Most type websites only present nice, vague, boring facts...
But they won't tell you that ENTJs are the most argumentative type.
Or that ENTJs have the highest job satisfaction of all types.
Or that ENTJs have the most satisfying marriages of all Intuitive types.
I love those warm fuzzy affirmations as much as the next guy, but if we don't know our true strengths and weaknesses, how can we chart our lives? I'd kind of like to know if I was considered the most argumentative person around, wouldn't you? Forewarned is forearmed, and you know how touchy other people are... ;) I'd also feel a lot more confident in my decision-making if I had actual numbers and statistics rather than just vague generalizations, i.e., "ENTJs are good leaders..."
Which is why I've compiled some of the fascinating research that other webpages either don't know about, don't care about, or just choose not to mention. Some of it will be great news, some of it will be disheartening news, and some of it will be just plain old weird. :) I hope this website will be useful to you. There's a table of contents at left.
A Few Small But Significant Caveats
Please bear in mind that none of this has to be a stereotype that rules your life. You're a unique individual with a unique background, and this description is simply a generalization based on statistics and averages. Don't take what you read here as limitations, but as an invitation to grow outside your core strengths. And especially don't use this description as an excuse for inconsiderate behavior. You're better than that! :) Besides, why box yourself in? Type is a starting point, not an ending place. Enjoy it and then grow from it.
ENTJs are estimated at:
- 3.93% of the American population (sample size 9,320; Myers & McCaulley, 1985)
- 2.9% of the UK population* (sample size 1,634; Kendall & McHenry, 1998)
- 3.85% of the Australian population (sample size 3,373; Macdaid, McCaulley, & Kainz, 1986)
- 2.7% of the New Zealand population (sample size 993; Bathurst, 1995)
- 5.6% of the Singapore population (sample size 1,733; Lim, 1994)
*Be chary about comparing the UK estimate with the others. There's a long explanation.
A caveat. Isabel Myers (INFP) married a man named Chief, an ISTJ and a good man. They were happy together, but according to Isabel's own type theory they weren't predicted to be perfect for each other. Later on, Myers said that if she had known about type theory, she probably wouldn't have married Chief. Hm! There is a lesson to be learned here: type is not everything, nor should it be the decisive factor in choosing your lifemate. Take it from the founder of type herself.
Then too, the connections between type, attraction, love and marriage haven't been well studied yet. (The question is more complicated than you'd think.) You can read about this question and the various attempts to answer it here.
The Rational Temperament and Love
Are temperaments attracted to each other? Tieger and Barron-Tieger (2000) found that Rational-Rational pairings have an average satisfaction rate of 59%. But in fact, Rational-Idealist pairings have an even higher satisfaction rate, namely 65%. (Note that this was the Rational rating for the pairing; Idealists rated the pairing at 64%).
What about the other temperaments? Guardians with a Rational spouse tended to have a 62% satisfaction rate, whereas Rationals with a Guardian spouse reported a 52% satisfaction rate.
As for the SPs, Artisans with Rational spouses tended to have a 73% satisfaction rate, while Rationals with Artisan spouses tended to have only a 54% satisfaction rate.
So are you confused yet? Let’s summarize.
- Rationals were 65% satisfied with Idealists.
- Rationals were 59% satisfied with Rationals.
- Rationals were 54% satisfied with Artisans.
- Rationals were 52% satisfied with Guardians.
But satisfaction between the temperaments was not equal. In fact, all the other temperaments rated the Rationals higher than the Rationals rated them (see below). Tieger and Barron-Tieger suggested that NTs may rate their partners lower than average since they tend to be the most critical temperament and set particularly high standards. This would tend to depress Rational scores more than would be reflected in reality.
Seen from a reverse perspective, here is how Rationals are viewed by the other temperaments:
- Artisans are most satisfied with Rationals (73%)
- Idealists are second most satisfied with Rationals (64%)
- Guardians are third most satisfied with Rationals (62%)
- Rationals are fourth most satisfied with Rationals (59%)
Isn’t this a fascinating mess of information? Let’s put it into context. Green = Guardian, Blue = Idealist, Purple = Artisan, and Teal = Rational.
- SJ x SJ 79%
- NF x NF 73%
- SP x NT 73%
- SJ x SP 71%
- NT x NF 65%
- NF x NT 64%
- SP x SJ 63%
- SJ x NT 62%
- SP x SP 59%
- NT x NT 59%
- SJ x NF 58%
- NT x SP 54%
- SP x NF 54%
- NT x SJ 52%
- NF x SP 51%
- NF x SJ 46%
Now, it is a mistake to generalize by temperament--it’s frequent that types will go counter-temperament, and temperament is not the definitive factor in explaining type-based behavior most of the time (CITE)--but since we don’t have anything better to go on...
Ever since Keirsey, a Rational himself, published Please Understand Me II in 1998, it has generally been accepted that the Idealists are the best partners for the Rationals. This appears to be true--at least from the Rational point of view. The Idealists, however, actually tend to be more satisfied with other Idealists, having a satisfaction rate of 73%.
But Rationals are the second favorite choice for the Idealists. Indeed, NF-NT and NT-NF satisfaction rates fell within 1 percentage point of each other--a very equal evaluation indeed. And if we accept the fact that Rationals tend to be overcritical and depress their perceived satisfaction, it may be that Rationals actually like Idealists even more.
This equality is in stark contrast to the SP-NT and NT-SP pairing. It appears that Artisans are delighted with Rationals, but Rationals are ambivalent about Artisans and Sensors in general. The Guardians for their part are simply not that satisfied with either Rationals or Idealists, but really go for other Sensors.
It would seem that for Rationals, the Idealists generally make the most satisfying temperament pairing. This is a generalization that may or may not apply to all Rational types.
One further thing that should be noted here is that the Rationals reported a narrow range of satisfaction compared to other types.
- Rationals: 52% - 65% (13 percentage points of difference)
- Idealists: 46% - 73% (27 percentage points of difference)
- Artisans: 52% - 73% (21 percentage points of difference)
- Guardians: 58% to 79% (21 percentage points of difference)
Compared to other types, the Rationals don’t seem to have much to lose if they make a random choice.
What is the Best ENTJ Pairing?
Excellent question; I wish I knew. Here's some theory:
Keirsey speculated that the best match for the ENTJ is the INFP Healer. Originally, he believed that ISFP Composers would also be a good match, but in Please Understand Me II he modified this view to indicate that sharing the same Intutition/Sensing orientation is important in a relationship.
Are INFPs a good match for the ENTJ?
One study found a slight preferential relationship between INFPs and ESTJ Supervisors. Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, this is one of the two "ideal" matches predicted for INFPs by Keirsey in the original version of "Please Understand Me." (In the next version of the book, he changed his theory in accordance with his new view that Intuition and Sensing should match up between partners for the best results, hence only the ENTJs are listed.) The question is, do INFPs choose ESTJs because they actually prefer ESTJs, or do they choose them because ESTJs are common and ENTJs are rare? Commonality implies a wider variety of choices and better opportunities for good type development. Rarity implies less choice, and it is often harder for rare types to achieve good type development. Hence the supply of "good" ESTJs is much larger than the supply of "good" ENTJs simply because there are more ESTJs than ENTJs.
However. The average satisfaction for the ESTJ-INFP pairing was actually rather low. Frequency of ocurrence obviously does not imply satisfaction.
In the end, it's hard to say what the best ENTJ match is. Not that I'd be worried (read on).
A study found that ENTJs were the most satisfied with their marriage/intimate relationship of all Intuitive types. (In general, Intuitives had lower satisfaction than Sensors. ENTJs, however, had approximately the same level of satisfaction as the Sensors.) And since most Sensors had about the same marital satisfaction, it can be further said that only the ESFJs were significantly more satisfied than the ENTJs. In general, ENTJs have a good marital outlook.
Recommendations for Further Investigation
- Blog post describing a female INFP/male ENTJ relationship (there are other blog posts on this topic if you browse their site).
- Website that speculates on the ENTJ personality's romantic matches with each of the sixteen types.
ENTJs tend to have high job satisfaction--in fact, they appear to be far and away the most satisfied of all types. A study of of type and job satisfaction yielded that ENTJs were "Satisfied with work," "Satisfied with company," "Satisfied with future opportunities," "High income," and "Unlikely to leave." In short, they were satisfied with pretty much every aspect of measurement. They were also the type most satisfied with "Opportunities for promotion," "Opportunities for accomplishment," "Opportunities to contribute to society," "Opportunity to use talents or training" and "Day-to-day tasks." These options were chosen from a list of 14 possible areas for satisfaction, of which ENTJs claimed first on 5. It is perhaps significant that for every measure that began with the word "Opportunity," the ENTJs were the most satisfied type. ENTJs seem to feel that they are able to reach their full potential in their work.
Another study found that all the MBTI types save for ENTJs were dissatisfied with "Promotions." ENTJs did not list this as a dissatisfier; in fact, they did not list any dissatisfiers. Rather, over 50% of the ENTJ sample indicated that they were "Very Satisfied" with "Opportunity to use talents," "Societal contributions," "Job security," "Learning," and "Accomplishment."
In terms of organizational values, ENTJs prized "Financial analysis" (i.e. curiousity about matters of finance/economics) and were disinterested in "Nurturing affiliation," i.e. the development of bonds between workers, sharing, and helping others.
A study found that ENTJs were the type that most liked the work environment characteristics "Variety of tasks" (liked by 96% of the ENTJ sample), "People with different backgrounds" (liked by over 50%), and "International opportunities" (liked by over 50%). ENTJs also strongly valued the characteristic "Independence and achievement" (liked by over 80% of the sample). They were the type that was least probable to like "Toe the line expectations" and "Does not expect extra hours." Clearly ENTJs are willing to put in overtime. It may perhaps be natural to think that ENTJs will neglect their family for their job. However, a survey of values found that 98% of ENTJs--the highest amount of any type--ranked "Home and family" as "Very Important." Despite appearances, these career-oriented people evidently hold a special place in their hearts for their loved ones.
Hammer (1993) listed occupational trends for ENTJs as "Management" and "Leadership." ENTJs were also overrepresented among a small of business owners.
As an INTP, one of the types with the lowest job satisfaction, it might be expected that I would be sickeningly envious of the ENTJs' well-deserved happiness. Thankfully, I am above such petty impulses.
ENTJs tend to get some of the highest grades of all types. One study also found that they were one of the types with the highest college retention rate. However, they also turned up frequently in a sample of college students who were referred for drug abuse training.
ENTJs were the type that turned up most frequently in the national CASE finalist list for professor of the year. A sample of 100 executive educators also found that ENTJs and ESTJs were the two most frequently occurring types.
ENTJs have some of the lowest stress of all types; in fact, only the ENTPs and ESTPs had less. A study of type and stress found that ENTJs were consistently among the four least stressed types in regards to "Work," "Finances," "Intimate relationship," "School," and "Health." They were never among the top four most-stressed types for any category.
ENTJs coped with their stress by using the methods "Try to think of options" (Rationals love this coping method, but ENTJs liked it most of all), "Confront the problem," and "Exercise." They did not tend to use the coping methods "Try to avoid stressful situations," "Rely on religious beliefs," "Get upset or angry but don't show it" (they were the type least likely of all to use this one), and "Get upset or angry and show it" (again, they were the type least likely of all to use this one). It is odd that ENTJs were the least likely to get upset and angry and show it AND don't show it. Apparently getting angry is just not high on their priority list, period.
Keirsey described ENTJ parenthood as a carefully researched and prepared strategy. ENTJ parents, he notes, will have read everything available on child rearing, digested the information, formed their own conclusions, built a plan, and will carry it out.
Like all Rationals, ENTJ parents value independence and autonomy and wish to instill the same values into their children. Thinking for oneself, caring for oneself, standing on one's own two feet--ENTJs will give their children both the means and the opportunity to achieve these goals. It is also important for ENTJs that their children show responsibility and live up to their potential. They have high expectations and will encourage their kids to make good grades and work hard to achieve success.
ENTJs don't have trouble with setting boundaries or laying down the law--indeed, Rationals as a group tend towards sternness, and NTJs are more likely to make rules than NTPs. Keirsey has noted that Rationals, unlike other temperaments, aren't given to lectures, scoldings, and groundings so much as simply stating, "Okay then. You've lost that privilege for awhile," and then depriving the child of the opportunity to affect/enjoy/control that part of their environment. By such impersonal, logic-based and minimally punitive measures they teach their children that bad behavior isn't about "me being angry at you and trying to make you feel bad to show you the error of your ways" so much as "you making an illogical choice that results in the loss of your pleasure." The idea is to teach the child that poor choices always imply logical negative consequences. The Rational parent tries to demonstrate that making a bad choice is like throwing a rock up in the air and letting it fall down and hit oneself in the face. It isn't that the rock hates you, or thinks you have done wrong; no, the rock has neither feelings nor any sense of justice. Rather, the rock is merely obeying the amoral, implacable laws of physics. Many people break rules, but few people try to break the laws of physics. The logic-oriented Rationals instinctively realize this, and tend to have better success with children than other types. You can read some ENTJ thoughts on logical behavioral consquences without "real" punishment here.
ENTJs are busy folks, and many have experience in running large projects. By contrast, managing a household and getting the kids to their activities will not be a major challenge. The one pitfall is that the ENTJ may be so busy that if they are not careful, they may give their children the impression of constant impatience.
One further point is that ENTJs may have trouble relating to children who are strong Feelers. A knowledge of type can go a long ways towards alleviating this problem, and also afford a valuable opportunity to study those that are different from oneself. For example, one female ENTJ type practitioner with an INFP daughter described her pleasure at discovering her daughter's unique perspective on the world, so alien to her own way of thinking. However, after noting her and her daughter's type, she joked, "You can all feel sorry for the INFP now." ENTJ parents may have to take special care in considering the needs of the young Feelers in their house.
Keirsey has suggested that ENTJs are the type most naturally suited for leadership. As NTs, their future orientation, global thinking, and grasp of complexity allows them to form distant goals and a wide-ranging strategy to achieve those goals. As Extraverts, they are energized by contact with other people. As Judgers, they seek closure, put work before play, like order, and pour a continual, reliable amount of effort into their tasks every day. The combination of these factors is the type best suited to lead traditional hierarchical results-based organizations.
Young, capable ENTJs may be frustrated to find that their upward ambitions are frustrated by their lack of seniority. Sitting around waiting to get older is not likely to satisfy an ENTJ, and they will probably leave for greener pastures. In general, Rationals do not care about age or authority so much as pure merit.
The fact that ENTJs are suited for leadership is well known, and it has been widely speculated that non-ENTJs in leadership positions falsify their type so as not to appear less qualified for a position. Thus it is hard to say, for example, exactly what percentage of CEOs are actually ENTJs as opposed to other types faking the test for fear of losing their competitive edge. This problem may also confound leadership research because the fake ENTJs have different characteristics from the real ENTJs, and studies of leadership may report incorrect results based on such falsified data.
An amusing side effect of this phenomenon is that ENTJ forums tend to be rife with paranoid comments like, "Half the people here are actually ESTJs." In fact, the ESTJs are nowhere to be seen because they are interested in practical, real life duties with immediate practical value, not absorbing knowledge on the internet. However, it is not improbable that there are ETJs who sit on the line between ENTJ and ESTJ, but prefer to self-identify as ENTJ because of the perceived higher status of ENTJs.
ENTJs seem to be like the Guardians in that they spend little time on leisure pursuits. Indeed, a study found that while INTJs, ENTPs, and INTPs listed between four to six typically Rational leisure pastimes (taking classes, playing with computers/video games, and appreciating art were listed by all three), ENTJs listed only one leisure activity: "Working out/exercising." Exercise is also one of the preferred ENTJ methods for coping with stress.
ENTJs typically dress better-than-average. Not only are they Judgers, who tend to take better care of their physical appearance than Perceivers, but they also know that dressing well is a way to command respect. In a sense, their above-average physical appearance is a tactical maneuver. There is also the fact that ENTJs tend to make more money than most. They can afford expensive clothing, cars and houses, and they probably will have them. As Rationals, however, ENTJs are not fixated on obtaining these status symbols; nice things are merely a side effect of success, a way to keep track of points in the game of life. The ENTJs were not among the top four types that most valued "prestige."
I won't be covering type dynamics or cognitive functions here. Type junkies may be wondering why not, since Te, Ni, Se, and Fi are widely considered to be characteristic of ENTJs. But there is doubt over whether the cognitive functions exist. You can read about it here.
Although many of the observations that have been explained by cognitive function theory are valid, many simply are not. I believe that cognitive function theory causes more confusion than it clears up--particularly in the all-important area of figuring out one's type. I just don't see much point in pouring more time and effort into a bucket so full of holes, and have opted to leave out this part of type theory.
A study compared type and argumentativeness. It was found that the Rationals as a group comprised the four most argumentative types, that Judging Rationals were more argumentative than Perceiving Rationals, and that Extraverted Judging Rationals were more argumentative than Introverted Judging Rationals (Loffredo & Opt, 2006). In short, ENTJs are the most argumentative type. However, ENTJ argumentativeness does not match conventional ideas of argumentativeness. For example, they don't yell, loose their cool, or resort to insults. But neither do they give an inch, nor are they bothered by other's disagreements, nor will they soften their blunt statements one iota. The phenonenom must be observed to be appreciated, and I recommend that the reader visit ENTJ Forum and enjoy the clash of the titans. It is easy to see why people can mistakenly believe that an ENTJ is "angry" or "arguing" even if the ENTJ thinks that they are simply having an ordinary discussion. Amusingly, if one checks out the Stress section of this page, it can be seen that ENTJs were one of the types least likely to get angry and show it.
More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About ENTJs
At some point I'm planning to write a book devoted to ENTJs. (It will be originally entitled More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About ENTJs.) If you'd like to be notified when the book comes out, just type your e-mail address in the box below and I'll drop you a line. You won't get any advertisements or "special offers" or anything--I hate it when that stuff ends up in my inbox, and no doubt you do too.
- Rick Rescorla - Security manager who predicted 9/11 before it happened and put innovative measures in place to save his company.
- Professor Challenger - Leader of the expedition which discovers a lost land of dinosaurs. (From the book The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle.)
- Paladin - An ethical gun for hire in the wild west who solved client's disputes in his own way--whether the clients approved of his solution or not. (From the TV series Have Gun, Will Travel.)
- Megatron - Leader of the Decepticons and a literal Fieldmarshal. (From the original TV series Transformers.)
- Edward Rochester - Jane Eyre's sarcastic but charming love interest. (From the book Jane Eyre.)
- ENTJ Forum - A forum devoted to type ENTJ.
- Nurture by Nature: Understand Your Child's Personality Type - And Become a Better Parent - Dig up more info on parenthood and type here.
- The Art of SpeedReading People - Learn how to type people you meet within minutes.
- Mother Styles - Type and parenting.
- 16 Ways to Love Your Lover - Type, romance, and making things work after the marriage.
- See the Citations page.