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Sixteen Months of Type — ENTJ

It’s 2016 and it struck us that the sixteenth year of the decade might be a time to look at the sixteen types captured in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®. We will focus on one type each month, starting with ENTJ, and as there are sixteen types, the process will take a year and four months to complete. We will use material in our booklet Introduction to Type® and Reintegration as the jumping off point for each piece and endeavor to connect this material to the self-discovery process that frequently accompanies life-changing events (LCEs).

ENTJ, Extraversion, Intuition, Thinking and Judging
When facing an LCE, ENTJs typically want an approach that is groundbreaking and action-oriented. If your preferences are for ENTJ, you most likely don’t want to sit around and wait for things to change. You want to make things happen. ENTJs tend to prefer that a decision be made (they don’t always need to be the decider) so that they can get going. If it doesn’t work out the first time around, their usual approach is to learn from what went wrong and try again as soon as it is practical – the goal is to DO something, preferably something that breaks new ground.

When ENTJ preferences are overdone, for example, people who prefer ENTJ may fail to attend to current realities and their own values and feelings. This action-oriented approach can mean that they head off in a new direction without paying much heed to how the changes will impact them and/or their significant others in the near term. They may also assume that more action will make the difference, when instead time could be better spent reviewing current constraints and potential consequences – in both personal and bottom-line terms – and building these into their approach BEFORE continuing.

When facing an LCE, ENTJs typically need a self-assured companion to mentor, guide, and support them on their transition journey. Since those who prefer ENTJ are usually brimming with self-confidence, they seek companions, whether friends, colleagues or helping professionals, who aren’t afraid to share opinions, respond to questioning robustly, and perhaps, on occasion, even spar with them. This self-assurance should be an aspect of the companion’s general demeanor and also be rooted in competence, as people who prefer ENTJ seek not just someone who is confident, but someone who can back this up with real ability. In short, they should be someone who can “walk the talk” and hold themselves and the person with ENTJ preferences accountable.

When such a companion is not present in the life of people who prefer ENTJ, they may struggle with the ambiguity that accompanies LCEs and interpret this confusion as incompetence on their part. A savvy companion can help them to see that waiting until they have more clarity around an issue instead of rushing to make further changes can be a strength. Without forthright or even blunt feedback, people who prefer ENTJ may believe that all is well simply because they have heard nothing to the contrary from others. Having an outspoken companion helps because this person can challenge them directly and also remind them to assess others’ level of discomfort through observation; does the person with whom they are interacting seem to be stalling, absenting themselves or maintaining a determined silence. If so, perhaps examining the situation further, before acting, is the best choice.

Self-Discovery Tool Number 72
If you prefer ENTJ (or you have someone in your life with this four-letter type code), the following questions may help as you process a life-changing event.

  1. How can you find time to check-in with yourself and discover what matters most – in people terms as well as in terms of the bottom line?
  2. How can your past experiences be a guide to what might help you manage things more successfully now?
  3. How can you assess the impact of your actions on those you care about?
  4. How can you build flexibility into your action plan to take advantage of learning opportunities as they appear?


Lines in italics adapted from p. 48 and the four questions from p. 49 of Hirsh, E., Hirsh, K. W., & Peak, J. (2011). Introduction to type® and reintegration: A framework for managing the transition home. Mountain View, CA: CPP, Inc.