Do you have a friend that just tells it like it is? They don’t always have the best approach, but you know that they’re not going to hold back from sharing their opinion. That friend might be one of the few ENTJs out there.
ENTJ is one of 16 Meyers-Briggs personality types. These personality types tell you more than just if a person is kind or funny. They dive deep into how each type sees, analyzes, and makes judgments on the world around them. Learning about your friend, boss, or partner’s personality type gives you an insight into how best to communicate with them and how they approach decisions.
Not sure if you're an ENTJ? Learn more about the Myers Briggs Test to find out!
What Does ENTJ Stand For?
ENTJ is more than just a word: it's an acronym. First, let’s break down what all of the letters in “ENTJ” mean: extrovert, intuition, thinking, and judgment. All of these personality traits contribute to what ENTJs are nicknamed: The Commander.
E is for extrovert (as opposed to introvert.) This indicates that an ENTJ is likely to lean toward external stimulation rather than internal thoughts and feelings. A common misperception of extroverts is that they’re loud, brash, and the life of the party. That’s not always true. An extrovert is more likely to “fill their cup” by surrounding themselves with friends, family, and other types of external stimulation. Good food and good conversation is more energizing than a book and a cup of tea.
N is for intuition (as opposed to sensing.) This indicates that a person makes judgments based on their intuition instead of the sensory information that is presented in front of them. They are more likely to rely on the impression they get from something than more “literal” data. Think of it as preferring the abstract to the concrete.
T is for thinking (as opposed to feeling.) People who lean toward thinking over feeling draw conclusions from the head rather than the heart. They are more likely to make a judgment based on thoughts, perceptions, and analysis instead of where their emotions are leading them.
Finally, J is for judgment (as opposed to perception.) Judgment and perception are often identified as the “least obvious” of the four letters in your personality type. Think of this as how a person works within structure. People with a J in their personality type prefer structure. They take control of the structure of their day. They make judgments about how tasks are approached and when a job gets done.
Put it all together and you get the confident, charismatic “commander.” Yup, experts call ENTJs “The Commander.” They command the room, rise to the top, and have little sense of comforting people along the way. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? The answer depends on who you ask.
Functions of ENTJ Personality Type
Each personality type is likely to be suitable for four different functions that keep society moving. Some of these functions are shared by different personality types. Experts have ranked these functions from dominant (or the most likely function) to inferior (or the least likely function.)
Let’s start with the dominant function of ENTJ types: Extraverted Thinking (Te.) As their dominant cognitive function, ENTJ types tend to express their conclusions, which can come across as judgmental. Their expression comes from their desire to impose rational order on the world around them, to gain control of the big picture. Don’t let this offend you if you are not an ENTJ. The person is just trying to make their voice heard with good intentions.
The auxiliary function of ENTJ types is Introverted Intuition (Ni.) ENTJs often trust their instincts to help guide them towards their goals. They are always working to reach a goal or conclusion in the bigger picture but remain cautious in their approach. While they trust their instincts, they are open to other views and take their time when reaching decisions. Gut feelings are very important to ENTJs.
Coming in third, the tertiary function of ENTJ types is Extraverted Sensing (Se.) As their tertiary function, extraverted sensing leads them to search for fulfillment in their physical surroundings. That being said, they’re drawn to the finer things in life, as well as physical or sensual excitement. Want to woo an ENTJ? Find the nicest place in town. This will only earn you bonus “brownie points.” Plus, if an ENTJ hasn’t walked away from a date yet, their gut is probably telling them that you’re a great date! They’ll let you know if they’re feeling differently.
Finally, the inferior function of ENTJ types is Introverted Feeling (Fi.) ENTJ personalities may not realize how their inferior function of Introverted Feeling affects their experience. They find it difficult to express or apply an emotional response when needed and have difficulty understanding how their emotions influence their decisions. They are willing to express their thoughts only when they are sure of what those thoughts and feelings are.
Examples of Real-Life ENTJs
Not everyone can hold the “top spot” as the Commander, although many do! Some real-life examples of celebrity ENTJs include:
- Bill Gates
- David Letterman
- Carl Sagan
- Nancy Pelosi
- Julius Caesar
- Alexander Hamilton
- Aung San Suu Kyi
- Al Gore
- Dick Cheney
- Madeleine Albright
Political or not, these are people who are not afraid to say what they think and take control over a room. If they have an opinion, you are likely to hear it. ENTJs also make great teachers, entrepreneurs, and lawyers.
Strengths and Weaknesses of ENTJs
What makes for a good leader? The answer to that question varies. Are ENTJs the best leaders? The answer depends on the job and the people who are working under them. In general, ENTJs are found at the top spots in their industry, company, or organization. ENTJs are well-known for their:
- Strong will
- Strategic problem solving
- Charismatic & inspiring personality
When you meet an ENTJ, you are probably going to trust them off the bat. A lot of people do! If an ENTJ feels comfortable taking the ropes, people will let them. When asked to describe ENTJs in one word, users commented things like:
Of course, the term “commander” doesn’t always have positive connotations. Common “weaknesses” or setbacks that ENTJs face include:
- Intolerance of conflicting ideas
- Distance from emotional expression
- Ruthlessness in pursuit of their goals
These setbacks can be advantages if an ENTJ is up against any other personality type to get to the finish line faster or make more money. In social settings, ENTJs may find themselves at a disadvantage. Their tendency to hurt the feelings of others won’t win them the title of Miss Congeniality. Most Likely to Be Successful? Sure. Most Popular? Not always.
Working and Living With an ENTJ
Maybe you have an ENTJ on your team at work or you are dating an ENTJ. Knowing their personality and how they move through the world is key to fulfilling their needs and communicating effectively. What you need to know about working and living with an ENTJ is that they:
- Want to lead
- Are enthusiastic about their relationships (and the result of them)
- Know how to charm a room
ENTJs at Work
ENTJs outwork everyone, whether they are in a professional setting or working on a group project. Just look at Bill Gates! This work effort and tendency to dominate doesn’t always translate in other types of partnerships, but can be great in groups where no one wants to take charge. If you are on a team with an ENTJ, know that their “bossiness” is just a desire to get great results for everyone on the team.
Share your opinion with an ENTJ and don’t take their response personally. Underneath their domineering facade is a person who is excited to hear you share your thoughts. Remind them, if you have to, that everyone on the team is reaching the same goal.
ENTJs as a Friend
ENTJs pursue friendships out of circumstance but look for people who share similar passions and ideas. Many people will back down in the face of their personality, so ENTJs respect friendships where the other person can stand their ground.
If you are friends with an ENTJ, know that independence is considered an admirable trait. While other personality types want to be wanted, ENTJs want to surround themselves with people who have their own goals and ambitions. Don’t be afraid to make your own plans or prioritize yourself - your ENTJ friends will respect it. Give yourself permission to match their bluntness and boldness with clear communication of your own.
ENTJs as a Roommate
ENTJs can make great roommates if you need order, structure, and a comprehensive chore chart. They are not afraid to communicate what they need from their roommates, but they expect you to do the same. Meet them where they are and clearly share how you will contribute to the household and what you need them to do, too.
ENTJs in Romantic Relationships (ENTJ Compatibility)
ENTJs are more compatible with INTPs. This personality type is known as the logician. These two will encourage each other as they grow, learn, and reach their goals together. ISFJs, "The Defenders," are the least compatible with ENTJs.
In romantic relationships, ENTJs will always try to meet their partners halfway but often take the leading role in the partnership. However, their weaknesses may hold them back from forming strong romantic relationships.
Basic Stats about ENTJs
ENTJs are few and far between. ENTJs and INFJs are the two rarest personality types across the globe! Less than 2% of the general population are ENTJs. We can’t all be Adele or Bill Gates! Men are three times as likely to be ENTJs than women.
ENTJ-A vs. ENTJ-T
I just told you a lot about ENTJs, but before we wrap things up, did you know that ENTJs can be in one of two groups? In recent years, another letter was added to each of the 16 personality types, further defining the types of people we work with, live with, and love. Let’s break down how assertive and turbulent types contribute to ENTJs.
Assertive ENTJs, or ENTJ-A often find that pressure or stressful situations allow them to focus & perform better. When things get difficult, they don’t let it influence their self-confidence or deter their motivation to achieve goals. Negative opinions don’t typically influence their way of thinking.
On the other hand, Turbulent Commanders, ENTJ-T, have trouble navigating stressful situations. Outside influences or negative experiences stay with ENTJ-Ts and they are prone to worrying about upsetting others with their actions. The way turbulent types care for others translates to their ability to enjoy showing affection for others in their relationships.