How does the ENTJ personality fit into the Big Five personality traits?
Reading time: 5 minutes
In personality studies, scientific researchers often use a trait-based approach to describing the differences between people instead of using personality types. The most well-established method is the Big Five, which describes differences along five broad dimensions:
No two ENTJs will have exactly the same underlying personality traits, as personality types tend to be a large oversimplification of an individual’s personality. But we can where ENTJs generally fall on important traits, and these group patterns can clarify why certain types are known for specific kinds of behaviors or ways of thinking.
The graph below shows how ENTJs are distributed along each Big Five dimension. Every blue dot is an individual ENTJ, and the darker blue areas show the areas where more ENTJs tend to fall.
One common pattern in ENTJs is high conscientiousness — ENTJs are usually organized, systematic, and follow a regular routine. This matches what we see in the graph above on the Conscientiousness dimension. Most ENTJs sit at the high end of the Conscientiousness dimension, with very few falling near the average and almost none falling below average.
Taking a similar approach to all Big Five dimensions, we can summarize the patterns of the ENTJ along these traits, and then use existing research on the Big Five to see how these patterns are related to several areas of life, like career interests, relationship styles, and daily habits.
This kind of analysis is useful for understanding a large group, like ENTJs. But to better understand a single individual, there’s really no need to use a personality type if you can directly measure one’s underlying personality traits. Fortunately, you can easily get such measurements with personality assessments here at TraitLab.
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Most ENTJs are higher on Openness to Experience.
People who are highly open to experience, like many ENTJs, often crave intellectual stimulation and engagement, and they tend to seek out new experiences to satisfy this need. They usually place high value on learning new things or about varying perspectives on a topic. In a group, ENTJs will often be the ones to turn the conversation towards more philosophical, abstract, or “big picture” questions.
ENTJs, like other highly open people, usually appreciate the new, offbeat, unconventional ways of doing things compared to the more traditional and conventional ways. They find opportunities to challenge their own understanding and perspectives, and may enjoy getting lost in an interesting book or a moving piece of art.
Most ENTJs are at the high end of Conscientiousness.
Out of all of the 16 personality types, ENTJs are consistently the most conscientious. Conscientiousness describes our tendency to be highly organized and systematic in our approach to goals, and our discipline in sticking to those plans to achieve them.
ENTJs are likely to set explicit goals in many areas of their lives — work, fitness, diet, relationships, and so on. They enjoy making detailed plans to accomplish these goals over time, and they often show tremendous self-discipline in their quests to accomplish these goals.
Highly conscientious people, like most ENTJs, often keep tidy spaces, too. It’s not unusual for an ENTJ to have extremely organized desks, rooms, and other personal areas.
Lastly, most ENTJs will be very punctual and rarely late. Sticking to a regular routine is often a key component of ENTJs’ highly systematic habits.
ENTJs are usually more extraverted, but a few exceptions are on the more introverted side.
Most ENTJs score above average on Big Five Extraversion, which describes our enthusiasm, expressiveness, assertiveness, and positive emotionality.
More extraverted people, like many ENTJs, are generally more enthusiastic and gravitate to highly stimulating experiences and environments. They generally prefer adventurous, fun, and exciting situations over subdued, calm, and peaceful settings.
This need for stimulation carries over to the social world, too, as ENTJs and other extraverts often become highly engaged in social situations. They don’t mind a crowd, and will usually talk, laugh, and interact with more people and greater intensity than their introverted counterparts.
ENTJs show very little consistency in their level of Agreeableness.
As a group, ENTJs are highly varied in Agreeableness, with some ENTJs falling at the very low end, a few falling near the higher end, and the rest spread out across the spectrum. In effect, simply knowing that someone is an ENTJ tells you almost nothing about their level of Agreeableness. Some ENTJs are highly disagreeable, some are more agreeable, and most are somewhere in between.
Agreeableness describes our balance between maintaining warm, friendly, and positive social relationships with others, versus a need to prioritize our own needs and goals over those of others. Highly agreeable people are empathetic, trusting, and altruistic, and often try to minimize conflicts and maintain social harmony. Highly disagreeable people are more demanding, cynical, and distrustful, and are more likely to pursue their own goals and needs, even if it disrupts their relationships with others.
If you think you might be an ENTJ and are curious about how agreeable you actually are, remember that the free personality test here at TraitLab measures all five Big Five dimensions, including Agreeableness.
While ENTJs also vary in their level of Neuroticism, most ENTJs fall on the lower, more emotionally stable end of the Neuroticism spectrum.
Neuroticism describes how we react to stress and our tendency to experience a variety of negative emotions. As most ENTJs are less neurotic or emotionally stable, they tend to have steadier, more predictable moods, and can more easily adapt to life’s sudden changes and disruptions.
Less neurotic people, like most ENTJs, generally experience less anxiety, anger, frustration, and sadness. They still experience these negative emotions, but less frequently and with less intensity than their more neurotic counterparts. Likewise, they tend to ruminate less on bad experiences and are less likely to doubt and second-guess themselves, resulting in a calmer, more confident style of thinking through problems and decision-making.