I’ve been through a bunch of personality tests and courses from various institutions and trainings over 20 years. In my experience, Myers-Briggs (MB) is both more interesting and better received by engineers, in comparison to any others I’ve seen. I am also well acquainted with the Forer Effect, which points out positive generalizations are usually well-believed, and that people will sometimes buy complete crap (fortune cookie effect). Given all that, I don’t believe the critics of Myers Briggs – their observation that MB is mostly just collective wisdom seems false. I say this because, having talked through MB with a lot of different engineers (I agree my sample is skewed and not enormous), I don’t find MB wisdom to be widely distributed. I also find myself constantly on guard against some of the exact issues predicted for most people with my type. I also don’t believe that it applies 100%, as there are traits listed for ENTJ’s which I do not believe anyone has ever said I had (positive or negative).
· Personality Profile (aka the test) to determine your MB description and profile.
· Shorthand definitions of each personality type.
I am saying is that the trend for MB or correlation seems to be much higher than all the other personality tests and various tools I have tried. As senior manager, for many years, this means I have tried a lot of the personality tools. I have also led, attended, and commented on a lot of these, as engineers do them with HR or advanced training. I have seen that of any personality or professional guidance training, MB seems to resonate the most with engineers. Perhaps it is that there are 4 quadrants of 2 possible types. If you ever are interested, HR teaches several related courses, or I support you investigating yourself, or whatever way works for you (not investigating also a perfectly acceptable option). If you do become interested in the MB, as you advance in this, which law school actually paid for me to learnJ, there are interesting nuances. For example there are ‘pivots’ where you are less strongly aligned to one choice (for me that is Judging vs. Perceiving) or areas where you are stronger (Extroverted vs. Introverted). Perhaps this accounts for why some of the applicability of MB’s predictions don’t seem to apply to my life as much as other ones. Perhaps I am just being fooledJ. I certainly know as a child I did NOT require goalsJ…as an example….that only came with professional life. Obviously, MB isn’t perfect or uniformally correct at all, but again, there is a lot in this which has interested a lot of smart engineers I’ve worked with over many years (Rob, John, Jonathan, Jason, Steve, Robin, you know who you are!)
I have collected, over the years, a lot of information and comments about areas to focus and watch out for being an ENTJ: Many of these sites don’t resolve any longer, unfortunately, but Wikipedia has an excellent collection of this work on ENTJ (and other types). They have most of the below in one form or another. Again, while not ideal, the Myers-Briggs has proven to be very useful to many many engineers I have put it in front of…of course not perfect predictor of certain traits, but to understand many of the common landmines of certain personalities, this is useful. One of my favorite quotations (which again describes a bit about me) is that ENTJ personality types are “very conscious of the credentials of the critic and in what degree they license comment”. Much of the information below only now seems to reside on Wikipedia (link above) or here. I did not tailor my information below or remove what I think is irrevelant. Nor am I saying it all applied (postive or negative), but this does describe some of the hghs and lows a bit more than random for me:)
ENTJs take charge quickly and deal directly with problems, especially in situations that involve confusion and inefficiency. They provide structure to the organizations to which they belong and design strategies to accomplish their personal and organizational goals. They are ‘take charge’ people who organise their own and others’ external environments. They use their resources to find a way to meet the challenge. They are at their best in using their analytical and strategic thinking.
ENTJ children need to have goals for everything. These goals may be related to achievements such as swimming the fifty-yard freestyle on second faster than they did the previous year, getting a straight-A report card, or winning the school math contest. They seek power and control. They want to have an impact. Because of their desire to take charge, they are often leaders.
ENTJs enjoy an active and diverse lifestyle. They are likely to be in extracurricular activities and often function as the team captain, the president, or the leader. They pursue leadership roles very directly and have difficulty following others unless those individuals demonstrate more competence than they themselves have. Even then, it may be tough for the ENTJ to follow long.
ENTJs are likely to commit to a career goal early, often in their teen years. They determine their overall goals and objectives and what it will take to accomplish them. Whatever ENFJs do must make sense to them according to their logic or they have difficulty doing it.
In mature adulthood, ENTJs are often in leadership positions in their work organizations. They go after what they want with gusto. They set their sights high and work hard. Work and its related activities may become their lives. They may find retirement unsettling, boring, and difficult because it may bring with it a loss of the power that they had during their working years. Often they make arrangements so that they do not have to retire.
Learning and Working
ENTJs see education as one of the major ways of getting ahead. They are willing to learn about the past and what is but always with the mind-set of how that information affects their future. They particularly enjoy critiquing and solving problems. They apply their logical systems view to the issues they deal with. They want to change things to fit their concept of what should be. They learn best through a variety of instructional methods, including lectures and group activities. Without variety and action in the classroom boredom sets in.
ENTJs like to debate and view problems from all sides. They are comfortable critiquing and analyzing. and do not mind intellectual conflict in the classroom. They like challenge. They may have a general study plan laid out, with test dates and paper deadlines noted. They set up a schedule and work to attain the goal within that time.
At work, ENTJs contribute a wealth of energy directed toward the goals and those of the organization. Their sense of identity is closely tied to how they carry out their responsibilities. They are curious about new ideas and theories, evaluating them in terms of their goals. They are very efficient, competitive, strategic, and task focused.
Occupations that require tough-mindedness, goal direction, and a global perspective tend to attract ENTJs. They use logic and analysis to form conclusions, to organize themselves and others, to give direction, and to take charge. Some occupations seem to be especially attractive to ENTJs: administrator, attorney, consultant, credit investigator, labor relations worker, manager, marketing personnel, mortgage banker, personnel professional, systems analyst, and other occupations that allow them to use their strategic sense.
ENTJs put a lot of effort and enthusiasm into their relationships. Since their major quest in life is to constantly take in knowledge and turn that into something useful, the ENTJ will try to turn everything into a learning experience. Within the context of relationships, that means they will constantly seek knowledge and revise the rules and definitions of their relationships. They value their relationships highly, especially those relationships which present them with new challenges and stimulate their learning. Such exchanges promote genuine affection and satisfaction for the ENTJ. Relationships which do not offer any chances for growth or learning hold no interest to the ENTJ. As in other areas of life, the ENTJ likes to be in charge of their relationships. In conversation, they are very direct and confrontational, and can be highly critical and challenging towards others. People involved in close relationships with the ENTJ need to have a good amount of personal strength. For those who do, the ENTJ has a tremendous amount to offer. <author’s note: my wife can confirm some of these bad traits 🙂
ENTJs as Parents
ENTJs take their parenting role very seriously. They consider the task of passing on their values and goals to their children as an objective fact – it is something which will be done. They consider it their responsibility to make sure that their child is constantly developing and learning in the most optimal way. The ENTJ parent is usually rather strict, and has very high expectations of their children.
As a parent, the ENTJ continuously promotes learning and independent thinking. They pass on their love of knowledge to their children, and challenge them at every turn to thoroughly understand their positions and perspectives. They expect that their children will follow their lead. The ENTJ is in charge – there can be no doubt about that. They expect their children to honor their parents and to follow the rules and procedures which are set forth for the household. There is little room for error in those expectations, and the ENTJ will be a harsh parental authoritarian when the rules are broken. The children of an ENTJ usually know their place, and have a lot of respect for their ENTJ parent.
During the teen years, we are likely to see a child rebel from their relationship with the ENTJ. Although this situation is common with almost all of the types, it is especially true for parents who are Extraverted Judging types. Children growing into adults do not want to be controlled, and adults who are used to controlling their children have a difficult time letting go. The ENTJ parent would be wise to “loosen up” their hold a bit, as long as they can do so without compromising what they feel to be right.
ENTJs who have not given themselves introspective time to develop the feeling side of their nature frequently develop harsh, aggressive tendencies. Such an ENTJ parent is prone to be something of a dictator – giving out orders arbitrarily, and expecting them to be followed to a “T” without any “back-talk”. If continued over a long span of time, this kind of behavior creates an oppressive environment for the child. An ENTJ can address such tendencies by making time for introspection, and remembering to consciously be aware of people’s feelings.
ENTJs who have managed to avoid many of the problems associated with their type are wonderful parental figures. They are remembered fondly and valued by their children for challenging them at every turn, and thus promoting growth and development. This type of knowledge seeking usually becomes a life-long habit for their children, who turn into responsible and independent adults.
ENTJs as Friends
ENTJs are bright, energetic, sociable individuals who are keenly interested in other people’s ideas, theories and perspectives. They love nothing better than to participate in quality conversation with other people who share similar views to their own, or who have something new to teach the ENTJ. They make stimulating, interesting, and dynamic friends and peers.
The ENTJ thoroughly enjoys lively, intellectual conversations – welcoming such interaction as a learning opportunity for all parties involved. They have a tendency to be direct and challenging when interacting with others, which tends to put people on the defensive. This is in fact exactly what they’re after – the ENTJ wants to learn what you know, and understand as many of the nuances of your knowledge as the context of the conversation will allow. They go after this knowledge in a very direct, confrontational manner. With this approach, they will learn not only the facts of the knowledge, but also the background of the individual’s stance on that piece of knowledge. How well does the individual understand the topic? How invested is the individual in their stance? This method of “unsettling” people has the effect of livening up conversations and stimulating learning, when the other conversationalists are able to easily withstand the interrogations of the ENTJ. People who are uncomfortable with being challenged or who are less than confident in the topic being discussed are likely to be subdued into not expressing themselves with the ENTJ. This is a bit of a shame, since many people have valuable things to offer, but are not always willing to stand on top of a mountain and strongly shout their views to the world.