I took one of “those” online personality tests; specifically, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The personality questionnaire aims to distinguish the characteristics as defined by Carl Jung. It was made by a mother/daughter psychological theorist team seeking to make a test that would make the transition for women into the workplace during WWII more effective/easier by connecting personality with their job. Although it lacks the two big measurements of psychometric success–validity and reliability–it has a .99 test-retest correlation for those with extreme measurements. Controversy abounds, and as with most psychometric tests without adequate corporate marketing, few academics support it whole-heartedly.
Validity and reliability aside, what is most interesting to me is how each of the possible 16 descriptions are specific rather than general; making this test unlike horoscopes. Descriptions talk about unique characteristics rather than universally human ones (you are a nice person that sometimes gets upset). When you are reading your description, you are reading a unique one that discusses unique traits that separate your “type” from others. Now, whether you are the same description 12 months from now is a different story (30% test-retest).
What Am I?
I’m an ENTJ and have been throughout my testing for the past decade. This time around, however, I spent some more time learning about this indicator type. Called the Executive, or Field Marshall, my type makes up 1.8% of the population. As there are 16 possible variants, or 6.25% if equally distributed, that makes my personality rather unique. Or, at least, I want to be unique. There is only one less frequent type — the Protector or INJF . Here is a chart of all the type frequencies.
I share the ENTJ role variant with
- Bill Gates
- George C. Marshall
- George Bernard Shaw
- Margaret Thatcher
- Napoleon Bonaparte
- Carl Sagan
- Edward Teller
- Golda Meir
Extraverted (E) 61% Introverted (I) 39%
Intuitive (N) 68% Sensing (S) 32%
Thinking (T) 75% Feeling (F) 25%
Judging (J) 59% Perceiving (P) 41%
“Creating order out of chaos” is one extroverted thinker’s way of describing her volition. Determined, logical, critical, they love a challenge, especially one that will allow tangible improvement in productivity, efficiency or profitability. They are direct, finding the quickest, most direct path between what is and what should be.
They excel at implementing ideas and are often on the lookout for good ideas worthy of their attention. They are quick to organize, orchestrate, find resources, coordinate, and follow through to the end of a project. They love a problem, especially one that will make full use of their competencies, their logic and sense of order, justice and fair play.
Many find competition to be stimulating and fun. “These are the rules of the game now let us play.” Fairness is sharing and respecting the same set of rules, so may the best one win. And since they readily acknowledge that there will be a winner and a loser, they would simply much rather be the winner. So they hone their strategies on the fine knife of experience and sharpen their skills to meet the next challenge head on.
They love having greater challenges bestowed on them as a result of having successfully met the last, as this attests to their competence and skills. They appear dispassionate because of their impersonal and objective approach, but close observation will reveal deep passion and enthusiasm as well as sensitivity, especially to cherished ones. However they expect others to roll up their sleeves as they do and meet the task in spite of personal hardships or discomfort.
They have little tolerance for personal whims that threaten a smooth running operation. They are direct and honest with most things that displease them and expect others to do the same. Their humanity shows in their sense of fairness and justice as well as their love of humour.
As an ENTJ, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you deal with things rationally and logically. Your secondary mode is internal, where you take things in primarily via your intuition.
ENTJs are natural born leaders. They live in a world of possibilities where they see all sorts challenges to be surmounted, and they want to be the ones responsible for surmounting them. They have a drive for leadership, which is well-served by their quickness to grasp complexities, their ability to absorb a large amount of impersonal information, and their quick and decisive judgments. They are “take charge” people.
ENTJs are very career-focused, and fit into the corporate world quite naturally. They are constantly scanning their environment for potential problems which they can turn into solutions. They generally see things from a long-range perspective, and are usually successful at identifying plans to turn problems around – especially problems of a corporate nature. ENTJs are usually successful in the business world, because they are so driven to leadership. They’re tireless in their efforts on the job, and driven to visualize where an organization is headed. For these reasons, they are natural corporate leaders.
There is not much room for error in the world of the ENTJ. They dislike to see mistakes repeated, and have no patience with inefficiency. They may become quite harsh when their patience is tried in these respects, because they are not naturally tuned in to people’s feelings, and more than likely don’t believe that they should tailor their judgments in consideration for people’s feelings. ENTJs, like many types, have difficulty seeing things from outside their own perspective. Unlike other types, ENTJs naturally have little patience with people who do not see things the same way as the ENTJ. The ENTJ needs to consciously work on recognizing the value of other people’s opinions, as well as the value of being sensitive towards people’s feelings. In the absence of this awareness, the ENTJ will be a forceful, intimidating and overbearing individual. This may be a real problem for the ENTJ, who may be deprived of important information and collaboration from others. In their personal world, it can make some ENTJs overbearing as spouses or parents.
The ENTJ has a tremendous amount of personal power and presence which will work for them as a force towards achieving their goals. However, this personal power is also an agent of alienation and self-aggrandizement, which the ENTJ would do well to avoid.
ENTJs are very forceful, decisive individuals. They make decisions quickly, and are quick to verbalize their opinions and decisions to the rest of the world. The ENTJ who has not developed their Intuition will make decisions too hastily, without understanding all of the issues and possible solutions. On the other hand, an ENTJ who has not developed their Thinking side will have difficulty applying logic to their insights, and will often make poor decisions. In that case, they may have brilliant ideas and insight into situations, but they may have little skill at determining how to act upon their understanding, or their actions may be inconsistent. An ENTJ who has developed in a generally less than ideal way may become dictatorial and abrasive – intrusively giving orders and direction without a sound reason for doing so, and without consideration for the people involved.
Although ENTJs are not naturally tuned into other people’s feelings, these individuals frequently have very strong sentimental streaks. Often these sentiments are very powerful to the ENTJ, although they will likely hide it from general knowledge, believing the feelings to be a weakness. Because the world of feelings and values is not where the ENTJ naturally functions, they may sometimes make value judgments and hold onto submerged emotions which are ill-founded and inappropriate, and will cause them problems – sometimes rather serious problems.
ENTJs love to interact with people. As Extroverts, they’re energized and stimulated primarily externally. There’s nothing more enjoyable and satisfying to the ENTJ than having a lively, challenging conversation. They especially respect people who are able to stand up to the ENTJ, and argue persuasively for their point of view. There aren’t too many people who will do so, however, because the ENTJ is a very forceful and dynamic presence who has a tremendous amount of self-confidence and excellent verbal communication skills. Even the most confident individuals may experience moments of self-doubt when debating a point with an ENTJ.
ENTJs want their home to be beautiful, well-furnished, and efficiently run. They’re likely to place much emphasis on their children being well-educated and structured, to desire a congenial and devoted relationship with their spouse. At home, the ENTJ needs to be in charge as much as he or she does in their career. The ENTJ is likely best paired with someone who has a strong self-image, who is also a Thinking type. Because the ENTJ is primarily focused on their careers, some ENTJs have a problem with being constantly absent from home, physically or mentally.
The ENTJ has many gifts which make it possible for them to have a great deal of personal power, if they don’t forget to remain balanced in their lives. The are assertive, innovative, long-range thinkers with an excellent ability to translate theories and possibilities into solid plans of action. They are usually tremendously forceful personalities, and have the tools to accomplish whatever goals they set out for.
Fieldmarshals are introspective, pragmatic, directive, and expressive. They are highly skilled in situational organizing and marshalling. Their ability to do contingency planning is a close second to their ability to do structural engineering. As their organizing and coordinating skills are highly developed, Fieldmarshals excel at marshalling evidence, systemizing, generalizing, summarizing and prioritizing. Their ability to do structural or functional analysis is likely to be underdeveloped by comparison so they may need to turn to an Architect or an Inventor for this type of input.
Fieldmarshals have a strong desire to give structure and direction to groups of people. Of all the role variants, fieldmarshals are the most likely to see where an organization is going and they have the desire to communicate that vision to others. Thus they are more directive in their social exchanges than they are informative. Fieldmarshals often rise to positions of responsibility in work as they are devoted to their jobs and are excellent administrators. Fieldmarshals enjoy being executives.
Fieldmarshals search more for goals and policy than they do for procedures and regulations. They strive to make their organization more efficient by reducing red tape, task redundancy and confusion in the work place. Fieldmarshals base their decisions on well thought-out plans, impersonal data and engineered operations. They expect others to follow their vision and they are willing to remove employees who are being counterproductive. For Fieldmarshals, there must be a goal-directed reason for doing any actions. People’s feelings are usually not sufficient reasons.
Fieldmarshals are impatient with the repetition of error, ineffectiveness and inefficiency. If an established procedure can be demonstrated to be ineffective at accomplishing a certain goal, they will abandon the procedure. Fieldmarshals keep long-term and short-term objectives in mind while striving to turn their organizations into smooth-functioning systems.
Fieldmarshals make up only 2% of the population.
I have to say, these descriptions are pretty spot-on. I even read all the other 16 types just to see if they were “more lilke” my subjective opinion of myself. But this ones does the best.
I have spent the last few weeks “embracing” these qualities rather than fight them. I accept that I expect exactness and efficiency from myself and others. It is quite liberating to try this exercise.
Another controversy is compatibility — can these test reliably predict compatibility with other types? The short answer: no. The fun answer: try this test.