The ENTJ Personality Type: Key Traits, Strengths, Weaknesses & More
If you've never taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, it's a personality assessment that groups people into one of 16 personalities or types based on their preferences. And in the case of ENTJs, this powerhouse personality type is known for getting things done—just don't expect them to be sensitive about it. Think Gordon Ramsey or Steve Jobs.
Here's what to know about the ENTJ personality type.
The ENTJ personality type.
ENTJ stands for extroverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging. According to John Hackston, head of thought leadership at the Myers-Briggs Company, they make up just 1.8% of the population, and they are more likely to be men.
"These natural leaders can be described as curious, energetic, self-confident, pragmatic, creative problem solvers, and decisive," Hackston tells mbg, adding, "Those who have personality preferences for ENTJ are verbally fluent and get energized by interacting with people, exchanging ideas, and making things happen."
Take entrepreneur Bill Gates as a prime example of an ENTJ. This type isn't discouraged by a challenge. In fact, they love it and have had historical success in making great achievements in everything from politics to business.
When under extreme stress, however, Hackston notes they can feel alone, underappreciated, and overwhelmed with self-doubt. Even still, "They won't openly show their feelings," he says.
5 key traits:
ENTJ types are ultimately confident and self-assured people (perhaps with the exception of when they're under extreme stress). Ultimately, they believe in their ability to get things done—and they do. Hackston explains that their confidence can even come off as arrogance at times, but it's this quality that can lend itself to professional success.
Being one of the intuitive MBTI types, ENTJ personalities are known to be creative problem solvers. As psychologist Kristina Hallett, Ph.D., ABPP, previously explained to mbg, "Intuition is information gathering from a broader, more 'big picture' perspective, making links between patterns that may not be as easily seen from the specific in-the-moment view."
Hackston adds that ENTJs' "love for different possibilities and looking at the big picture often leads them to discuss and explore people's ideas and insights in order to promote mutual learning."
Being an extroverted and curious personality type, ENTJs have a store of personal energy that doesn't run out easily Hackston tells mbg. They're energized by swapping ideas and solving problems with people, and they use this energy to see all their projects through.
ENTJ people make natural leaders, between their propensity for extroversion, their charismatic enthusiasm, and their endless supply of energy. They're easily able to get others to rally behind them by way of inspiring them with their own energy.
Lastly, ENTJs can be very critical, according to Hackston, who says they "may not consider other opinions or points of view while making decisions and looking for solutions." This dogmatic approach can certainly make ENTJs intimidating and even thought of as insensitive. (Again, think Gordon Ramsey—great chef but definitely not the sweetest cook in the kitchen.)
- Overly dominant
- Emotionally closed off
ENTJ in relationships.
When it comes to their romantic lives, and even friendships, the ENTJ is likely to seek people with whom they can have open debates, Hackston says, as well as honest (and sometimes challenging) conversations about anything that interests them.
"They value when people speak their minds, share their thoughts, and are persuasive. They probably won't display emotions and be romantic all the time but will treat their loved ones with balance and fairness, leaving space for frank and direct dialogue," he explains.
They're often solution-oriented, he adds, and that applies in their relationships too: "In a conflict situation, they will likely try to find a quick solution and can disregard what others feel while they focus on a resolution."
In terms of being friends with an ENTJ, "Some good advice is to avoid drama, say what you think, and be ready to argue your corner," says Hackston. And in terms of dating one, he notes that if they feel underappreciated by their S.O., they tend to feel frustrated and disconnected.
When it comes to compatibility with other MBTI types, Hackston says ENTJs relate better to those with the same intuition-thinking preference—that is, other people with both N and T in their types—so ENTPs, INTJs, INTPs, or another ENTJ. "Although all types can be compatible and create positive and balanced relationships," he adds.
ENTJ in the workplace.
In the workplace, remember that ENTJ personality types are natural leaders. This approach will translate to the workplace, with Hackston explaining that they generally like to take charge and enjoy projects that involve challenges. "To solve them, they create possibilities and explore new ideas, making highly analytical decisions," he adds.
Unlike those with perceiving (P) preferences, he notes, ENTJs actually prefer the structure provided by schedules and long-term planning. They're innovative and global thinkers, but they're also action-oriented and strategic, he explains, "thinking ahead, envisioning potential issues, and pulling resources when problems are presented."
And don't be surprised if you feel challenged by the ENTJs in your workplace. According to Hackston, not only are they good at spotting inefficient processes, but they can become frustrated and "will likely question illogical decisions in the workplace."
Overall, though, he says ENTJs are likely to thrive in leadership and management roles, as they are good communicators, great planners, and able to present situations with precision. "The field of work may be less important than having a job where they have the opportunity to take charge, plan for the future, and see those plans carried through," he adds.
Common ENTJ careers:
- Criminal justice
How to thrive as an ENTJ:
Flex some sensitivity.
The ENTJ isn't exactly known for being the most sensitive person in a group, and according to Hackston, it's something they can work on. Even if it doesn't come naturally, he says, "Consider how plans, decisions, and even feedback may impact other people instead of solely relying on a logical or even critical approach to situations."
Respect others' thoughts & opinions.
Along similar lines, he says, when you feel stressed because someone is questioning your authority or your decisions, "make a pause to listen to what people are trying to convey—maybe their ideas could result in a better solution."
And lastly, Hackston advises ENTJs not to expect others to have quick answers all the time. It's easy for this type to fall into a pattern of impatience and/or frustration, but "some people need time to pause and think before reaching a conclusion or offering a solution," he explains.
ENTJs are known for being great leaders, powerful problem solvers, and successful entrepreneurs. Their propensity to dive into any challenge makes them a seemingly unstoppable force, and while they may not be the most easygoing or sensitive people, you can bet they'll be able to help you figure out the solution to an issue effectively.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, as well as a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.