ENTP Leadership – The Strengths and Struggles
Let’s try to define an enigma, shall we?
Grab a little sippy-sip of your sip stuff, as Emperor Kuzco would say, and settle in.
ENTPs are quite innovative and as a result often acquire backing from others who admire their ideas. These types can easily inhabit leadership positions, although, they may not like being apart of a traditional structure. A mid-level manager position in a company might, for example, be unappealing to the ENTP because managers have procedures, rules, and constraints that might suffocate their need to create and push against the typical. They are of course capable of carrying out the duties of these positions, but these roles often aren’t ideal for their mental wiring.
Ever played Operation?
Protocol for the ENTP feels like hitting those stupid metal sides over and over again that make the game board buzz.
An ENTP leader in their element would more likely be located in a field or position with less constraints. ENTPs might start their own business developing flamethrowers or they might possibly run an independent newspaper where they can express their opinions without institutional worries over how something is stated. In whatever realm the ENTP leader finds themselves in, they wish to limit the amount of control others have over them. Their use of Extroverted Intuition and Introverted Thinking naturally innovates new ways to face old problems. For this reason, ENTPs need open bounds and few blocks over their will to express and create, if any.
AKA absolutely none.
Few leaders have the minds to take projects to the places ENTPs are willing to go. They’re often the figures who get the most golf claps for their profound awards and recognition—when they can settle in and complete a project before moving onto the next thing, that is.
Although it’s pretty clear that ENTP leaders are something special to the people around them, they might not consciously recognize this. They might even worry that their mind isn’t fully desired by the people around them. Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi note in The 16 Personality Types: Descriptions for Self-Discovery that “[ENTPs] may feel underappreciated for their brilliance” (32).
You better feel dang appreciated after this, ENTPs.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
They Lead with Their Curiosity & Innovation
Much like ENFP leaders, ENTPs can’t help but follow their newest idea. The freshest trail on the horizon. The warmest gaze into oblivion.
Lovely image there.
However, the invigoration that comes from a new insight is often short-lived. Soon, their mind that was so smitten with this one concept yesterday is off wandering onto other projects today. Linda V. Berens and Dario Nardi note in The 16 Personality Types: Descriptions for Self-Discovery that for ENTPs, “new ideas and really creative, unusual, and efficient solutions often flood their awareness” (32). Thus, their natural mindset is being immersed in an ocean of possibilities.
One day an ENTP leader at a comic book shop might look at their sales margin and realize the shop is losing money. A million ideas on how to rectify this will come in their head and they will choose the best one they see in their plethora of possible options. The ENTP will ask their employees to arrange a meet and greet with a renowned comic artist. A simple get together between the artist and the local community. It’ll bring in some extra money to the comic shop as individuals might be more enticed to come over if they know the artist is there. Having a table and some refreshments for the signing will be where the idea starts.
Yet soon, the simple book signing has become a literal firework show planned for just outside the comic book store, complete with beats blasting and the fire department on-call (the IxxJ on staff was the culprit for this disaster preparation tactic). Clearly, the longer the ENTP pursues an idea, the more nuanced it gets. So the ENTP’s employees will get started gathering refreshments, tables, and fireworks. Their leader is excited, so they are excited.
Then the ENTP will pop in the next day and pull their employees off of that big project and set them to work on a bigger, better project: hosting a mini comic-con event with an entrance fee where buyers can dress up as their favorite characters. That will surely bring more money. Who doesn’t want to dress up as Harley Queen?
Sighs may fill the room. What about all the preparation that’s already been done? If the ENTP leader isn’t careful, they might have some overworked people on their hands.
Heidi Priebe jokingly notes in How You’ll Do Everything Based on Your Personality Type that ENTP employees are “the employee who comes up with a (self-proclaimed) brilliant new way of doing things every two to three days, which he or she then tries to force the rest of the reluctant office to get on board with” (112). Level up that ENTP from employee to leader and you get the picture.
They Encourage Open Discussion
An ENTP’s constant will towards innovation might rub some of their workers the wrong way while also encouraging some of their workers more than they ever have been. ENTP leaders are constantly breaking the mold and near-constantly coming up with better ways to approach problems. They don’t cling onto implemented ways of doing. Dr. A.J. Drenth even notes in The 16 Personality Types: Profiles, Theory, & Type Development that “…their knack for deviating from conventional dogmas and traditions may precipitate problems” (151). Doing something that’s “the first in its kind” is a high ideal for an ENTP. To do this, they must push against the known. Even if it’s uncomfortable for the people around them. However, ENTPs are some of the most open leaders themselves.
They can take the heat.
They don’t need to stay out of the kitchen.
Please, make me breakfast!
ENTP leaders are incredibly open to information and feedback generally. They are rarely permanently fixed on an idea and welcome rebuttal. They are likely one of the most willing leaders to be questioned by employees. That’s not to say that ENTPs don’t want the respect of those around them, but they value getting down to the best argument or idea possible.
More people like this, please.
ENTP leaders want multiple ideas to be thrown around, especially if they combat the points of the other side. They care about inventing solutions that work and if the logic of their options isn’t challenged, they aren’t going to ultimately create the best workable solution. Being contested is needed for a true gem of a solution to emerge.
FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
…peaceably, of course.
Although ENTPs are so open to this sort of feedback, they will, of course, perform their own assessment of it. Dr. A.J. Drenth notes in The 16 Personality Types: Profiles, Theory, & Type Development that “…just because [ENTPs] are permeable to new information does not mean they are quick to accept it as true” (149). Thus, ENTPs will encourage the stimulation of interesting counterpoints that apply to the task at hand, but they will perform their own Ti assessment as the debate moves forward. ENTP leaders are great at helping their employees develop their ideas.
They Keep Things Fair
ENTPs may not be Feeling types but they are aware of logical principals and what it means to keep individuals balanced or on the same plane of thought. ENTP leaders might be aware of hierarchies, but they don’t matter as much as ideas. They could care less whether the secretary or the person of the most workplace importance came up with an idea. A good idea is a good idea, regardless of who said it.
Somebody knows where it’s at.
Let’s say an ENTP leader tells the employees at their daycare center (Yassssssss. ENTPs can work with children. Don’t start with me.) that they want to find a way to help the early childhood teachers and the parents of their students create better methods of communication. The ENTP leader is open to suggestions. Some teachers throw out individual meetings, having a family day event, and more. But when a five-year-old child hears the conversation and pipes up, stating “Everyone loves food, what about a pot luck? We had one at my school!” The ENTP might just melt. The kid is right. Status doesn’t matter when it comes to the caliber of ideas. Everyone’s voice is welcome.
Did you aww?
I hope so.
ENTP leaders want their workers to feel heard when it comes to organizational betterment. They want others to be engaged in the work they find worthy of their time, just as they themselves so naturally seek to be. (Although, this may or may not translate to “passion” as an ENFP would put it.) What’s important to an ENTP is that those around her or him are doing work that matters. Doing work that is progressive or enlightening in some way. That starts with being open to people’s thoughts generally.
They May Become Easily Bored or Skeptical
ENTP leaders have a lot going for them. They are creative, diplomatic, fair, and like to have fun. Even though they might not be as aware of emotional needs, they will treat everyone the same way as a baseline. But of course, no leader is perfect.
ENTPs generally try to avoid boredom at all costs. Anything repetitive falls into this category of “DANGER ALERT DANGER ALERT.” It’s like a plague of the soul. ENTPs have quick-paced minds and expect others to keep up with them. They believe wholeheartedly in their right to freedom and autonomy. Are near always experimenting. They have a knack for figuring out if an idea is going to work or not. When ENTPs are cut off from this free range of mental stimulation, they grow skeptical, bored, and even annoyed.
Imagine a professor without research funding, sitting around at home tossing a tennis ball at the wall. They wish they could travel to Transylvania and find Count Chocula, but there’s no money to buy the plane ticket in order to do so.
They feel stuck and irate.
Just like gum on a basketball court.
The great thing about Ne is that it is easily distracted by new ideas, which alleviates the ENTP’s boredom a bit. However, to be an effective leader, one must follow through on their tasks. If a leader loses sight of their vision and grows bored with the very plots they were just excited about a few days prior, people may not build up the trust they need to in following them. Skepticism in a leader creates skepticism in their followers. To help with this issue, ENTPs may need to force themselves to work on projects that aren’t as stimulating as they once were.
Y’all can do it.
What are Your Thoughts?
Do you have any insights or perspectives 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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About the Author:
Jami Cannon is an MBTI® enthusiast who hopes to shed more light on the SJ experience. She holds a very stereotypical degree in History (MA) and loves to learn all she can about the people around her.