what they want.
5. Decisive and Driven
When the ENTJ has to make a decision, their confidence, rational thinking, and strategic thinking all come into play. They examine all aspects of a problem to see the bigger picture and decide on a long-term solution rather than a quick fix.
Once they make that decision, they go all in, driven to carry it out as efficiently as possible.
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6. Efficient and Organized
No one is more prepared for foreseeable challenges than the ENTJ. Once they assess the situation and decide on a course of action, they’ll put a framework in place and collect the resources they need to help them finish as efficiently as possible.
It’s not so much about speed as it is about efficacy. ENTJs work hard to ensure their finished work is of the highest quality.
ENTJs are big picture thinkers. It’s not enough for them to find a quick, easy solution for the short-term. Their assessment of a situation goes beyond the present moment and sees the likely long-term consequences and benefits of a particular strategy.
The ENTJ is not content with Band-aid solutions. It has to be sustainable for the long haul.
8. Impulsive and Energetic
ENTJs can often be impulsive and so sure they’re in the right that they pay little (if any) attention to what others have to say about it. They have so much energy and are so driven, they often don’t stop to consider how their words and actions affect others.
Once they decide on an action, they dive in, sometimes saying and doing things that lead to painful consequences (e.g., the “Reynolds Pamphlet”).
If it isn’t already apparent, ENTJs are fiercely independent — often to the point of angering those who have authority over them. With their intense need to do things their own way and live on their own terms, they’re not content with the role of follower.
And they’re more likely than some types to question or challenge an authority figure.
ENTJs use their intuition and what they’ve gained by their thirst for knowledge to create new and innovative solutions. Or they’ll take a time-tested solution and find a new way to implement it. They’re always playing with new ideas and exploring new and more efficient ways to get things done.
The ENTJ is unstoppable. Where one person might stop at “good enough” or “better than average,” the ENTJ keeps going until they make “excellent” look like garbage by comparison. Their drive is inexhaustible. They don’t give up, and they don’t settle.
Discipline is a core value for them, and they don’t let fear or discomfort get in their way.
ENTJs take responsibility for their actions, and they expect the same of others. One of the quickest ways to lose an ENTJs respect is to act irresponsibly and blame others for the fallout.
They have little patience for those who don’t meet their high standards for character.
The ENTJ is more task-oriented than people-oriented. They do enjoy the company of people, and their charisma makes them magnetic.
But they’re drawn more to careers that give them something to do or accomplish, whether they do this independently or with a group (as their leader).
ENTJ Personality Strengths and Weaknesses
Now that you’ve looked through the top personality traits of an ENTJ, sorting out the strengths and weaknesses can help you create a clearer, more cohesive picture of this personality type.
The strengths of the ENTJ personality make them both an excellent leader and a visionary.
- Action-oriented — task-oriented, productive, uninhibited
- Efficient — organized and prepared, forward-thinking
- Powerful — imposing, forceful, driven, take-charge
- Self-motivated — independent, passionate, energetic, strong-willed
- Strategic — examines all aspects of a problem to find effective, long-term solutions
- Thriving on Challenges — undaunted, competitive, resourceful
The darker side of this personality type can manifest in the following ways:
- Arrogance — ENTJs are self-assured and often insular. They can be abrasive, aloof, and condescending toward those they consider weak or less intelligent.
- Difficulty with emotions — Though they can be introspective, they often struggle to empathize with others. They also often ignore their own deepest feelings.
- Insensitivity — The ENTJ’s sense of entitlement (to praise, power, obedience, etc.) can make them impatient, unkind, and even ruthless.
- Low Impulse Control — ENTJs are so sure of their own judgment, they often act and speak on impulse, which can get them into trouble.
ENTJs at Work
Now that you have a clearer idea of the ENTJ’s strengths and other dominant traits, it’s not hard to see how these might help them in their career planning and job performance. The ENTJ is confident, hard-working, energetic, and self-motivated, making them an asset to any employer — as long as they don’t continually butt heads with management.
If the ENTJ can work toward a leadership position, so much the better. And if they have someone in their life who can help them work on their weaknesses (especially those that put them at odds with others), the potency of their strengths grows exponentially.
An ENTJ committed to personal growth is the kind of person everyone needs in their life.
I gave a hint earlier at one particular famous ENTJ, but here are 14 others besides. If you’re an ENTJ yourself, these are some of your MBTI siblings.
- Alexander Hamilton (politician, writer, lawyer, Secretary of the Treasury)
- Steve Jobs (U.S. entrepreneur)
- Bill Gates (U.S. entreprenuer and philanthropist)
- Margaret Thatcher (British Prime Minister)
- Napoleon Bonaparte (Italian-French general, emperor, and king
- Robert Downey, Jr. (U.S. actor)
- Patrick Stewart (English actor)
- Carl Sagan (U.S. astronomer)
- Werner von Braun (German engineer)
- Garry Kasparov (Russian chess grandmaster)
- Sheryl Sandberg (U.S. COO and author)
- Adele (English singer)
- Ice-T (U.S. rapper and actor)
- Lady Mary Crawley (fictional character— Downton Abbey)
- Irene Adler (fictional character — Sherlock)
Do you recognize these ENTJ personality traits?
Now that you’re better acquainted with the ENTJ personality type, what qualities stood out to you most? If you’re an ENTJ, what traits are you most proud of?
Like anyone else, ENTJs need people in their life to help them make the most of their gifts — as well as to soften the edges of their less sociable qualities. But once you know what you need to work on, you’re relentless in your pursuit of growth.
Just remember, in all that you do, to take time out every day for self-care and to spend time with people you love. Life will be all the fuller for it.