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ENTJ - Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging

Life's Natural Leaders

Hearty, argumentative, and robust are three words that accurately describe ENTJs. Their unique preferences combine to give them very high need for control and unusual leadership abilities.

Their focus and energy are directed outwardly (Extraversion) toward a world of endless possibilities and meanings (iNtuition), which are translated objectively into systems and products (Thinking) in a very timely and orderly fashion (Judging).

Life is a game of chess

Like their cousins, the ENTPs, the entire world seems like a chessboard to ENTJs, with pieces in need of being moved -- by them -- for the greater good. Life is a system of forces to be understood, mastered, harnessed, altered, or defeated, as appropriate, from day to day.

I'm right. Prove me wrong.

For the ENTJ, all life unfolds through confrontation, arguing, and engaging with one another in the name of learning. The ENTJ starts with the basic assumption that he or she is right and must be proven wrong. This proving process will be beneficial only to the extent that there are others who have the gumption or audacity required to mount an effective challenge. When the engagement is over, if the ENTJ was right, everyone will be better for having gone through the process. If the ENTJ is wrong, then there will be profound admiration and respect for whoever was strong enough to prevail, as well as gratitude and respect for the new lesson learned.

King/Queen of the Hill

In some ways, life for the ENTJ is a variation of the children's game King (or Queen) of the Mountain. The goal for others is to try to push the ENTJ down from the mountaintop. So long as they are unable to do so, they must remain "beneath" the ENTJ. The process of being challenged is as important to the ENTJ as the outcome.

Challenge me

As a type, ENTJs have a low regard for people who refuse to engage them or are intimidated by them, and high regard for those who stand up to them and challenge them intellectually, emotionally, or any other way. The problem of intimidation is intensified by the ENTJs' arrogance, which is often so much a part of them that they are unaware of its existence. Those around them are usually keenly aware of it.

Weak points

ENTJs are often impatient, more so than most other types. Their impatience may show itself in the form of a quick temper, inappropriate complaints over relatively small matters, and an urgency to move on to bigger and better things. Their strong egos can trick them into thinking they can do or handle anything, including details and intense interpersonal matters, but details and interpersonal skills are simply not the ENTJs' strong suits.

When an ENTJ "fails" at such matters, the resulting stress, frustration, and feelings of incompetence can result in self-flagellation and criticism, often totally out of proportion to the issue at hand. Indeed, when it comes to criticism of self or others, ENTJs are usually in a class by themselves. Sharp-tongued, harsh, seemingly unforgiving, ENTJs can be devastating to those they criticize -- including themselves.

Language is mine

ENTJs are especially gifted with language. Clarity of thought and speech make them excellent communicators. It also sharpens the precision of their critical abilities.

Female ENTJs

Clearly, gender issues are especially significant for ENTJ females. As a type, their arrogant, confrontational manner and need for control can appear to be quite "unwomanly" to others. Efforts by parents and others to mold them into more traditional female images are usually met with rebellion. Other women usually resent the arrogance of ENTJ females and can feel "talked down to." As a result, an ENTJ female may unwitting find herself to be a loner, something particularly difficult for Extraverts.

Of course, the problem intensifies for the ENTJ female when dealing with men, even male ENTJs. Their demanding, objective, competent, and independent nature is not particularly endearing to most men. These qualities may obscure the fact that ENTJ females can be quite nurturing and caring. For them, femininity is not defined by traditional roles. It is reflected in the total involvement and commitment they bring to each moment of life.

Male ENTJs

Though the qualities of ENTJs may be more acceptable in males, they, too, may find people shunning them, often avoiding confrontations in order to escape their arrogance. As with their female counterparts, ENTJ males may be plagued by staff, family, and personal relationships in turmoil, leaving them with more time alone than their Extraversion can deal with.

Honest, I'm not upset

To their frequent surprise, ENTJs are often told they appear angry, even when it is just their enthusiasm for a point that has gotten them so worked up. Such encounters can be frustrating for ENTJs -- as well as for those around them -- and they may find themselves in the rather ironic position of having angrily to defend their nonanger. The sense of futility that results may make the ENTJ try even harder or, as is often the case with female ENTJs, may make them give up and move on to some other project. In either case, the result can be debilitating to all involved.

At home

The ENTJ's home is the arena for all sorts of pursuits. Relationships there tend to be open, honest, and stimulating. While to others ENTJs may seem somewhat abrasive, those who know them well understand that, as with other EJs, their bark is usually worse than their bite. To an ENTJ, relationships grow and develop over time.


As parents, ENTJs see children as fun because they are young minds to be encouraged, enlightened, and stimulated. As they grow, the children, too, become eligible to be drawn into hearty discourse about a variety of subjects. And they become candidates for the molding and shaping that ENTJs like to do for those they care about or have responsibilities for.


The ENTJ style of living is fairly compulsive and family members must know their responsibilities within the system. When rebellion is encountered, the ENTJ may enjoy the exchange, even admire at some level the boldness of whoever is rebelling, but still use maximal powers of persuasion to quell the revolt and ensure that all family members continue to march to the beat of the ENTJ drummer. If the rebel manages to win, that person also wins the ENTJ's respect. Each day, at work or at home, the ENTJ may win some and lose some, but there are few, if any, draws.

Can't relax

Relaxation does not come easily to most ENTJs and when it does, it is only because it has been scheduled. Even then it is viewed as one more assignment to master, and ENTJs attack such challenges with zeal and compulsiveness.

Growing up

ENTJ children are rather direct with both their peers and adults. Though they are often bossy and argumentative, they make friends easily, are quick-witted and gregarious, and have strong needs, like other Extraverts, to include others and be included by others in everything they do, from work to studying to partying. In the eyes of peers, ENTJ children can be simultaneously respected for their capabilities and resented for the obnoxious, overpowering conviction that accompanies their ideas. Competitive in most anything they do, ENTJ children start early to criticize their own shortcomings. They rarely rest on their laurels. Even the best, they believe, can be better. That, indeed, is how the ENTJ approaches everything.

Teachers, of course, may not always understand these attributes, and the result is often some very hostile moments, power struggles that the student is likely to lose. If there is no face-saving way out, the ENTJ can be resistant to subsequent learning experiences. While a good, challenging, competitive engagement that involves an exchange of ideas is enjoyable for ENTJs, the one-sided teacher-student power struggle can be damaging and alienating.

Family events

Family events are fun for the ENTJ. They are yet another chance to plan, organize, lead, and show off. It is a time for intellectual exchange and robust encounter. ENTJs look forward to such events with great enthusiasm.


With their natural leadership and systems-planning abilities, ENTJs often rise to upper levels of management fairly quickly. They may alienate some people along the way, but that's all part of the price one pays to express ability and prove competency. Moreover, if one achieves one's goals and has caused learning and growth for self and others, then the alienation was not in vain. Approaching these interpersonal dilemmas objectively, they don't understand why anyone would personalize an argument or competition that was, to their mind, well intentioned, meant only to result in the growth and betterment of all concerned.

Later in life

Older age for the ENTJ is still a time for conceptual and intellectual expansion. Good development will bring more respect for reflection, with less need to control everything, less compulsive behavior. However, the later years must still include some form of mental challenge, the more competitive, the better. For the ENTJ, the rewards of maturity are the opportunities to read, argue, organize, or theorize -- in other words, to continue on his or her lifelong path, but with less accountability. Retirement, if it ever comes, will see a continuation of these activities in some form or another.

Famous ENTJs

Famous likely ENTJs include Douglas MacArthur (whose Extraversion kept him clamoring for the limelight, who viewed himself as a strategist of a high military system with no patience for detail, and whose objectivity always kept a sharp distinction between his mission and the people involved); Eleanor Roosevelt (whose social gregariousness kept her in headlines, whose intuition made her a futurist always looking at the big picture, and who loved managing complex systems); and Frank Lloyd Wright (who implemented his iNtuitive-Thinking architectural visions with buildings and systems, whose Judging nature produced guidelines for other architects to follow, and whose Extraversions brought those systems to the public's view).
More info: PUM Personality type index

Morris Cox/