As an ENTJ personality, you may find that you quickly get on people’s nerves—ENTJs are famously the ones in the group that everyone loves to hate. Blame it on our assertiveness, ambition or directness, the pillars of our personality are also the traits that many people find the most annoying.
Moving from school to university to the workplace, I developed some coping mechanisms that have allowed me to push forward the charismatic and sociable sides of my personality, whilst keeping on top of my tendency to be too direct, too blunt and, as one colleague put it, verbally aggressive. Ouch! Here are 10 ways you can manage people’s negative feelings towards your “difficult” ENTJ personality traits whilst never losing sight of what makes you who you are.
1. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses
This one is obvious, but acknowledging your type and dealing with the pluses and minuses that come with it is one of the first steps to dealing with negativity from the people around you. You can’t change who you are but you can try to understand how the things you do and say can sometimes rub people the wrong way, and start to change how you act. Take stock of the ENTJ personality traits that are most damaging to your social relationships and consider the best ways to manage these traits.
2. Sexism is no joke
I’m going to get this one in early because it needs to be said: being an ENTJ woman can be really tough. ENTJ women are thought to be one of the most rare type-gender combinations. It’s estimated that the ratio of ENTJ men to women is more than two to one. The difference has often been attributed to the idea that women are better at ‘feeling’ whereas men are often perceived as being better at ‘thinking’. This image can have a serious effect on those of us who go against the stereotypes.
There’s a tendency for women who are assertive—the ENTJ personality archetype—to be seen as controlling and even aggressive. On the other hand, this is a far more acceptable trait for men in many societies, including our own. People quickly make judgments against women who are outspoken, direct and decisive, often without realizing they’re doing it. If you don’t believe me, try to think of a time when you've heard someone refer to a man as “bossy”. Now count how many times you’ve heard it been said about a woman. You might need more than two hands! Understanding this imbalance can make it a bit easier to deal with the people who try to bring you down.
3. Embrace your bossiness
This leads me onto number three: it’s time to embrace your bossiness. Bossy is just another way of describing someone who is a natural leader. As the ‘commander’ type, you cannot shy away from your ENTJ tendency to take charge.
Leadership is one of the biggest strengths ENTJs possess and many people are grateful when there is someone willing to step up and take the lead. This aspect of your personality that may make some people take against you but it is also most likely to lead to career advancement as you show you’re not afraid to take on extra responsibility. Don’t be ashamed of being a leader— embrace this side of your personality to the fullest!
4. Get people on your side
Whilst ENTJs make excellent leaders, to be really effective at achieving your goals you’ll have to get people on your side. A key way to deal with being the type everyone loves to hate is to win people over early on. If this sounds contrived, it’s because it is but it will make your life a whole lot easier in the long run.
You can bring people on board by letting them in on your vision, helping those around you to understand the target that you’re working towards. Though it might be perfectly clear to you, not everyone will immediately understand your ideas so try to take the time to break it down for them. Listen to the perspectives of those around you, even if you don’t agree with them. When you let people in on your plans you may find that you gain a new perspective in the process. At the same time, these actions add up to people feeling more at ease around you and also more committed to your collective goal. It’s a win-win!
5. One-to-one works
If someone is clearly not warming to you, talking to them in a one-to-one setting can also help. This is a chance for you to connect with them in a way that is not about taking control or giving instructions. It’s also an opportunity to use your natural charisma to win people over, or at least build up more of a bond. The ENTJ personality is typically slow to compliment so making a conscious effort to praise or compliment the people in your life more regularly will also be appreciated, just make sure it’s genuine.
6. Make time for emotions
One of the hardest things people find about working with an ENTJ personality is their lack of emotional intelligence. This can turn people off very quickly and often make them feel extremely frustrated —though it seems completely incomprehensible to many ENTJs!
Appreciating the need for emotional connection and empathy can be really beneficial as a technique for developing positive, reciprocal relationships. If you struggle to connect with people, try to take the time to listen to their feelings. Again, one-to-one is the best method here. You don’t need to offer advice or judgment, just show them that they have been heard. By investing in the emotions of those around you, you can help people to feel more valued and smooth over problems in your relationships.
7. Operate with optimism
I love that ENTJs are naturally optimistic and I try to use this part of my personality as much as possible. Our tendency towards optimism works really well with our high energy approach to tasks and our natural sociability. Promoting these upbeat ENTJ personality traits can really help people warm to you and helps them forget that you’re not great at sharing your emotions!
8. Patience is key
On the other hand, one of the biggest obstacles to the ENTJ personality type is patience. From personal experience, I tend to find that I have very little patience when I feel like people are not working efficiently towards achieving a goal or when they deviate from the original plan. I know, I know, classic ENTJ.
However, I’ve learnt from many years of working in a team that patience is a really important skill for keeping everyone on your side. Becoming frustrated is rarely an effective method for getting things done and it can lead to people feeling alienated very quickly. Patience and diplomacy are really useful traits to work on in order to avoid coming across as intimidating.
9. Remember, it’s not always your fault!
When dealing with negative emotions, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone is coping with their own stresses, insecurities and anxieties. If you find that someone is hating on you, it may not always be your fault. If you’ve done your best to find out what’s wrong and reached out to them with no success, the best approach might be to just let them be.
10. Shrug off the haters
With this in mind, remember that there will always be some people in your life who dislike you. Surround yourself with people who appreciate your personality and recognize your strengths, those who are able to bring out the best of your personality and put up with your quirks. There are people out there who will value you for who you are so don’t waste your time trying to get everyone to like you.
Understand that your ENTJ personality traits make you who you are and concentrate on using your personality to your advantage!