How to tell the Difference: ENTJ vs INTJ

How to tell the Difference: ENTJ vs INTJ

INTJs and ENTJs share all of the same Jungian Cognitive functions, which automatically lends to them looking quite similar. However, because of variations in function hierarchy, they are also vastly different. Let’s take a look at that, shall we?

Extraverted Thinking (Te)

The first trait to look for in an xNTJ is the Extraverted Thinking function (Te). The ENTJ uses this function in the dominant Jungian setting, while the INTJ uses it as an auxiliary function.

INTJ → Ni-Te-Fi-Se      |  ||  |      ENTJ → Te-Ni-Se-Fi

Task Orientation

Extraverted thinking as an upper function typically expresses itself through task oriented behaviour, and because the Te function is more dominant in the ENTJ than the INTJ, the former will be more immediately task oriented than the latter.

ENTJs often prefer a life of busyness, scheduled out hour by hour with work, projects, school or whatever activities are present in his or her life. Often, ENTJs are the people you meet in school who are doing everything. They can’t come tonight because they’ve already got something scheduled.

INTJs on the other hand, don’t always want their life to be scheduled strictly, and INTJs are well known as school-haters for this very reason. They are efficient in completing tasks, but often, those tasks are done without other people, and thus, don’t require a schedule. INTJs frequently view work/school/social scheduling as a restriction on their free time, which they usually feel to be more productive than publicly scheduled time.

It’s not uncommon for ENTJs to become impatient with inefficiency, or the inability of others to complete tasks now, rather than later. To the ENTJ, quality is important, but not quite as important as getting the job done. Usually, ENTJs will talk verbally about what they plan to do before they do it. If you’re helping them with a task, they’re probably going to have a specific way that they want you to do it (usually the most efficient way), and as a result, you’ll see the entire plan as they’re thinking it out.

INTJs tend to be more patient with tasks, valuing quality before efficiency. They tend to see tasks on a more long-term timeframe, while ENTJs look at it and say, “just get it done.” INTJs usually have an extensive plan for most things that they do, but won’t mention those plans out loud because the innovation happens in their head (using the dominant Introverted Intuition function), before it is carried out with swift Te action. All you see of the INTJ’s plan is the result.

Direct Communication

Both INTJs and ENTJ communicate in a direct fashion.

How to tell the Difference: ENTJ vs INTJ

Typically, ENTJs are more outspoken, and potentially more blunt. They will be extremely fluent in getting their points across in clear, understandable terms. Because their Te precedes their Ni, ENTJs won’t always think before they speak, which can be both a strength and a weakness depending on the situation. In environments that require quick responses, ENTJs have the upper hand. However, they’re often prone to saying things that they later regret.

INTJs are better at thinking before speaking, but often to such an extent that by the time they’ve thought out what they want to say, the conversation has moved on and it’s too late (this rarely, if ever, happens to ENTJs). There are times when INTJs don’t think before speaking, but only when they’ve made a jump down to using their Se function.

If you ever get and ENTJ and an INTJ in a debate, the ENTJ will probably spew out the most words. Meanwhile, the INTJ might sit back and listen (appearing quite passive), only to win the debate with a single statement that defeats the ENTJ’s entire thought process up to that point. Then the ENTJ will probably deny that they’re wrong and walk away fuming (if they’re immature that is).


xNTJs are natural leaders, but both have a distinctly different style of taking charge of situations.

How to tell the Difference: ENTJ vs INTJ

ENTJs are pros at organising people and falling them to support their causes –so good in fact, that people don’t always know why they’re following the ENTJ, other than the fact that they seem confident and capable. In reality, much of the ENTJ’s power comes from their natural assertiveness. They’re often ready to step up and put ground rules in place while everyone else is standing around wondering what the heck is going on.

INTJs don’t usually enjoy leadership quite as much as ENTJs, though they are equally good at it. Generally, INTJs take an underground approach to leadership, leading from the belly of the beast while some Exxx type gets all the credit for riding the beast. This is the main reason behind the large number of fictional INTJs who work as vigilantes, allowing the cops to get credit for whatever they do.

This is Batman. This is also Sherlock. Both work relatively alone, relying on small networks of unconnected people to get them necessary tools and information. The INTJ isn’t necessarily going to want to connect all the people in their network to the other people (Sherlock has an underground network of homeless people, but does John ever interact with them? Do the police even get to see them?). The way INTJs see it, the fewer people that know they’re in charge, the better.

How to tell the Difference: ENTJ vs INTJ

ENTJs differ from INTJs in that they typically make it clear who’s sitting on the throne. Everyone in their network knows they’re part of a network and they’re aware of the other people involved. From this standpoint, the ENTJ leadership style tends to work better in the corporate world.

Introverted Intuition (Ni)

The second trait we’re going to notice in an xNTJ is their introverted intuition. INTJs use it in the dominant place, while ENTJs use it as an auxiliary function.

INTJ → Ni-Te-Fi-Se      |  ||  |      ENTJ → Te-Ni-Se-Fi


xNTJs are immensely future oriented, and often hone in on a decided career before even reaching kindergarten (not always, but commonly). They’re often able to intuitively predict how events will play out, and this makes them very good at preventing disasters. xNTJs usually have a plan for everything, and if a zombie apocalypse hits, they’re probably going to be underground before you even think to follow them.

ENTJ’s future orientation tends to focus more specifically on plans of action. They know what they will do if X happens, and they’ve mentally rehearsed it enough times that when X happens, they’ll carry out their plan on instinct rather than having to think about it.

INTJs are action oriented too, but their future orientation often extends even further than the ENTJs, far into the realm of the theoretical future.


How to tell the Difference: ENTJ vs INTJ

INTJs are the world’s natural strategists. They recognise patterns in the universe, the behaviour of others and their environment that allow them to intuitively predict future events and to plan for them. This trait, dominant Introverted Intuition (Ni), is what allows fictional INTJs to consistently be ten steps ahead of everyone else.

ENTJs are quite capable of strategizing as well, but because their Te comes before their Ni, they won’t value their visions and plans as much as they will action. The ENTJ’s primary objective is often to get the job done, and their Ni will function as a means of thinking up a strategy to accomplish that.

INTJ’s primary objective is to realise a specific vision (Ni), and Te acts to assert the actions necessary to realise that vision. The difference is subtle on paper, but in action, you will see a vast chasm of difference. The best way I can describe it is this:

ENTJ: Agenda first, analytics/morals second.

INTJ: Analytics/morals first, agenda second.

In action, this often translates to ENTJs choosing specific actions to get what they want, while INTJs will try to strategize with intellectual and rhetorical methods before jumping into action.


Ni is a problem solving function. One of it’s main strengths is rooting out potential problems and finding inconsistencies in information and patterns. This frequently leads INTJs to take a rational approach to solving problems before ever trying to prove anything with empirical evidence.

The ENTJ on the other hand, is going to want to look at the empirical evidence first, then try to figure it out rationally later.

Extraverted Sensing (Se)

Next, we’re going to take a look at how the xNTJ types perceive the world and intake information. ENTJs use tertiary Se, and INTJs use inferior.

INTJ → Ni-Te-Fi-Se      |  ||  |      ENTJ → Te-Ni-Se-Fi

Sensory Experience

If you put an INTJ and an ENTJ on a roller-coaster together, the ENTJ is more likely to enjoy it, while the INTJ might sit the whole thing out, looking around amused that everyone is screaming.

ENTJs are more likely in general, to react positively to sensory experience.

As an inferior function, Se is the INTJ’s weak point. They are commonly overstimulated by highly sensory environments, which frequently leads them to dislike loud, crowded places, or even scented shops. If anyone is going to be touch sensitive and anti-hug, it’s your INTJ friend.

How to tell the Difference: ENTJ vs INTJ

ENTJs tend to enjoy being spotlighted or praised for their accomplishments, while INTJs prefer to back out of the limelight (though they may want people to think highly of them). ENTJs usually enjoy being spotlighted, and are typically incredibly competitive with other people. INTJs are competitive as well, but typically more so with themselves and beating personal bests than with other people.


For the ENTJ, the Se function acts as a means of revising strategies to fit changing circumstances. This can be a strength when it comes to deadlines and or spur of the moment changes in situation, but it can also be a weakness if it means the ENTJ didn’t focus enough on perfecting details (as the INTJ would say, “a straight line may be the most efficient route between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting”).

Though they can if dire need arises, INTJ’s are often hesitant to jump into new situations, and tend to rely heavily on their strategies and plans to see them through the rough spots in life. They’re not incredibly good at improvising. Thus, BBC Sherlock’s complete lack of reaction to John’s request for best man.

Inferior Se can be a particular weakness when INTJs shut the function off entirely (due to stress).  At that point, they disconnect from the physical world entirely and start living completely inside their heads…which can be dangerous to say the least.

Introverted Feeling (Fi)

INTJs use tertiary Introverted Feeling, and ENTJs use it in the inferior place.

INTJ → Ni-Te-Fi-Se      |  ||  |      ENTJ → Te-Ni-Se-Fi


Both types will be prone to hiding their emotions, but will speak openly about their moral principles. INTJs typically form a strict, internally based moral code even before they reach maturity, while ENTJs usually take much longer to develop a moral code. ENTJs will not always consider or understand moral principles unless they are well matured.


How to tell the Difference: ENTJ vs INTJ

INTJs are usually quite in tune with their emotions and when matured, are able to understand them on a deep level. They tend to be much more introspective than ENTJs and understand the ins and outs of their emotions to a much greater depth.

As the inferior function, Fi is the ENTJ’s weak point. Inexperienced MBTI enthusiasts look at function hierarchy and think that the lower the F function, the more in control of your feelings you must be. This isn’t necessarily the case.

Even an immature INTJ will usually be able to pin-point exact details about their emotions, motivations and inner life. In contrast, younger ENTJs don’t really think about their emotions. They simply react to them.

ENTJs are often less in control of their emotions than INTJs simply because it’s their least developed function. Their emotional fuse is shorter than the INTJ’s, and when it snaps, it’s obvious to everyone. INTJ’s emotional fuses are usually a bit more secretive.

ENTJs don’t always see a need to understand their inner-self, though they usually want their emotions to be taken seriously by others. INTJs don’t often care whether others take their emotions seriously or not.

29 thoughts on “How to tell the Difference: ENTJ vs INTJ

  1. LOL. Being an INTJ, you perfectly described my relationship with my ENTJ friend: “If you ever get and ENTJ and an INTJ in a debate, the ENTJ will probably spew out the most words. Meanwhile, the INTJ might sit back and listen (appearing quite passive), only to win the debate with a single statement that defeats the ENTJ’s entire thought process up to that point. Then the ENTJ will probably deny that they’re wrong and walk away fuming (if they’re immature that is).” ENTJ’s are by far the most stubborn mbti type.


  2. I really believe my father is an ENTJ although he is what most non-mbti obsessed people would consider an introvert-shy, quiet, studious and without many friends. I know however that there is a difference between shyness and introversion and I do sense that he gets ‘buzzed’ from social interaction with people outside of the family.
    What do you think?

    My mum is an ISFJ and I’m an INFJ :) Out of curiosity, does my INFJness come out across in my writing as far as you can tell?

    If my dad is an ENTJ, it would mean I got my dominate and auxiliary functions from both my parents auxiliary functions. Although that is arguable with the whole nature vs. nurture thing. I myself don’t currently side either way with that particular debate although both defiantly play a role in our personalities generally speaking.

    I’m a very rambly person so sorry this is longer then it needs to be. I do hope you can reply but no pressure too hey! Have a nice day/night!


  3. Something I’ve noticed about EXTJs in general is that they always want to have the final say, and always think that they are right. No matter what. If you show them a gap in their logic or point out how their argument is flawed, they will just ignore those points and continue to believe that they are right. It’s so frustrating. And in some cases I can tell that they feel like I am personally attacking them when that’s not the case at all. I know Fi is their inferior but I always see it coming out. The ones I’ve known seem to lack humility to admit when they are wrong and will just go off on you without stopping to consider it. Perhaps this is just due to being underdeveloped or immature, but even ENTJs that seem very mature and whom I greatly respect tend to do this.

    Unfortunately, I’ve never known any INTJs, but I feel like they are less apt to do this. Maybe it has something to do with Te-aux vs. Te-dom. What do you think?


    • I am an ENTJ and I do not always have to have the last word, accept when I am right and then the last word should be given to me in respect for my rightness and general awesomeness. Happily I am right all the time.
      Seriously though, my dearest friend is an INTJ and she also likes the last word, she is just sneekier about it and WAY more patient me. She will fight all day about one thing, where as I get annoyed and go off to find some less difficult people to boss around. She is my friend for this reason, if I actually win an argument with her (it’s happened about twice in the last 10 years) I know I have truly won. Most people are intimidated and agree just to get me to shut the heck up. As for being overly assertive jerks, when as a child you can make most adults back down, well, it does give you a complex.


    • PS Please don’t confuse us ENTJs with just plain jerks. We seem to be but we are not, as our true motivation is to find what is correct and accomplish goals we won’t argue simply to hear ourselves talk. People sometimes use specific personality types as an excuse to be jerks, this is very hard on those of us who truly have that particular personality type. A true ENTJ will seek a reasonable solution to peacefully accomplish their specific goals. We seriously dislike people who are unwilling to reason or compromise. These inflexible people if they are hindering our master plan, we will spend hours and days finding a way to take them down. A true ENTJ will be likable if blunt, friendly if a bit quick to take charge, and open to solving problems if a little too taken up with their own ideas. A mature ENTJ will understand the value of letting people fail on order to learn and will not say I told you so, their leadership will often be so subtle you may not fully realize they are the ones in charge. They are natural leaders because the care only about smoothly arriving at their goal, show them you are a productive member of their team, tell them they need to back off so you can be productive and they will step off. If they don’t, not an ENTJ.


    • I only know one ENTJ, but he doesn’t fit these descriptions (although he would probably say that he did when he was younger). He does enjoy arguing, although I think he has developed a better sense of how far he can go than he once had. And as far as I’ve been able to observe, he doesn’t take things personally. His main flaw, so far as I’m concerned, is more that he can neglect his Ni somewhat at times because his Te wants to be right and his Se is energized by debating other people. Usually he will consider other people’s points of view after they make them, but, unlike a more mature INTJ, he doesn’t tend to look at the big picture first. According to him, he can have a temper problem at times–inferior Fi rearing its ugly head–but I’ve never seen him lose his temper. He’s refreshingly blunt about his weaknesses, more so than most mature INTJs would be (because a lot of us are uncomfortable talking about ourselves to begin with).

      Maybe he’s unusual for an ENTJ, particularly one his age. Or maybe, being INTJ, I perceive his behavior differently than someone else would. He seems to be relatively good at retaining Fe-using friends, though.


  4. Hello! First of all, congratulations for the amazing work. I’ve been studying MBTI for a while and your website definitely motived me to search for even more about the subject.
    Sorry for my English, I’m still working the “Writing” in English course. :P
    Could you make the “How to tell the Difference” about ENFP and ESFP? I’m an ENFP with a huge fascination on ESFP people. hahaha….
    I don’t now exacly why. They seem to be more proactive and interesting and sometimes they make me want to be less intuitive and contemplative. Seems to be more fun (for me, of course), be an ESFP than an ENFP.


  5. I first took MBTI at school when I was a fourth grader. Turned out I’m an INTJ. Took the test again, 23 years later and still an INTJ.

    This is a really insightful article. I’ve been researching about personalities lately because my circumstances has somehow changed from a rather private to a more public situation and I’m really getting stressed out. I usually need some time alone to recharge before “going social” again.

    I’m not really averse to socializing but I prefer to spend majority of my time on more productive pursuits.

    I am married to an ISFP… and sometimes I think it’s a total disaster. His being too emotional is getting into my nerves. He gets too affected and thinks we are already arguing when I am merely stating a point.

    One good thing though is he reminds me to slow down a bit. I’m like a jet speeding up to where I plan to go and oftentimes forget the special moments of the present. :)


    • Your comment really struck me, I am married to an emotional INFP, and I have a sister who is an ISFP.
      My ISFP sister is a lot like me when it comes to her emotions; she tends to hold them close to her, although her facial expressions give her away, etc.
      My husband emotions sometimes get on my nerves but most of the time I admire him, he encourages me to develop my emotions and allow myself to feel them.
      Even though I don’t know you personally your statements echo my own sentiments when I was in my early 20s. Biggest advice is allow yourself to develop your Fi and share that with your husband. You will be amazed at how closer the two of you can become. I know the stigmas that INTJ have is that we are cold-hearted, uncaring, unemotional, etc individuals. That is not the case as humans we do have emotions, some of us are better at hiding it then others, but we have them and they can be very useful. If you allow yourself to be affectionate, back it can actually be rewarding and you might actually like it.
      ISFP and INTJ are similar in many ways, the biggest difference comes from how we process information, both use the same functions. Check this article out on here, it’s extremely enlightening, and it might give you some insight into how your husband though process works.
      No relationship is perfect there will always be difficulties, its how we deal with the downs that make the ups that much better.


        • It’s funny as I was reading the article I did the same thing you guys did and compared my personality to relative, and I thought of the emotional aspect too! I thought of my mother and how emotional she is and how that has negatively impacted me throughout my life since I get overstimulated quite easily. I agree with so much of what you guys said, and I don’t agree with people too often lol.
          Anyway, it sounds like you guys are on a path to clarity and I encourage you to continue your growth.
          Very insightful article!


  6. Insightful, but I did think it did lean towards INTJ favoritism (which I have found to be a trend on the net). Kind of like, “the ENTJ does this very well, but wait! the INTJ is actually better because they can do the same AND is smarter in the end.” Overall, it seemed like the ENTJ traits were coming from what people assume ENTJ stereotypes to be.


    • Because all people are irrational, every single one of us will naturally bias our writing towards our own personality type even when we make every effort not to. Likewise, we will more easily spot and exaggerate perceived bias in others, while downplaying it in ourselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent, refined distinctions. I’m so glad to have stumbled upon your site. May want to explore Isaiah Berlin’s Fox and Hedgehog metaphor distinguishing how philosophers view the world, and corresponding fox-cat fables concerning strategies. Ancient Greek poet Archilochus: the fox knows many little things, but the hedgehog knows one important thing.


  8. Fantastic article going into the functions, but why did I get the feeling that the ENTJ was being portrayed as just a bossy and heedless INTJ?

    I love this site and its articles, but this one was kind of a disservice to the ENTJ when compared to the INTJ. The line where it says, “INTJ don’t enjoy leadership, but are equally good at it,” doesn’t make sense. INTJ are long-range planners because of a dominant Ni followed by a great Te. ENTJ are unparalleled commanders because of a dominant Te followed by a great Ni. Having Ni come first, gives INTJ godly planning capabilities, but lowers their capacity for leadership and real world execution in return. It’s vice versa for ENTJ. Having Te come first, gives them godly marshaling capabilities, but lowers their capacity for deep reflection and perfect planning in return.

    The INTJ’s perfect planning process is very much overhyped in this article. ENTJ have higher order Te AND Se, meaning they have vast more skill in executing and completing targets. While an ENTJ is wrapping up project 3, the INTJ would still be adjusting the pathways of project 1. Auxiliary Te does not have the same strength as dominant Te. Inferior Se does not have the same strength as tertiary Se. Save for maybe one line under the Se section, this completion dynamic wasn’t touched on at all. While an INTJ misses an opportunity, wresting with an excellent plan on how to capitalize, the ENTJ is already on it with a half baked plan, and adjusting to maximize the benefits little by little as he goes.

    INTJs are not a quieter and smarter ENTJ. They have two completely different sets of dominance and power. I feel the article failed to highlight that.

    This is not a rant. Just disappointed over the handling of the differences between ENTJ vs INTJ. As someone trying to figure which one I leaned towards, I was expecting to read a fair and balanced compare and contrast between the two types.


    • Interesting how selective you are with regards to which pieces of the article you’ve chosen to emphasise as evidence.

      There are a number of specific instances in which I’ve pointed out the lack of strength afforded by inferior Se as opposed to tertiary Se. In fact, I have a whole section on ENTJ adaptability.

      I also specifically pointed out major differences with regards to Dominant Te vs Auxiliary Te. I apologise if they weren’t the specific differences you were looking for.

      And…I don’t recall ever stating that INTJs are smarter than ENTJs.

      I may not have arranged my article in an NiTe vs TeNi bullet-point format, but the NiTe vs TeNi is there.

      To be frank, what, most of the INTJ traits you described in your comment sound as if you’ve run into some confusion between INTJ and INTP.

      As an INTJ, I get just as many projects done as my ENTJ grandfather does. It’s merely our approach that’s different. I approach my project by using efficient practices to fulfil a long-term vision, while he approaches his projects with a get-it-done attitude aiming to make the future more efficient. It’s not really fair to say that dominant Te-users are automatically going to be better leaders –some ENTJs are so rude that nobody will follow them. Others are quite tactful, so everybody wants to follow them.

      When it comes to MBTI –you cannot use “skills,” such as say, the ability to public speak, manipulate, command an army, take over the world etc. as evidence to support a certain cognitive function.

      You can however, consider how people’s thought processes change how they approach said skills. A Te user is going to approach leadership by looking primarily at efficiency, organisation and by communicating directly. A Fe user is going to approach leadership primarily through aiming for group unity, shared emotions and caring communication. This can also be applied to different function combinations and hierarchies.


      • As somebody who has tested at a very small percentage difference between “E” and “I”,(being ever so slightly more an “E”) I see where Mr. Walton is coming from.
        An Entj is most likely going to try to finish a project quickly, and spend the rest of the week enjoying company and planning their next project, while the Intj is going to take that entire week perfecting the same project. Theoretically, the overall output is the same, but the Entj will be looking for more projects at once and the Intj will have a greater attention to detail.
        I do slightly sagree with the leadership potential not quite being the same level though. I belive the Entj is quicker to change direction while still remaining task oriented.


        • Everybody seems to disagree with the leadership argument merely because they assume that leadership can only be one thing.

          In my experience, there are many different types of leadership, some of them (particularly INTJ leadership) so subtle that the people following don’t even know they’re doing it.

          An INTJ is likely to lead fewer people, in less direct ways than an ENTJ, but that doesn’t necessarily change the quality of leadership. There are ENTJs and INTJs who are terrible leaders, just like there are ENFJs who make fantastic ones.


  9. this Article is similar to comparing the Eagle and The lion traits for prey.
    the Eagle monitor long the prey and suddenly when it have no idea with 300 km/h speed plunge on it head that subtly make prey unable to protect itself (the INTJ manner)
    the Lion on the other hand monitor the prey but not so long and bravely take more risk cause to give it a little chance to fight for its life but more quick action . (the ENTJ manner)


  10. If there is any way to request a topic, I would like to request telling the difference between ISTJ and ISFJ. Thank you.



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