Fun with personality types

February 7, 2008

Somehow all my Princeton friends started taking personality tests a week ago to see if they had changed over time so I decided to join them. I took: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes1.htm.

When I started college in 1992 I was an INTJ, then became an XSTJ (ISTJ/ESTJ) and now am an ENTJ. The transition correctly reflects my switch from a shy introvert to a confident extrovert.

Here are a few descriptions of ENTJs that seem broadly on target:

The Portrait of the Fieldmarshal (ENTJ)

Of the four aspects of strategic analysis and definition, it is marshalling or situational organizing role that reaches the highest development in Fieldmarshals. As this kind of role is practiced some contingency organizing is necessary, so that the second suit of the Fieldmarshal’s intellect is devising contingency plans. Structural and functional engineering, though practiced in some degree in the course of organizational operations, tend to be not nearly as well developed and are soon outstripped by the rapidly growing skills in organizing. But it must be said that any kind of strategic exercise tends to bring added strength to engineering as well as organizing skills.

As the organizing capabilities the Fieldmarshal increase so does their desire to let others know about whatever has come of their organizational efforts. So they tend to take up a directive role in their social exchanges. On the other hand they have less and less desire, if they ever had any, to inform others.

Hardly more than two percent of the total population, the Fieldmarshals are bound to lead others, and from an early age they can be observed taking command of groups. In some cases, Fieldmarshals simply find themselves in charge of groups, and are mystified as to how this happened. But the reason is that Fieldmarshals have a strong natural urge to give structure and direction wherever they are — to harness people in the field and to direct them to achieve distant goals. They resemble Supervisors in their tendency to establish plans for a task, enterprise, or organization, but Fieldmarshals search more for policy and goals than for regulations and procedures.

They cannot not build organizations, and cannot not push to implement their goals. When in charge of an organization, whether in the military, business, education, or government, Fieldmarshals more than any other type desire (and generally have the ability) to visualize where the organization is going, and they seem able to communicate that vision to others. Their organizational and coordinating skills tends to be highly developed, which means that they are likely to be good at systematizing, ordering priorities, generalizing, summarizing, at marshalling evidence, and at demonstrating their ideas. Their ability to organize, however, may be more highly developed than their ability to analyze, and the Fieldmarshal leader may need to turn to an Inventor or Architect to provide this kind of input.

Fieldmarshals will usually rise to positions of responsibility and enjoy being executives. They are tireless in their devotion to their jobs and can easily block out other areas of life for the sake of their work. Superb administrators in any field — medicine, law, business, education, government, the military — Fieldmarshals organize their units into smooth-functioning systems, planning in advance, keeping both short-term and long-range objectives well in mind. For the Fieldmarshals, there must always be a goal-directed reason for doing anything, and people’s feelings usually are not sufficient reason. They prefer decisions to be based on impersonal data, want to work from well thought-out plans, like to use engineered operations — and they expect others to follow suit. They are ever intent on reducing bureaucratic red tape, task redundancy, and aimless confusion in the workplace, and they are willing to dismiss employees who cannot get with the program and increase their efficiency. Although Fieldmarshals are tolerant of established procedures, they can and will abandon any procedure when it can be shown to be ineffective in accomplishing its goal. Fieldmarshals root out and reject ineffectiveness and inefficiency, and are impatient with repetition of error.

Napoleon, Margret Thatcher, Carl Sagan, Bill Gates, Golda Meir, Edward Teller, George Bernard Shaw, and General George C. Marshall are examples of Rational Fieldmarshals.

Here is another one:

“I don’t care to sit by the window on an airplane. If I can’t control it, why look?”

ENTJs have a natural tendency to marshall and direct. This may be expressed with the charm and finesse of a world leader or with the insensitivity of a cult leader. The ENTJ requires little encouragement to make a plan. One ENTJ put it this way… “I make these little plans that really don’t have any importance to anyone else, and then feel compelled to carry them out.” While “compelled” may not describe ENTJs as a group, nevertheless the bent to plan creatively and to make those plans reality is a common theme for NJ types.

ENTJs are often “larger than life” in describing their projects or proposals. This ability may be expressed as salesmanship, story-telling facility or stand-up comedy. In combination with the natural propensity for filibuster, our hero can make it very difficult for the customer to decline.

TRADEMARK: — “I’m really sorry you have to die.” (I realize this is an overstatement. However, most Fs and other gentle souls usually chuckle knowingly at this description.)

ENTJs are decisive. They see what needs to be done, and frequently assign roles to their fellows. Few other types can equal their ability to remain resolute in conflict, sending the valiant (and often leading the charge) into the mouth of hell. When challenged, the ENTJ may by reflex become argumentative. Alternatively (s)he may unleash an icy gaze that serves notice: the ENTJ is not one to be trifled with.

Here is a last one: The Executive

As an ENTJ, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you deal with things rationally and logically. Your secondary mode is internal, where you take things in primarily via your intuition.

ENTJs are natural born leaders. They live in a world of possibilities where they see all sorts challenges to be surmounted, and they want to be the ones responsible for surmounting them. They have a drive for leadership, which is well-served by their quickness to grasp complexities, their ability to absorb a large amount of impersonal information, and their quick and decisive judgments. They are “take charge” people.

ENTJs are very career-focused, and fit into the corporate world quite naturally. They are constantly scanning their environment for potential problems which they can turn into solutions. They generally see things from a long-range perspective, and are usually successful at identifying plans to turn problems around – especially problems of a corporate nature. ENTJs are usually successful in the business world, because they are so driven to leadership. They’re tireless in their efforts on the job, and driven to visualize where an organization is headed. For these reasons, they are natural corporate leaders.

There is not much room for error in the world of the ENTJ. They dislike to see mistakes repeated, and have no patience with inefficiency. They may become quite harsh when their patience is tried in these respects, because they are not naturally tuned in to people’s feelings, and more than likely don’t believe that they should tailor their judgments in consideration for people’s feelings. ENTJs, like many types, have difficulty seeing things from outside their own perspective. Unlike other types, ENTJs naturally have little patience with people who do not see things the same way as the ENTJ. The ENTJ needs to consciously work on recognizing the value of other people’s opinions, as well as the value of being sensitive towards people’s feelings. In the absence of this awareness, the ENTJ will be a forceful, intimidating and overbearing individual. This may be a real problem for the ENTJ, who may be deprived of important information and collaboration from others. In their personal world, it can make some ENTJs overbearing as spouses or parents.

The ENTJ has a tremendous amount of personal power and presence which will work for them as a force towards achieving their goals. However, this personal power is also an agent of alienation and self-aggrandizement, which the ENTJ would do well to avoid.

ENTJs are very forceful, decisive individuals. They make decisions quickly, and are quick to verbalize their opinions and decisions to the rest of the world. The ENTJ who has not developed their Intuition will make decisions too hastily, without understanding all of the issues and possible solutions. On the other hand, an ENTJ who has not developed their Thinking side will have difficulty applying logic to their insights, and will often make poor decisions. In that case, they may have brilliant ideas and insight into situations, but they may have little skill at determining how to act upon their understanding, or their actions may be inconsistent. An ENTJ who has developed in a generally less than ideal way may become dictatorial and abrasive – intrusively giving orders and direction without a sound reason for doing so, and without consideration for the people involved.

Although ENTJs are not naturally tuned into other people’s feelings, these individuals frequently have very strong sentimental streaks. Often these sentiments are very powerful to the ENTJ, although they will likely hide it from general knowledge, believing the feelings to be a weakness. Because the world of feelings and values is not where the ENTJ naturally functions, they may sometimes make value judgments and hold onto submerged emotions which are ill-founded and inappropriate, and will cause them problems – sometimes rather serious problems.

ENTJs love to interact with people. As Extroverts, they’re energized and stimulated primarily externally. There’s nothing more enjoyable and satisfying to the ENTJ than having a lively, challenging conversation. They especially respect people who are able to stand up to the ENTJ, and argue persuasively for their point of view. There aren’t too many people who will do so, however, because the ENTJ is a very forceful and dynamic presence who has a tremendous amount of self-confidence and excellent verbal communication skills. Even the most confident individuals may experience moments of self-doubt when debating a point with an ENTJ.

ENTJs want their home to be beautiful, well-furnished, and efficiently run. They’re likely to place much emphasis on their children being well-educated and structured, to desire a congenial and devoted relationship with their spouse. At home, the ENTJ needs to be in charge as much as he or she does in their career. The ENTJ is likely best paired with someone who has a strong self-image, who is also a Thinking type. Because the ENTJ is primarily focused on their careers, some ENTJs have a problem with being constantly absent from home, physically or mentally.

The ENTJ has many gifts which make it possible for them to have a great deal of personal power, if they don’t forget to remain balanced in their lives. They are assertive, innovative, long-range thinkers with an excellent ability to translate theories and possibilities into solid plans of action. They are usually tremendously forceful personalities, and have the tools to accomplish whatever goals they set out for.

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