Each of the 16 Personality types consists of four letters. Each letter corresponds to a fundamental personality trait for that personality type, which is found by answering a set of tailored questions. Your answers to those questions determine your combination of four sets of opposing traits—introverted versus extroverted, sensing versus intuitive, thinking versus feeling, and perceiving versus judging.
ENTJs are few and far between: they make up about 1.8% of the population, and are the second rarest personality type.
What does ENTJ stand for?
Each of the 16 Personality types consists of four letters corresponding to a fundamental personality trait for the type. Tailored questions find your combination of four sets of opposing traits—introverted versus extroverted, sensing versus intuitive, thinking versus feeling, and perceiving versus judging. ENTJ stands for Extraversion (E), Intuition (N), Thinking (T), and Judging (J) personality traits.
The extroverted personality type known as the Commander can strategize and plan things down to the most minute detail. This personality type can think on their feet, and they make a fantastic chess player, always appearing to be two or three steps ahead of everyone else!
Their exceptional intellectual gifts usually serve them well in their professional lives, and are due to a combination of intuition, thinking, and judging. They perceive exactly what the problem is and sort out the right course of action to take. The Commander can excel if they are academically inclined, but their unique mix of intellectual firepower and social confidence more frequently leads them into powerful positions in business and politics.
As an intuitive personality, the ENTJ can spot patterns and is capable of seeing an issue from several completely different perspectives. The Commander can come up with interesting and even revolutionary ideas, and solutions to both practical and intellectual problems.
Their innovation means they can be brilliant entrepreneurs. They might also lead an established movement or organization down a radical new path, establishing new traditions based on efficiency and rational principles. When they achieve positions of power, ENTJs are usually dominant leaders, but they do still encourage debate among their employees when it comes to finding new, more effective ways of doing things.
Commanders are not known for being warm. However, they are very socially adept and charming—with a certain star quality that attracts other people. This personality is often gifted at public speaking and enjoys holding court, and having plenty of people around to discuss things with and bounce ideas off.
With their force of personality, quick wit, intelligence, and bulletproof confidence, other personality types can’t help but respect the Commander. Sometimes an ENTJ’s vision of the future and their passion for their own ideas can be truly inspiring, and they may even develop a bit of a cult following.
Determination and organization
The ENTJ is characterized by courage, optimism, and determination (to the point of being headstrong). Like other J personalities, the ENTJ seeks order and structure, and they are capable of organizing both their time and their ideas over days, weeks, months, and years to achieve the result they want.
This personality type will effortlessly put this ability into practice when managing other people: the ENTJ makes a brilliant business manager or theatre director, or as their nickname, the Commander, suggests, a good military strategist.
Lack of empathy
Perhaps the biggest Achilles’ heel the Commander has is that, while they are interpersonally skilled and their intentions are often good, they don’t automatically empathize. Their preference for thinking over feeling can be very strong, and they can sometimes come across as abrasive, cold, and even ruthless. Some ENTJs have an open disdain for emotional people, so understandably feelers are wary of them.
Their passion and commitment to their own vision can’t be faulted, but their dominant attitude might cause friction with friends and colleagues who have a more collaborative approach. The ENTJ can easily improve their relationships by genuinely taking other people’s perspectives and feelings on board. In some cases, considering dissenting viewpoints might even help them identify and fix weak points in their plans or in their organization.
Black and white outlook
ENTJs are capable of extremely deep and complex thought, but when they start using their less developed ability to feel, all nuance goes out of the window. They make simplistic, snap value judgments and tend to see things in black and white. Sometimes they change their mind, and switch dramatically from perceiving a person or situation from “all good” to “all bad.”
This unwillingness to recognize shades of gray can alienate and confuse other types, sometimes making the ENTJ seem, ironically, a bit moody! One way of tackling this might be to slow down and even create a mental list of pros and cons about a person or situation.
ENTJs can adopt a bit of a know-it-all attitude and might appear arrogant. This is likely to be the case if the Commander has managed to move into a position where they are at the top of their game and have a lot of power over others. Younger ENTJs may also dish criticism out with aplomb, but struggle to accept it.
If the Commander moves outside of their own area of expertise, they usually become more humble and open to new ideas. Fortunately, the Commander’s intuition makes them very flexible when it comes to picking up new information—sometimes they just need to take a step outside of their comfort zone.
Another stereotype of the ENTJ is that they are somewhat detached and even cold. This might be a matter of perspective: ENTJs prioritize reason over feeling, and they aren’t the type to express appreciation in gushing terms, but they do have very deep affection and loyalty for those they’re close to.
ENTJs and those close to them should remember that just as feelers in the personality system can be objective when the situation calls for it, thinkers can also feel and work on their empathic side. The ENTJ may be able to appear a bit more “warm” by genuinely listening to other people’s ideas and appreciating the good qualities they have.
What are the hobbies and interests of ENTJs?
When they have the time, ENTJs enjoy social hobbies, and hobbies that allow them to embrace their competitive side! Like other NT types, they also enjoy learning.
- Sports and martial arts
- Chess and other strategy games
- Leadership positions in community groups
Interacting with ENTJs
If you’re trying to find common ground with the ENTJ, it’s possible to engage them in conversations about current events, books, politics—they tend to have a range of intellectual interests, and they can be quite broad-minded. You might find it easiest to connect to this type on an intellectual level first. Once they do begin to like and trust you, it’s best to always be honest with them, as they dislike insincerity. If you’re trying to convince them of something, it’s far better to appeal to their reason than their emotions! The Commander will respect you if you have a firm stance, and stick to it.
If you work with an ENTJ, be prepared for an honest and blunt appraisal of what you’ve done, and don’t be afraid to give the same back in return—though you should never let yourself get into a position where you’re accepting or doling out personal abuse. Despite their extraversion and apparent ease with people, ENTJs can be a bit oblivious to other people’s emotions and ignorant of the personality dynamics playing out around them. So, when you’re dealing with them it’s best to be assertive, clear, and unambiguous.
In a relationship
Relationships can be a balancing act for the ENTJ (and their partner). This personality type is naturally dominant and wants to be in charge, but they also want a partner who challenges them sometimes (someone they can have a good discussion with!). Commanders might be uncomfortable with emotions, but they do value compassion, and they can do quite well with a strong, mature, grounded, and intuitive partner. They might grow tired of someone they deem too introverted, moody, or oversensitive.
The ENTJ can have a surprisingly strong sentimental streak, which can become evident in their intimate relationships: they might come across as either a bit inappropriate, or endearingly awkward, as they express their affection.
Living with an ENTJ
The ENTJ is orderly and plans both work and housework in advance, and they will expect their partner and family members to keep the household in good shape as well. An ENTJ’s organizational skills can be a great asset to their relationship as well as their career. Generally, the ENTJ won’t forget shopping lists or important dates, and they will help the rest of the family schedule events and manage their time. ENTJs do have a more frivolous side, and are great believers in organized fun!
An extremely career-focused ENTJ can however come across as emotionally absent: if you are an ENTJ, your drive for professional success is probably admirably high, but you might have to make a conscious attempt to leave your work at the office.
When it comes to dating, ENTJs are certainly not afraid to get out there and meet a range of people, but they prefer to commit to one intimate partner. They are looking for the perfect person to build a future with, and they usually don’t set out to play the field or have a lot of casual partners. In the bedroom, they are known to be open-minded and creative.
People going into a relationship with an ENTJ should ideally have a very strong sense of themselves, as very sensitive or insecure personalities will probably struggle when they become involved with this personality type.
The Commander doesn’t set out to offend anyone, but they love ideas and view arguing almost as a sport, which can be daunting to more conciliatory personalities. If the ENTJ does something to upset you, communicating calmly with them and talking about exactly what the problem is from your perspective can help resolve the situation. The mature ENTJ is highly adaptable and does learn from experience, and will often take opportunities to grow in their relationships.
Commanders, whether male or female, see themselves as the leader in their partnerships and can be quite high-handed. They may try to set the unwritten “rules” with their partner—something other personalities might balk at or find quite irritating. At their worst, an unhealthy Commander who feels a relationship isn’t going anywhere might suddenly cut their partner off, rather than trying to compromise or talk things out. Commanders usually learn from experience that behaving this way doesn’t endear them to people.
Any two healthy personality types can make a relationship work, but two of the best matches for the ENTJ are the INTP and the ISTP: these types are introverted but more oriented towards thinking than feeling. Their perceiving (P) trait might balance out the ENTJ’s rigidity, and as neither are feelers they are unlikely to feel neglected by the ENTJ.
Depending on how empathic the individual ENTJ is, this type can also do well with other intuitive types the ENFJ, ENFP, INFP, and INFJ, as well as the INTJ and ENTP. The ENTJ may struggle to connect most with the “SF” personalities, who can seem both unimaginative and irrational to the Commander.
As a parent
The Commander takes their role as a parent seriously and goes to great effort with their children. They are the type of parent who may appear strict, but beneath this, they will have a deep fondness, love, and pride in their child. They will put a lot of emphasis on their child being well-educated, and they will want them to have the best start possible.
ENTJ parents want to see their children succeed and develop into intelligent, responsible, and independent-minded adults. Their logical and energetic approach to life greatly benefits the practical side of parenting. They will encourage their child to work hard academically, and they probably won’t mind ferrying them to and from sports games, cultural events, friends’ houses, and such.
ENTJs may be less comfortable with the emotional side of parenthood (especially if they have a needy or very emotional child), but like the INTJ, they often take the trouble to explicitly learn how to connect with their child, if it doesn’t come naturally. They might gain more knowledge through reading and talking to other people to get advice.
ENTJs encourage their children to reason and think for themselves, but they have no problem setting firm rules and disciplining their children when the need arises. Unfortunately, their unyielding attitude and control over the finer details of their child’s life might eventually lead to their children rebelling. As the ENTJ’s children hit adolescence, this type will usually have to become a bit more compromising or risk some dramatic family arguments.
As a friend
ENTJs enjoy friendships with people who share their love of ideas and who can challenge them. If you’re friends with the Commander, you don’t need to worry about hurting their feelings when you engage in a debate. In fact, they will respect you more if you’re one of the few brave souls willing to challenge their ideas and put them on the defensive.
As extroverts, Commanders can happily chat to just about anyone, but their challenge is finding people whose company they genuinely enjoy, who aren’t too intimidated by them. They tend to get on well with other intuitive thinkers, and they also get on quite well with SP personalities (sensing and perceiving), as these people tend to have lots of schemes and activities going at once—much like the ENTJ!
The Commander’s quick wit and love of robust discussion mean a friendship with them will keep you on your toes—but if you can keep up, and don’t mind plenty of outspoken opinions, the ENTJ can make an interesting, entertaining, and loyal companion who will be in your corner when you need it.
ENTJs are often at their best in environments that value objectivity, dominance, thinking preference, innovation, and strong reasoning and strategic skills. The world of business is a great choice for an ENTJ, but they can also be found in law, politics, media, and creative fields. ENTJs are very capable and function well either independently or in hierarchies, which they quickly climb using their talent and charisma.
With their fierce intelligence, skill at public speaking, and intuitive ability to recognize patterns, ENTJs can also make good academics—perhaps for similar reasons, a number of successful actors are ENTJs. However, solitary work, routine work, or work that is purely practical (such as the physical trades) usually doesn’t appeal to this personality type. They thrive among the action!
In general, once ENTJs get to the top of an organization, they find their niche; their personality style is usually perfect for the job. If they feel stuck in a junior role, however, Commanders may become impatient, very critical, and bored. This personality type should always look for professional opportunities to advance and progress.
Commanders can succeed anywhere, but those interested in fields that require genuine compassion—for instance, healthcare or social work—will quickly find that they need to work on their ability to genuinely empathize.
Popular ENTJ jobs and careers
- Project manager
- Theatre or film actor
- Journalist or radio personality
- Police officer
- Military officer
Celebrities with the ENTJ personality type
ENTJ personalities are found across the board: this type tends to do very well in politics and public life. However, they can also be found in the arts, sport, and in business.
- Franklin Roosevelt
- Richard Nixon
- Alexander Hamilton
- Winston Churchill
- Margaret Thatcher
- Elizabeth I
- Julius Caesar
- Napoleon Bonaparte
- Newt Gingrich
- Nancy Pelosi
- Angela Merkel
- Bill Gates
- Warren Buffett
- Steve Jobs
- Vince Lombardi
- Steve Young
- Greg Maddux
- Boomer Esiason
- Ryne Sandberg
- Pau Gasol
- Garry Kasparov
Actors and directors
- Tea Leoni
- Katharine Hepburn
- John Cusack
- Michael Douglas
- Charlize Theron
- Cobie Smulders
- Patrick Stewart
- Salma Hayek
- Harrison Ford
- Dwayne Johnson
- Jamie Foxx
- George Bernard Shaw
- Sheryl Sandberg
- Robert James Waller
- Gene Simmons (KISS)
- Billy Joel
The bottom line
ENTJs, also known as Commanders, are extroverted thinkers and judges with tremendous intellectual capabilities and leadership potential. With their mixture of intelligence, intuition, and tenacity, they tend to succeed professionally in whatever field they choose. The Commander’s struggles will usually be in their personal life, which is where they tend to grow and develop the most.
If you’re an ENTJ, you probably already know that you’ll go far. But the more you take other people’s perspectives on board during your journey, the happier and more fulfilling your friendships and relationships will be.
And if you have an ENTJ in your life, congratulations! A mature ENTJ is a fiercely loyal parent, friend, or partner, an entertaining and intelligent conversationalist, a wise teacher and sounding board, and an all-around great person to have around.