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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.
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.
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 --
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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 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).