A Look at the ENFP Leader
Jim Carrey in charge of an Army.
We’re going there today, friends.
ENFPs can’t help but find themselves in leadership positions. They’re enthusiastic, people-oriented, and always come up with something new to innovate. The versatile nature of ENFPs can be a very appealing quality in a leader. They’re constantly looking for new ideas, connections, and possibilities and thus can’t help but consider their workers’ opinions and views when new avenues pop up. Dr. A.J. Drenth notes in The 16 Personality Types: Profiles, Theory, & Type Development that “…Ne entails a sense of blind anticipation and expectation, of not knowing who or what will manifest next in their life journey”. Whether it be through a new concept or viewpoint, the ENFP will take in new data hoping to find that grain of truth they are so readily searching for. Thus, even in their leadership roles, they are seekers.
Harry Potter is SHOOK.
As they seek new outlets, ENFPs will multiply possibilities rather naturally. Nothing is off-limits to their potential, especially when it comes to their career potential. Fields I see in association with the type via articles include journalism, counseling, writing, artistry, and teaching. Yet given their ability to brainstorm, any potential list of career fields someone writes will look meager to them.
What did our King Jim Carrey teach us?
Even pet detective looks great on a resume.
ENFPs don’t mind sharing their leadership role with others either! They can easily delegate and, much like ESTJs, they can determine the underlying abilities in others that could be put to use. Knowing where a person will shine in their potential is substantially important to them. ENFPs win the hearts of others with their gift of gab and motivate others into positions that fit them.
If even the Grinch could figure out that Max made the perfect reindeer, you can bet an ENFP will set others into place more successfully.
No shade, Grinch.
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They Communicate Avidly & Motivate Their Workers
ENFP leaders distill their message excitedly. There is usually some underlying goal set forth in their endeavors. Some reason behind the motivation that sparked their ideation as well as their need to communicate it.
An ENFP leader may, for example, ultimately want to instate world peace through their business or company. (Yeah, yeah, it’s a grand vision that might not be possible with all of the varying needs of the world considered, but that’s the sort of challenge ENFPs like.) ENFPs will utilize their Introverted Feeling to convey the importance of their work to those in their charge. The why behind the concept of world peace is what gets them going. That meaning will push them forward. ENFPs will know just the right thing to say that will play on people’s heartstrings and garner their support.
“If we have world peace, that means more vacations for everyone. Don’t we all wish we could spend more time sipping pineapple-flavored drinks on the beach? This is an important right. For everyone. Pineapples have been so lonely lately too.”
People will nod and agree with the ENFP’s argument. They’re just too incredibly articulate for their own good.
Like a boss.
This is a leadership article.
However, to onlookers without Extroverted Intuition, ENFPs may look scatterbrained. An ENFP might “hop around” in their speech, talking about the laundromat, Buddha, and getting their car washed within the same sentence. Yet they ultimately arrive at a conclusion that pulls their various threads together. Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi note in The 16 Personality Types: Descriptions for Self-Discovery that an ENFPs “thought processes seem random; however, they are connective and relational”. Ne naturally uses data points from past experience (giving a shout-out to Introverted Sensing here) in order to articulate a larger vision. ENFP leaders may have little patience for people who can’t keep up with their free-flowing Ne. Everything that is noted by them is relevant. Thus, the sporadic data points aren’t superfluous, they matter as a part of their reasoning.
They Avoid Stagnation & Propel Ideas
ENFPs, above all else, fear boredom and feeling stuck. As leaders, this can translate to creating more and more projects for their task force. Ne dominants are easily inspired, but don’t always stick around with an idea long enough to get the ball rolling and actualized. ENFP leaders are at their most effective when others take over the detail-driven tasks that make up their vision. These leaders need dedicated individuals willing to see their ideas through.
Want to be recruited?
All you need is some good follow-through and you’ll be a gem in their jewelry box.
ENFP leaders need people under them with many different strengths who can be divided into different projects. I like to think of ENFPs as collectors of people. It’s likely due to their ability to see individual potential. They are specifically aware of certain people and choose to keep them around.
Let’s use our imagination (yay!) and consider an ENFP leader in charge of a bookstore. The ENFP addresses their staff one Monday morning and says they want to have the entire bookstore arranged by color. Say goodbye to the Mystery, Romance, and True Crime (Serial Killer Anonymous) sections and say hello to pretty colors. The ENFP might get down and dirty for a good two hours pulling books off of shelves with their staff before getting bored at the monotony of the task. It won’t take long for another better idea to pop into their head. The ENFP might become suddenly overwhelmed at the task at hand and start questioning the validity of their vision. However, a good staff will see the leader’s thought through. They’ll complete the “tedious” tasks the ENFP doesn’t gravitate towards and might even enjoy the process of organizing too (hello, ISxJs). By the end of the day, the bookstore will become the very rainbow the ENFP had envisioned.
Hopefully the customers won’t mind book hunting in the color maze.
I doubt that’ll go well.
But this is why ENFPs are innovative: challenging convention can happen as early as breakfast.
They Take Care of Their People & Easily Empathize
ENFPs, much like ESFJs, garner support quite readily. They’re likable and can read others quickly. ENFPs are hands-on leaders when it comes to the emotive sphere of their workers. One can feel as though an ENFP has known them their whole life after only a short period of time in their presence. ENFPs know the right questions to ask and employ a large range of skills on their part. Motivating, influencing, multi-tasking, you name it.
Especially multi-tasking though.
OmGAWD I wish.
ENFP leaders are great communicators who want as much information from others as possible. They respect empathy and individuality and constantly seek more of it in others. ENFPs are special in that they want to influence the course of someone’s life. A quality that is typically associated with leadership, teaching, and instruction. They can see potential so clearly that they can’t help put poke and prod around someone’s mind and heart until their desires come to light. ENFPs want nothing more than to help someone connect the dots of their life path.
Imagine the lone jester who points you towards an abandoned castle. You walk forward, a little creeped out, but a bit thrilled too. What is this new, strange place? Once inside, you meet yourself in the foyer. They are an identical replica of you physically, but one who is more evolved than you in other ways. Maybe they’re emotionally stronger or more artistically vulnerable. They are your potential personified, something you’ve kept locked up in a cobwebbed den simply festering. When you come to realize the meaning the jester has led you to—that maybe you were the one holding yourself back all along—your perspective shifts drastically.
The great depth of personhood is not lost on the ENFP. In their leadership roles, they hope to guide everyone to their lost selves. A job is not merely a job complete with cogs (people) in a machine (the workplace). Jobs are filled with people who are to be cultivated and nourished. ENFPs put great care into the emotional labor they find themselves lifting for others and don’t take these tasks lightly.
They May Not Consider Their Limitations
ENFPs are rather spontaneous, which filters over into their leadership role. Leaders of this type are near-constantly shifting gears because they simply generate too many possibilities to ignore their own mind’s pestering. “Maybe we can do this, or this, or this, or this!” These ENFP leaders are not trying to avoid reality by thinking more instead of doing more, as some of their workers might claim. ENFPs are instead trying to find the best ways to manage reality. Although their bouncing from idea to idea can look rather untethered and innocent, they are usually strategizing all the while.
Over-strategizing can sometimes be a problem for the ENFP leader. They may try to do too many things and never stick with one clear direction. ENFP leaders may, for example, tell the hotel staff to bleach the sheets, burn the sheets, or turn the sheets inside out on any given day. Which way is the most effective? Which process will bring the most gains? ENFPs do not work within the realm of expectation and cannot be counted on to constantly be or argue a certain way.
It’s what makes them fun.
Yet, ENFPs will never get anywhere if they are set on going everywhere. It’s the truth, Scoot. ENFPs can’t help themselves from multiplying their possibilities. Their brains are wired for it. As Dr. A.J. Drenth notes in The 16 Personality Types: Profiles, Theory, & Type Development “Ne knows no limits, seeing options and opportunities as endless”. ENFPs may need help reining in that endless factor. While residing in a leadership position, an ENFP’s disregard of limitation will certainly help them innovate, but it may also keep their workers running around as quickly as their Ne-fueled minds do.
Anyone up for some pinball?
To keep their staff away from stress-induced flame-throwing, ENFP leaders might consider setting their own boundaries on how far they and their staff must take their current idea before moving onto the next one.
Be a jukebox hero, ENFPs. Put your coins into the machine one at a time. If you drop your whole piggy bank in at once, you might miss out on some turns.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Do you have any experience or insights to add? Let us know in the comments! Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer, or The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic. You can also connect with Jami via Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter!
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