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ENTJ Personality Traits, Cognitive Functions, and Characteristics

The ENTJ personality type (also called The General) is one of the 16 different Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality types. They’re described as ambitious natural-born leaders who always strive for accomplishment. They’re confident, charismatic, and positive, with sharp minds and the determination for success. All these characteristics are due to ENTJs’ unique combination of personality preferences, as well as their cognitive functions.

If you recognize some of these qualities in yourself, you’re probably an ENTJ. But if you’re still not sure what your personality type is, you can take our free personality test to find out.

This being said, you’re probably wondering what exactly makes The General who they are? What inspires them to be so confident and energetic?

In this article, we’ll explore the ENTJ personality traits and characteristics and we’ll dive deeper into this pragmatic type’s preferences and cognitive functions. We will also discuss some of their strengths and weaknesses, and we’ll uncover the differences between male and female representatives.

What is ENTJ

ENTJs belong to the NT temperament, meaning that they’re logical, analytical, and goal-oriented people. They’re also extroverted and are energized by human interaction. NT temperament types are intelligent, independent, and self-sufficient. They’re motivated by achievement which makes them great researchers and inventors. In fact, ENTJs are the embodiment of the NT temperament.

Furthermore, NT temperament types are the most insensitive of all MBTI temperaments. They communicate in a direct and straightforward way, which is sometimes perceived as arrogant. However, this is not always the case. The fact that they’re argumentative and like to debate doesn’t mean they’re trying to hurt or discourage others. They dislike small talk and instead can be entangled in deep conversations for hours.

ENTJs are also seen as dominant and aggressive. They possess strong leadership qualities and they have an unstoppable desire to be in charge. This could be a benefit, especially when it comes to work. But sometimes they can get impatient and bossy, which creates tension. But what makes ENTJs behave the way they do? Why is it so hard for them to consider other people’s feelings, and how come they’re so objective in their thinking?

These questions and more are best explained by the unique set of preferences and cognitive functions this type has. Let’s take a look!

ENTJ Preferences

Personality preferences are a way of categorizing and classifying people’s natural tendencies and characteristics. There are four pairs of opposing preferences that together make up the whole type. The combination of these preferences is what makes every MBTI type unique. Here’s a list with the four pairs of opposing preferences and their meaning:

  • Extroversion vs Introversion — This describes how people derive their energy — either outward or inward.
  • Sensing vs Intuition — This describes how people receive and process new information — either pragmatically or imaginatively.
  • Thinking vs Feeling — This describes how people make decisions — either by logic and rationality or by subjective feelings.
  • Judging vs Perceiving — This describes people’s approach to the outside world — either in a structured or more flexible manner.

ENTJs have Extroverted (E), Intuitive (N), Thinking (T), and Judging (J) preferences. Let’s take a closer look at what each of these mean and in what way they shape this personality type’s character.

Extroversion

Extroverted personality types get their energy from interacting with other people and engaging in activities in their external world. If they’re forced to spend too much time on their own they can easily get bored. They prefer to have a large group of friends and acquaintances. Extroverts are outgoing, talkative, and thrive in dynamic environments. ENTJs are classic extroverts – they love having passionate conversations and debates, and they’re usually the life of the party. They’re also expressive and assertive and flourish when they’re given the chance to express their opinion.

Here is a list of the most typical Extroversion traits:

  • Friendly
  • Approachable
  • Talkative
  • Warm
  • Cheerful
  • Easily distracted
  • Expressive
  • Enthusiastic
  • Outgoing

Intuition

Intuitive people are abstract, future-oriented thinkers. They’re always thinking about the world of possibilities and process information through patterns and impressions rather than experiences. In this sense, ENTJs have the ability to look at things beneath the surface of a situation objectively, extracting deeper meaning from it. ENTJs tend to be intellectually restless – they want to change the world. And this is entirely due to their Intuition preference. ENTJs are also imaginative and creative, bringing fresh new ideas to the table. They’re motivated by innovation and development and are always on the go, looking for ways to improve their surroundings. Intuitive thinkers are forward-thinking and are not afraid of change. They know how to trust their gut and they’re mostly self-assured, however, in some cases they jump to conclusions too quickly.

Here is a list of the most typical Intuition traits:

  • Future-focused
  • Abstract
  • Insightful
  • Inventive
  • Imaginative
  • Deep thinkers
  • Idealistic
  • Theoretical

Thinking

The Thinking function refers to how people make decisions and, in this case, they do so in a logical way, trusting their minds rather than their hearts. ENTJs are classical Thinkers since they make decisions based on facts and judge situations in a rational way. They are entirely ruled by their heads and find it hard to connect with people who are too sensitive. ENTJs value truth over tact, and for this reason, they handle criticism well. They rarely take things personally since they know how to look at a situation objectively.

Here is a list of the most typical Thinking traits:

  • Logical
  • Objective
  • Decisive
  • Truth-seeking
  • Rational
  • Impersonal
  • Critical
  • Thick-skinned
  • Firm and direct

Judging

The Judging preference refers to how people interact with the outside world. Judging types, ENTJ’s included, are organized and structured, valuing order and rules. They take work and deadlines seriously and feel satisfied after finishing a project or reaching a decision. According to ENTJs, happiness lies in the joy of achievement. Some ENTJs even have the tendency to overwork. Nevertheless, when it comes to work they’re decisive and are usually great leaders. Their ability to follow schedules, coupled with their sense of responsibility, makes them unstoppable in their field.

Here is a list of the most typical Judging traits:

  • Decisive
  • Controlled
  • Organized
  • Structured
  • Planning
  • Goal-oriented
  • Responsible
  • Likes closure

ENTJ Cognitive Functions

Each Myers-Briggs personality type operates through 4 hierarchical cognitive functions. They are expressed by a preference, combined with how the individual directs their energy – either inward (Introverted) or outward (Extroverted). The dominant and auxiliary functions usually play the biggest part playing in how the MBTI type behaves. The tertiary and inferior functions have their own influence but can only apply to certain situations or scenarios.

The ENTJ function stack looks like this:

  • Extroverted Thinking (Te)
  • Introverted Intuition (Ni)
  • Extroverted Sensing (Se)
  • Introverted Feeling (Fi)

Let’s dive deeper into ENTJ’s cognitive functions and figure out how they affect The General’s behavior and attitude toward life.

Dominant Function: Extroverted Thinking 

As the dominant function, ENTJs use their Extroverted Thinking (Te) the most. This means that they make decisions based on logic and make rational choices. Te also refers to the way they approach their goals. As highly ambitious individuals, ENTJs have clearly defined goals and objectives, and their Extroverted Thinking helps them determine what steps to take to accomplish these goals, and what order they should be done in. Unlike Introverted Thinking types who find it hard to take action, Extroverted Thinkers are good at implementing the steps to actually accomplish the task.

While they’re rational and objective, ENTJs are also quick to make snap judgments. Thanks to their Te, this can sometimes make them look insensitive and arrogant. And when it comes to dealing with others’ emotions, ENTJs are quick to back down and potentially even get scared. They’re good at finding practical solutions to people’s problems. However, not everybody needs advice or guidance. Sometimes we just want to be sympathized and encouraged. Nevertheless, if they ever find themselves in a similar situation, Extroverted Thinking types will quickly realize their mistake and try to make up for it.

Auxiliary Function: Introverted Intuition 

The Introverted Intuition function (or Ni) responds to what happens in the person’s subconscious. It’s not as apparent as the dominant function but still plays a major role in their behavior. For ENTJs, Ni refers to their internal thought process and how they analyze information. They know how to trust their gut when approaching a decision. This also contributes to the fact that they’re confident beings who trust their instincts. Their Introverted Intuition also makes them future-oriented and focused on the bigger picture.

Ni provides ENTJs with a sense of direction and allows them to see things on a larger scale. Although they’re intuitive individuals, ENTJs still count on data rather than feelings to draw conclusions. They can gather information about people and situations, which helps them gain a better understanding. This makes them skilled at working in a team and they express their leadership qualities through their Introverted Intuition.

Tertiary Function: Extroverted Sensing

The tertiary function isn’t as apparent as the dominant and auxiliary ones, however, it still shows itself in consciousness. For ENTJs their Extroverted Sensing (Se) refers to their playful side, feeding their appetite for adventure. Due to their Se, ENTJs enjoy thrilling activities and can sometimes engage in risky behaviors. Since their tertiary function is Extroverted and it’s focused on their outer world, ENTJs often aim for surrounding themselves with attractive and interesting things. In many cases, this includes physical activities that stimulate their mind and body.

Sometimes, if this function is found out of balance, ENTJs can engage in unhealthy or imbalanced behaviors. They can get too lost in the moment which would distract them and throw them off course. As we already mentioned, ENTJs trust their instincts but sometimes in their desire to do so, they might react too impulsively.

Inferior Function: Introverted Feeling

Introverted Feeling (Fi) focuses on internal feelings and values. Dominant-Fi personality types put great emphasis on their feelings and beliefs. ENTJs don’t respond the same way, as emotions can be a difficult area for them. ENTJs often lack an understanding of their own feelings and emotions and they’re not the best at communicating them. This might cause some issues in their personal lives, especially when it comes to romantic relationships. If you want to know more about how ENTJs act in their relationship and friendships, you can read more about it in our article on ENTJ relationships.

ENTJs’ dominant function is Extroverted Thinking, which helps them to make rapid decisions and respond to their need to be as efficient as possible. However, their Fi sometimes contradicts that. When the ENTJ takes time to process their choices and filter it through their Fi, they will realize that they should in fact slow down and think things through before they act. Fi is often expressed as a gut instinct, which allows them to consider different angles before moving forward.

ENTJ Strengths and Weaknesses

In a nutshell, ENTJs are described as assertive, confident, and outspoken. They enjoy spending time with other people and have strong verbal skills. Ambitious and creative leaders who know what they want and know exactly how they’ll get it. It’s no surprise that some of the world’s greatest leaders – such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Margaret Thatcher, and Franklin D. Roosevelt – are all ENTJs.

While their enthusiasm about life is admirable, they still have their flaws and weaknesses. Here’s a summary of the most prominent strengths and weaknesses of The General.

ENTJ Strengths

  • Self-assured and confident

The General knows their worth, trusts their capabilities, and believes in themselves. ENTJs will strike you with their confidence from the moment you meet. They enchant others with their charisma and intelligence. Many people look up to them in admiration.

  • Well organized and structured 

Unlike some types, who are good at generating ideas but not the best at implementing them, ENTJs know how to get what they want. They are capable of going through all the steps to achieve their goals. ENTJs think in a strategic and structured way and know that the road to success is a step-by-step process.

  • Outspoken

ENTJs have strong communication skills and are confident in their abilities to deliver logical arguments. ENTJs are great public speakers and flourish when they have to debate. That’s why many representatives of this personality type feel drawn to professions such as politics, business, and entrepreneurship.

  • Strong-willed

ENTJs have a strong will and thick skin. They rarely take things personally and respond well to criticism. They have the ability to look at situations objectively and, if they realize that they’re not right, they will peacefully accept it. ENTJs work well under pressure and are able to implement logic in a situation that requires a rapid reaction. If they put their mind to something, ENTJs won’t stop until they achieve it.

  • Charismatic and warm

ENTJs are extremely extroverted and use their energy to influence others. They like social gatherings and it’s hard to not notice them at a party. They’re friendly and approachable and they can always contribute to a conversation. They also use their magnetism to lead people, and this part of their character is expressed in their professional life as well as their personal.

ENTJ Weaknesses

  • Stubborn

ENTJs like to debate and usually have strong opinions. It’s also hard for them to let go of their beliefs. Some might even say that they like arguing just for the sake of it. ENTJs are also ambitious when it comes to professional development, but things don’t always work out the way they imagined. In this case, they will find it hard to let go and could dig in their heels.

  • Insensitive

ENTJs can be good friends, partners, and co-workers. They know how to provide people with practical solutions. But they can’t be there for their closest ones emotionally. ENTJs can be insensitive and often hurt people’s feelings in their wording. They need to learn that not everybody is as strong-willed as they are.

  • Arrogant 

At this point, you might have figured out that ENTJs like to debate and express themselves in a logical way. They have high expectations not only for themselves but also for others. And when people don’t meet their expectations, they tend to get arrogant and even aggressive. This makes it challenging for ENTJs to form relationships with people.

  • Intolerant

ENTJs like to dominate. They want to be the grand marshall of the parade. But they’re not always given the chance to express their leadership skills. And sometimes they get too bothered by that and become intolerant toward others. If they don’t agree with something, they won’t just let it slide. ENTJs could get too irritated by a situation and will create additional tension. Not everybody can keep up with their dynamic life and they should be more patient when that happens.

Difference in Male vs Female Personality Traits

ENTJ is the rarest type, as only 3% of the world’s population are ENTJs. This type is also exceptionally rare among women, accounting for only 1% of the population. However, when it comes to comparing female to male ENTJs, there’s not much difference. After all, they both share the same cognitive functions and preferences.

ENTJ Male

As we already mentioned, ENTJs aren’t the best at expressing their emotions, which could be a problem in their personal life. For ENTJ males it’s even harder to open up and trust others. But that doesn’t mean they’re heartless. They do have an affectionate side, they’re just selective with who they share it with.

Here are some points worth knowing about the ENTJ male:

  • Loyal to their partners and commitments
  • Know how to enjoy life and have fun
  • Direct and frank, but also just
  • Charismatic and approachable

ENTJ Female

Although ENTJ males and females aren’t that different from their male counterparts, women still meet challenges in terms of how they’re perceived in society. This type is ambitious and career-oriented, which leads ENTJ women to work in more male-dominated careers. Thanks to their strong will and thick skin, ENTJ women go through life with their heads high and spirits up.

Here are some points worth knowing about the ENTJ female:

  • Value loyalty in their relationships
  • Independent and self-sufficient, but often can’t trust other people
  • Intimidating and argumentative
  • More logical than emotional