Are you trying to find out your personality type but you feel torn between INTJ and ENTJ? While some people think the differences between these two types should be obvious, it can actually be hard to tell the differences. Today we’re going to simplify the whole process to make it easy for you to discern which type is truly your best-fit type. Let’s get started!
INTJ vs ENTJ: What’s the Difference?
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Difference #1 – Are You a Doer or a Thinker?
INTJs and ENTJs can both be seen as doers and thinkers. However, their focus areas differ significantly. INTJs tend to tilt more towards the ‘thinker’ side of the spectrum. They are contemplative souls who constantly strategize and plan in their minds. Take for example an architect carefully envisioning and strategizing the intricate design of a building in his mind’s eye before even picking up a pencil. This careful thought process forms the bedrock of an INTJ’s approach to life.
ENTJs, on the other hand, lean more towards being ‘doers’. They value decisiveness and action, and are often seen propelling forward, constantly in motion. Imagine a seasoned entrepreneur who rapidly makes decisions, adjusts plans, and pushes forward to bring their vision to reality. This unrelenting momentum characterizes the ENTJ’s approach.
Now, it’s time for some introspection. Which approach resonates more with you? Are you the contemplative architect carefully crafting plans in your mind’s eye (INTJ) or are you the driven entrepreneur pushing boundaries and making quick, decisive leaps (ENTJ)?
Difference #2 – Are You More Task Focused or Contemplation Focused?
INTJs are intuitives first and foremost; thinking, contemplating, reflecting, imagining. They thirst for knowledge and understanding and often prefer a life of in-depth contemplation before taking any action. Their inner world is a vibrant landscape of theories and possibilities where they continuously explore and devise strategies. They are not ones to rush into decisions or actions; instead, they meticulously analyze all aspects, envisioning each step towards their end goal.
In contrast, ENTJs exhibit an interesting mixture of thought and action but are generally more task-focused. They are strategic thinkers to a point, but have an inherent restlessness that pushes them towards execution. Once they have thought through a situation to a degree of “good enough”, they swiftly transition into action mode, driven by a desire to accomplish their goals and check things off their lists. For them, thinking serves as a means to an end – the end being the accomplishment of the task at hand. They are akin to a field commander, assessing the battlefield quickly and then moving forward with decisive action.
In essence, while INTJs may dwell in a world of thoughts and theories longer, ENTJs tend to pivot from thought to action more rapidly, eager to implement their plans and reach their objectives.
Difference #3 – How Impulsive Are You?
A significant contrast between ENTJs and INTJs lies in their speed of decision making. ENTJs possess a remarkable penchant for swift and decisive action, often driven by a restless urge to move forward. They are quick deciders who detest dilly-dallying or vacillating over decisions. They lean into their intuition and self-confidence, sometimes making impulsive decisions that they may later regret. Imagine a decisive leader on a battlefield, making split-second decisions to keep the momentum going, even at the risk of occasional missteps. That’s the ENTJ for you, constantly pushing the boundaries and taking decisive leaps forward.
Contrarily, INTJs exhibit a more cautious and introspective decision-making style. They tend to spend a considerable amount of time contemplating and analyzing before they act. They delve deep into their thoughts, considering every facet of a situation before concluding. The risk here, however, is that they may delay decisions too long, leading to missed opportunities or slow progress. Picture a philosopher lost in thought, constantly dissecting and evaluating theories, and you have an INTJ in their element.
Both ENTJs and INTJs, being Judging types, appreciate resolution and do not enjoy leaving things undecided for too long. However, their comfort levels with waiting on decisions differ substantially. When discerning between ENTJ and INTJ, it is critical to ask yourself: Are you more comfortable with making prompt decisions and living with the consequences (ENTJ), or do you prefer to take your time, dissect every scenario, and risk delaying the decision (INTJ)? Your answer to this question could be a significant indicator of your true MBTI type.
Difference #4 – How Comfortable Are You with Multi-tasking?
Multi-tasking is another area where ENTJs and INTJs diverge significantly. ENTJs are extroverted, allowing them to handle multiple external demands simultaneously with relative ease. They have an innate ability to seamlessly transition from one project to another, juggling various tasks without feeling overwhelmed. This is largely due to their ability to process a high volume of sensory input at a time. However, it’s important to note that this may not be the case for ENTJs who are Highly Sensitive People (HSPs), as they might find excessive sensory stimuli distressing.
On the contrary, INTJs, being introverts, naturally lean towards focusing on one project at a time, delving deeply into each task, and thoroughly exploring and dissecting it. Their focus primarily remains on the inner world of thoughts, and they tend to get frustrated with interruptions or the need to balance multiple tasks simultaneously. Having to manage multiple external responsibilities can drain them quickly, as it goes against their natural inclination for detailed and concentrated work on individual tasks.
Therefore, in assessing whether you’re more of an ENTJ or an INTJ, it’s crucial to consider your comfort level with multi-tasking. Are you someone who thrives in a dynamic environment, juggling multiple projects at a time (like an ENTJ), or do you prefer to focus deeply on a single task, with the freedom to explore and analyze it without interruption. Of course, I don’t think anyone LOVES interruptions, but think about how comfortable you are with multi-tasking and dealing with multiple external variables and that can give you a clue about your best-fit type.
Difference #5 – How In Tune Are You With Your Inner Feelings and Values?
The way the two types handle their emotions and feelings presents another key distinction between them. INTJs are more in tune with their inner feelings, values, motivations, and emotions. Despite their external demeanor which often appears stoic and reserved, they possess a sensitive inner core and often hold firmly to their values. It’s nearly impossible to get them to stray from what they believe is right or wrong. On top of this, they tend to know what their motivations are and what they want in a given situation. Yet, they may not frequently share these inner thoughts and feelings, hence the common misconception of their emotional detachment.
On the other hand, ENTJs, with their inferior Introverted Feeling function, often prioritize tasks and objectives over exploring their emotions or motivations. They are primarily concerned with the logical and efficient execution of their plans, sometimes at the cost of neglecting their emotional well-being. This doesn’t mean they don’t experience emotions; rather, they may not always be consciously aware of them or give them due consideration. However, this can catch up to them; they might suddenly find themselves overwhelmed by a flood of feelings they’ve failed to address over time.
In comparing ENTJ and INTJ, it is important to reflect: Do you consistently evaluate and consider your feelings and values, even if it’s mostly internally (like an INTJ)? Or do you often find yourself jumping from task to task, focusing more on logic and efficiency, only to occasionally be taken aback by a rush of neglected feelings (like an ENTJ)? Your answers could provide valuable insights into your leanings towards one of these MBTI types.
Difference #6 – How Speedily Do You Respond to Questions or Externalize Your Thoughts?
The way ENTJs and INTJs process and respond to questions or externalize their thoughts forms another key distinction between the two types. ENTJs often have an easier time responding to questions and externalizing their thoughts. They prefer to think out loud and can quickly switch into action mode. Some ENTJs may find diagramming, writing, or talking as effective means of expressing their thoughts. Despite being quiet on the outside, often leading to misconceptions about their extroverted nature, ENTJs are usually quick to verbalize or externalize their thoughts, whether it’s through taking direct action, creating diagrams, or formulating flowcharts.
In contrast, INTJs usually need more time to think before they respond. They tend to dwell in their inner world, contemplating and processing information at their own pace. INTJs usually externalize their thoughts only after they have thoroughly considered all aspects of the question or scenario. To them, the quality of the response carries greater weight than the speed of response.
So, in differentiating between ENTJ and INTJ, ask yourself: Do you promptly respond to questions and externalize your thoughts through various means (like an ENTJ)? Or do you dwell longer in your thoughts, preferring to thoroughly contemplate before responding or externalizing your thoughts (like an INTJ)?
Difference #7 – Abstract Concepts vs. Action-Oriented Structure
The degree to which ENTJs and INTJs engage with abstract concepts and the importance they place on action-oriented structure forms a vital factor in distinguishing between these two types. INTJs are intuitive dominants, which means that abstract and theoretical explorations aren’t just preference – they are their oxygen. They find fulfillment in probing theories, concepts, and hidden meanings, and in asking profound existential questions such as “Why are we here?” or “What else is going on here?” These pursuits provide fodder for their contemplative nature, and they are often more than happy to plunge into the depths of these explorations, even if it means extended moments of silence and introspection.
ENTJs, on the other hand, are Extraverted Thinking dominant types. Their lifeblood is in structuring and organizing the outer world to best achieve their goals. They thrive in environments where they can weigh the pros and cons, make decisive actions, and execute strategies to attain their long-term objectives. While they do appreciate abstract, conceptual explorations, they are more focused on the big picture and the concrete steps needed to get there. They have a knack for quickly determining whether something is logical or illogical and can spot inconsistencies rapidly.
Therefore, when trying to determine if you lean more towards being an ENTJ or an INTJ, consider your relationship with abstract concepts and action-oriented structure. Are you more like an INTJ, who gets drawn into the intricate web of theories and concepts, taking time to ponder and explore them deeply? Or do you resemble an ENTJ, who, while still appreciating abstract thought, is primarily driven by creating structured plans and taking prompt action to achieve your goals?
What Do You Think?
We invite you to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Was this article helpful in distinguishing between INTJ and ENTJ? What type did you identify with more after reading the differences outlined? Do you have any other insights or advice to share about these MBTI® types or about your journey in understanding yourself better? Let us know in the comments!
Discover more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist, and The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
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