ENTJ | MBTI | Myers Briggs

Understanding ENTJ Thinking

“There is no doubt that if you aim high enough, you will meet resistance. But no matter how tough the opposition may seem: Have courage and persevere.”
– Madeleine Albright, an ENTJ

ENTJs are known for their powerful insights, their determination, and their confidence. These natural-born leaders embody the swift-decisiveness and big-picture vision that many thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, and politicians are famous for.  They are recognized by their powerful presence, their ability to intuitively foresee which plans will work or won’t, and their intellectual curiosity. Throughout history, ENTJs have been the ones who fiercely stand for their vision, the ones who stay objective and focused no matter what, the ones who are single-minded and driven to achieve their goals. Bill Gates, Garry Kasparov, Carl Sagan, and Bernie Sanders were/are all ENTJs.

“We can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good.”
– Carl Sagan, an ENTJ

If you know an ENTJ, what you’ll see is their skill in decision-making, their determination, and their intellectual curiosity. Their dominant function, Extraverted Thinking, is focused on precision, logic, and making sure that systems or operations are run in efficient, effective ways. ENTJs are excellent at looking at a plan, knowing if it will work or not, and putting together a system for bringing that plan to fruition. They strive to be strategic, honest, and fair in all their dealings.

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Understanding Extraverted Thinking

Extraverted Thinking (Te) is the dominant function of the ENTJ and the ESTJ. Te-dominant personality types are excellent at organizing, directing, and improving systems. They can easily look at an operation and see its flaws and how it can be optimized. They are masters of efficiency and reasoning; they have no patience for “sugarcoating” anything but prefer to get right to the heart of an issue. Te-users thrive on making decisions, planning for the future, and organizing to get a job done. They are skilled executives; naturally confident at running operations and taking the lead.

ENTJs balance out their Extraverted Thinking (Te) with Introverted Intuition (Ni). Ni works alongside Te to give the ENTJ their hallmark visionary focus. ENTJs are true intellectuals who are driven to understand the possibilities beyond the obvious or “known”. They are curious and theoretical, with a love of new ideas and complex problems. Ni also gives ENTJs a focus on the future and the big picture. They like to see an end-goal and work out a precise plan to reach that goal. The ENTJ moves with exactness and purpose, like an arrow shot with precision to its target.

“Ambition is never in a greater hurry than I. It merely keeps pace with my way of thinking.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte, an ENTJ

Characteristics of ENTJs:

– They are visionary and future-focused

– They are analytical and impersonal

– They are excellent at organizing

– They are decisive and logical

– They are objective in their decisions

– They are strict with themselves and others

– They value truth and honesty

– They are focused and determined

– They enjoy theoretical and long-range possibilities

– They focus on the big picture

– They have strong leadership skills

The Neuroscience of Extraverted Thinking

UCLA professor and expert in neuroscience, Dario Nardi, says in his book The Neuroscience of Personality that Te-dominant individuals “show efficient use of mental energy as they rely on evidence-based decision-making….The Te types focus on goals and are stimulated by task completion and error correction.” Nardi also says that Te-dominant personalities are “less excited about the minutia of implementing goals and prefer to direct others to do so.” This is why Te-dominant personalities are tailor-made for the executive and political realm. They can easily spot inaccuracies, flaws, and roadblocks to achieving goals and ensure those flaws and issues are corrected.

Nardi also noticed that Te-dominant types used their brain in an energy-efficient way, focusing on measurable elements and only the necessary information needed to make a decision. ENTJs as a result, thrive on making decisions, and on directing and supervising. They enter a mentally stimulated “zone” state when they can continually make decisions, complete projects, and organize to complete a goal. They are hard-workers, determined, and focused in their approach.

I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near.”
– Margaret Thatcher, ENTJ

ENTJs as Reformers

ENTJs may seem on the outside to be somewhat cold, focused, and impersonal. However, inside, ENTJs tend to be extremely angered by injustice or unfairness in the world. Part of this has to do with their inferior Introverted Feeling (Fi) function. Fi pairs with their dominant Te to give them a strong desire to address injustices and take action to improve the plights of those they feel are persecuted.

ENTJs may surprise their loved ones by suddenly becoming fiery and focused in the defense of the vulnerable or oppressed.  As they mature they become more in touch with their Fi they may become especially focused on humanitarian or value-focused work. For example, my ENTJ father supports numerous orphanages in third-world countries. Bill Gates formed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and has donated over $28 billion to charities. Many ENTJs use their corporate or political success to shine a light on humanitarian causes.  When someone steps on one of their values the ENTJ can become uncharacteristically angered and combative. In fact, many ENTJs use their Fi-values to pass new laws or form new organizations intended to further their cause or fight injustice.

“Effective philanthropy requires a lot of time and creativity – the same kind of focus and skills that building a business requires.”
– Bill Gates, an ENTJ

“A nation will not survive morally or economically when so few have so much and so many have so little.”
– Bernie Sanders, a rumored ENTJ

Fun Facts About ENTJs:

These facts are taken from the MBTI® Manual – Third Edition

– ENTJs are overrepresented among behavioral psychologists.

– ENTJs are ranked first of all 16 types in using physical coping resources.

– ENTJs are one of the four types in college reporting the highest levels of assertiveness.

– ENTJs are among the top four types in college GPA.

– ENTJs prefer the academic subjects of English and science.

Have Any Questions?

Feel free to ask me in the comments or connect with me on my Facebook page!

Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type or The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!


Want to know more about ENTJs? Check out these amazing books!
Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type
MBTI Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, 3rd Edition
Neuroscience of Personality: Brain Savvy Insights for All Types of People
Creative You: Using Your Personality Type to Thrive

Understand the Unique Thinking Process of the #ENTJ

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Susan Storm is a certified MBTI® practitioner and lover of all things psychology-related. She is the mom of five beautiful children and loves using her knowledge of personality type to understand them and others better! Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest to learn more about type!

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