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Jon Kohl'S Informationsphere
Portrait of an ENTJ

According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator system, I am a definitive ENTJ. The following description comes from Michael Kersey’s Please Understand Me II (1998).

Myers had a special name for the ENTJs.  She called them “the leaders of leaders,” in a word, “superleaders.”  This no doubt because she could see how efficient the ENTJs are in marshalling task forces in the field in preparation for launching major enterprises.  Marshalling focuses is the coordinating of personnel and materiel in the service of a clearly defined objective, something ENTJs seem especially cut out for.  Best then to call them the “Fieldmarshals.”

Another word that is useful in defining this kind of coordinating activity is ‘mobilizing.’ Personnel and material can be mobilized as well as marshalled, the only difference being that mobilizing connotes moving effective forces toward a goal, while marshalling connotes binding effective forces to a goal.  Either way, the basic, driving force of these Fieldmarshals is to command forces that promise to be effective in achieving the objectives that they are able to visualize.

It was no accident that World War II saw three of these ENTJs in command of our armed forces — George Marshall, Dwight Einsenhower, and Douglas MacArthur — each a genius in strategic mobilizing and marshalling of personnel and materiel toward worldwide aims.  Marshall, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the outbreak of war, was already at the top, and he knew full well which commanders to pick to run the campaigns in the eastern and western theaters — Eisenhower, a mere colonel at the time, but a brilliant student of warfare who had worked for Marshall as his best campaign planner; and General MacArthur, languishing with little to do in the Philippines.  No, it was no accident, because Marshall had long experience with both of these men, and he fully appreciated the high strategic intelligence of each.

As a variant of Plato’s Rationals and Aristotle’s Dialecticals, the ENTJs are little different from the other NTs in most respects.  Like all the Rationals, they are abstract in their communication and utilitarian in how they implement their goals.  They choose to study science, are preoccupied with technology, and work well with systems.  Their point of view is pragmatic, skeptical, relativistic, focused on spatial intersections and intervals of time.  They base their self-image on being ingenious, autonomous, and resolute.  They would if possible be calm, they trust reason, are hungry for achievement, seek knowledge, prize deference, and aspire to be wizards of science and technology.  Intellectually, they are prone to practice strategy far more than diplomacy, tactics, and especially logistics.  Further, having a decisive or scheduling nature, they tend to choose the Coordinator’s director role over the probing, exploring Engineer’s informative role.  And because they are so forceful in their expressiveness they find greater satisfaction in the role variant of Fieldmarshal than Mastermind.

Although Fieldmarshals are just as rare as the other Rationals, something less than two percent of the total population, they seem to have influence beyond their numbers.  Such individuals, male or female, of whatever age, are bound to lead others, and from early on they can be observed taking command of groups, so forceful is their climb to the top.  In some cases, fieldmarshals simply find themselves in charge of groups, and are mystified as to how that happened.  But the reasons is that they have a strong natural urge to bring order and efficiency wherever they are — to harness people and resources and to lead them toward their goals with minimum waste of effort and maximum progress.  Every operation needed for achieving the objective shall be executed, and all unnecessary operations are quietly and permanently eliminated from the planned sequence of events.

Take building a house, for example.  Put a Fieldmarshal in charge of the job and he or she will coordinate all the steps in the operation, hiring a cement contractor to pour the foundation, but also hiring a plumber to set the water pipes and connect the sewer lines before pouring the slab.  Then come the framer, electrician, roofer, drywaller, painter, and cabinet maker, with the ENTJ requiring that the construction follows a logical order so that there is minimum waste of manpower and material resources.

In just the same way, Fieldmarshals cannot not build organizations, and cannot not push to implement their goals.  More than all other types ENTJs are from an early age bent on the exacting and untiring practice of their budding coordinating skills, which enable them to be good at systematizing, arranging priorities, generalizing, summarizing, compiling evidence, and at demonstrating their ideas.  When in charge of an organization, whether in the military, business, education, or government, ENTJs desire and have the ability to visualize where the organization is going, and they seem unusually able to communicate that vision to others.

These decisive and outspoken Rationals will usually rise to positions of responsibility in the workplace and enjoy being in charge.  They are so single-minded and easily caught up in some project or campaign that they can easily block out other areas of life for the sake of their work.  Super executives, they mobilize their forces into smooth-functioning systems, planning in advance, keeping both short-term and long-range objectives well in mind.  For the ENTJ, there must always be a reason for doing anything, and people’s feelings usually are not sufficient reason.  More than any other type they are skilled at reducing bureaucracy in any of its forms, and they are willing to dismiss employees who cannot get with the program and increase their efficiency.  Although Fieldmarshals are tolerant of some established procedures, they can and will abandon any procedure when it is shown to be ineffective in accomplishing its goal.  Fieldmarshals are the supreme pragmatists, always aware of the relationship of means to ends.  Any procedure the objective of which is no longer pursued is instantly eliminated and its uses reassigned to more proeductive actions.  Parkinson’s law has little chance of survival where an ENTJ is in charge.

Fieldmarshals take full command at home, leaving little doubt about who makes the decisions. Male or female, they expect a great deal of their mates, who, if not to be steamrolled, need to possess a strong personality of their own, a well-developed autonomy, many and varied interests, and a healthy self-esteem.  A career-woman, however, may not be appealing to an ENTJ male, who is apt to view his home and family as a part of his professional background, as a resource, and thus adjunct to his own career development.  He might expect his mate to be active in civic and community affairs, to be socially sophisticated, and to continue her education.  The ENTJ female, on the other hand, may find it difficult to select a mate who is not overwhelmed by the force of her will.

Also in their parenting role, Fieldmarshals are thoroughly in command, and their children will know what is expected of them — and will be expected to obey.  When they don’t, the ENTJ parent is not apt to make a scene, rather, there is more likely to be a low-key clarification about who is in charge, what is expected, and what the inevitable consequences of disobedience will be.  Few children are not in awe of this sort of command.  While both mating and parenting are highly important to the Fieldmarshals, these roles must sometimes take a back seat to their strong career drive, and to the enormous amount of time they spend on the job.