4 Tips for ENTJs Who Want Be Loved (Not Feared)

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on January 18, 2016

Probably the most dominant personality of the 16 personality types, ENTJs are "in it to win it" in every sense of the phrase. As high achievers they will do everything in their power to achieve success; many will casually trample over people's feelings in their race to the top. They do not do this because they are cruel or cold-hearted - it's more that ENTJ personalities genuinely enjoy the battle of wits that comes with pursuing victory.

The problem is, when you're a natural-born powerhouse, people are typically more inclined to follow your orders than get close to you. If you're tired of being "The General" in your relationships, you need to learn to show compassion and become more trusting of others. These four tips can help you soften your approach and start connecting on another level.

1. Clearly Communicate Your Intentions

If your overall desire is to have more positive connections with people then you have to go beyond the usual ways of communicating which, for ENTJs, may come across as harsh and domineering. Barking orders is fine in a few, very limited situations. But most of the time it causes fear which is unsettling for everyone.

Stating your intentions can help grease the wheels of communication. This means expressing the reason why you are having the conversation and what you hope to get out of it. Clearly communicating your intentions shows that you have an end goal in mind and can help your conversation partner react positively to what you are saying. So remember to make your motives clear.

2. Display Empathy

When you give your loved ones or co-workers any type of feedback, show empathy. Being compassionate towards people's feelings shows that you have their best interests in mind.  This builds trust. When trust is established, the other person will be able to accept your advice without feeling obligated, intimidated or threatened.

How to show empathy? In the simplest terms, it involves listening with the intent to understand what the other person is saying, and only sharing your knowledge when it is actively asked for. Often, the other person will need a sounding board more than they will need your direction. As natural leaders, ENTJs can garner a great deal of respect by putting other people in the driving seat and being a mentor rather than being a dictator.

3. Accept Mistakes

Tolerance isn't a strong suit of ENTJs. Most of them have a remarkable ability to crush the sensitivities of those they regard as incompetent, weak or lazy. This tough-love attitude can make people very fearful of the ENTJ personality, particularly in an environment where one harsh opinion, poorly expressed, can have a negative influence on a person's self-esteem.

A person who is shot down whenever they make a mistake typically will become defensive. ENTJs may find that a friend or coworker will open up more when the ENTJ accepts them, warts and all, and gives them the support they need to move forward.

4. Stop Prioritizing Achievement Over Everything

Prioritizing achievement over everything can put a lot of strain on relationships. Friends and partners may feel sidelined by your continuous pursuit of victory, especially if they have a different world view and are not motivated by prestige, power and success.

For ENTJs, it is especially important to take regular reality checks. Try to see situations from others' points of view. Recognize that some situations require feelings more than logic, and this will help you connect with your networks on a deeper level. Showing your vulnerable side won't make you soft. If anything, you'll find that you can connect more authentically with your friends and family, and that will only increase the support you get as you strive to achieve.

So there you have it -- four tips to help ENTJs forge respectful, loving relationships. What strategies have you used to help you emotionally connect with people?

Molly Owens

Molly Owens is the founder and CEO of Truity. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. She began working with personality assessments in 2006, and in 2012 founded Truity with the goal of making robust, scientifically validated assessments more accessible and user-friendly.

Molly is an ENTP and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she enjoys elaborate cooking projects, murder mysteries, and exploring with her husband and son.

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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.


Andrew Leach (not verified) says...

Well written update, luv'd it.
Luckily I've worked out a lot of these points for myself over the years and implemented them to some degree.....however, many folks say I haven't hehehe wink wink ... Gee's I just luv being an ENTJ! soooo much energy! so much power surging through me! coupled with being a Leo!

YUEYIN (not verified) says...

I do have a very deep desire for success, and I used to prioritize achievement over many things--including health, friendship, relax time...and so on. I could not say whether i feel regret or not, but the thing is I don't not think I can get what I get today if I did not do what I "have to do", from that sense, I do not regret.
However, nowadays I do learn and know about "balance", achievement is only one part of our lives, we should learn how to balance what we have. And I do not think I will feel eager to achieve as before.

Alpha (not verified) says...

Oh well, I must agree with all the points the article made, but I already worked them out on my own and surprise surprise, I wasn't satisfied! I didn't like to have more friends than 'followers' the people with an ENTJ personality find it much more satisfying to impart orders and observe the achievement people around them make. Very sadly, achievement comes before friendship.

Female ENTJ (not verified) says...

Great article! I laughed because I got off the phone with someone lecturing me about my being a difficult person and this was waiting in my inbox. No they didn't send it to me. Pure coincidence. I hadn't considered announcing my intentions but it makes so much sense. It helps make up for where I fall short in softening myself, which is a lot. I'm tired of softening but agree it needs to be done. A lot. Number four is so important with my kids and a daily struggle, although a worthy one, to refocus on other priorities and values.

SolrideTX (not verified) says...

I had my kids and their SO's (all young adults) take the Myers-Briggs test. I understand them more, and they understand me. We've turned it into a sort of family joke but there are less hard feelings now and I know who to delegate which tasks to.

Guest (not verified) says...

Alright, so, here it is: I test as ESFP, but man, does this sound like me in my past and present romantic relationships. So, I wonder about the possibility of actually being ENTJ, because both types have the same cognitive functions.

What is weird is that at work (I'm in no position of authority, on purpose), I try to remain uncontroversial, likable, etc., mostly because in the past I learned the hard way that co-workers and supervisors alike did not want to hear from an assertive (ok, sometimes aggressive) young woman with no rank. Yet at the same time, resisting the urge to call 'em like I see 'em wears me out. It's in my nature to assert my insights to others and will them over to my side, especially in order to avoid disastrous consequences. However, this sort of personality trait has proved untenable in a work setting for me (as well as in my friendships), so I retreated quite a bit and have remained overly cautious of my impulses ever since. However, at home, I'm the boss -- and not even because I made this conscious decision that I would be so -- it just kinda turned out that way. My husband sometimes jokes that I'm scary (!), which is funny, because I don't see myself as intimidating at all. I just see myself as business-like. ... Anyway, long story short, these tips are excellent. I needed the refresher on how to show more empathy. I had been doing better with the listening thing, because I sincerely wanted to be there for my husband and friends -- but showing empathy, much to my chagrin, is not my strong point, as much as I'd like to think otherwise.

Twinklez88 (not verified) says...

In theory this is all very nice but to an ENTJ such as myself, this is totally alien to me. I have absolutely no idea how to listen without offering solutions on how to efficiently fix the issue. Connecting with emotions isn't something I will ever be comfortable with. I put thought into thinking how others think/feel, sometimes it would be nice for others to try and put themselves in my shoes. I can't turn off my dominance, I don't even need to say a word for others to feel it. I'm not a dictator and I love to teach/train others. I'm just not good at anything emotional and it comes across as fake if I even try. Can't you people try to understand the ENTJ's for a change?

WIlliam Sebunje (not verified) says...

This is interesting.

Iwas working somewhere, the whole company of about 500 staff, would shake just because of me!.  They would organise to avoid me in their work, but again they would find themselves offside!, and iwould tell them point blank, to which many believed is sugar coating issues!. 

You would find , everyone checking him self, because they knew my logic would not leave them spared! 


But now peoiple have to understand us (ENTJs), we dont do what we do to hurt others,  but to be on the right road to success. Which if any goes by what we say, will always be on top!


Proud to know my self!

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