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If the Myers-Briggs personality test shows that you’re an ESTJ, it means you’re the “executive” or the “director.” But if the test shows you’re an ENTJ, you’re more of a “commander” or “general.” These titles have similar traits, but many differences separate them too.
So, what are the most prominent distinctions in an ESTJ vs. ENTJ matchup? First, we must look at how they express emotions and resolve conflicts to find the correct answers.
What Is the ESTJ Personality Type?
Your social media bio might list “I’m a Myers-Briggs ESTJ,” but not everyone will know what that means. So let’s break it down.
ESTJ stands for:
ESTJs are about order, deep thinking, valuing honesty and dignity, and leading by example.
Because they are all about managing chaos, tradition, systemic solutions, and methodology, it’s not unusual to find ESTJs in leadership positions. For example, Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and James Monroe were ESTJs.
Your average ESTJ is likely the model citizen you know in your life. They’re the ones who will never miss an opportunity to help out a neighbor or start a fundraiser for the local school.
Their biggest strengths include a strong will, assertiveness, dedication, patience, and loyalty. However, they have a few weaknesses too. Those include inflexibility, overfocusing on social status, and discomfort in unconventional situations.
What Is the ENTJ Personality Type?
Before we get into where ESTJ vs. ENTJ diverges, we must summarize the most critical facts about ENTJs. The acronym ENTJ stands for:
The quintessential ENTJ is decisive, values momentum, and strives for personal accomplishments. People like Steve Jobs, Margaret Thatcher, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Napoleon Bonaparte were ENJTs, and they have all significantly impacted the world.
Charisma, confidence, and rationality are at the forefront of the ENTJ personality type, which makes ENTJs rare and valuable.
They have the drive and focus on getting things done and delegate the work properly. If you are an ENTJ or have one in your life, then you know this type loves challenges and strategic planning.
Core strengths also include efficiency and iron will. Conversely, the known weaknesses usually include impatience, arrogance, intolerance, and cold demeanor.
What Do ESTJ and ENTJ Personalities Have in Common?
Both ESTJ and ENTJ are extroverts. They easily socialize and do extraordinarily well with large groups of people. In addition, their outspoken nature allows them to develop an impressive social network.
They’re also assertive and self-confident, meaning they don’t have a problem asking what they want or need. Other positive traits they share are honesty and trustworthiness.
Many people see these personality types as reliable leaders and want to believe in their abilities. But, of course, they are known for their ambition, powerful self-motivation, and ability to find the smallest loopholes in problem-solving.
But they also have a few negative traits in common. For example, they can be stubborn, emotionally inexpressive, and overly rigid.
Furthermore, they tend to stress out in unconventional situations and struggle with the fear of missing out (FOMO). However, the closest bond between ESTJ and ENTJ is that they are both deep rational thinkers.
6 Differences Between the ESTJ and ENTJ Personality
The ESTJ vs. ENTJ debate requires a closer look at each personality type. Indeed, both types significantly overlap characteristics, and the differences are more nuanced.
That’s why we’ll focus on the areas where you can see where the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of ESTJ and ENTJ take different shapes and may take different directions.
ESTJs comprise approximately 9-12% of the population, which means they are relatively common. Considering there are 16 personality types, this is above the expected average. This personality type is more prominent than 10-12 others, depending on research and statistical sampling sizes.
On the other hand, ENTJs are among the rarest of all Myers-Briggs personality types, making up only 1.8% of the general population (figures may vary depending on sources). Some statistics place them as the least prominent, while others put them above INFJ or ENFJ.
2. Source of Happiness
What makes one person happy might devastate another. So while both types are pretty driven and love to lead, their primary source of happiness differs. ESTJs feel happy when everything is in its rightful place and order surrounds them.
They sincerely appreciate tradition and measure their success by matching it with their traditional values.
An ESTJ loves their work but will make time for hobbies and other people. Any disorder makes them deeply unhappy, and they can struggle to accept change.
An ENTJ will rejoice in overcoming a seemingly impossible challenge. They’re the people that never give up and keep trying to find new solutions to a problem.
Once they win, they’re ready for the new challenge. Unlike ESTJs, they’re not prone to hobbies or other non-work-related activities. As a result, achieving a balance between work and personal life is more difficult for them. They’re incredibly competitive and like to always stay in control.
Everyone makes decisions throughout every day of their life. Some of them are automatic, but others lead to more significant consequences. Introverts struggle with decision-making, but ESTJ and ENTJ do not. However, that doesn’t mean they take the same approach in this area.
The ESTJs don’t hesitate to make hard decisions. Often, they’ll spend a lot of time researching additional information about a specific problem and look inward to draw from personal experience.
They usually choose the most pragmatic and less abstract solution and don’t lean towards the out-of-the-box approach. Instead, they’re likely to take several steps, going from one logical point to the next. Finally, they will consider the opinions of a selected few.
On the other hand, ENTJs fully thrive on having the power to make decisions. They enjoy making unilateral choices and putting the decision-making burden on themselves.
Naturally, this quality can quickly transform into authoritarianism, so taking the time to slow down and consider others is vital. While ESTJs are more practical and make steady and strategic decisions, the “N” in ENTJ forces them to focus on the big picture matters instead.
4. Interpersonal Skills
The ESTJ and ENTJ personality types have different motivations when it comes to relationships, both personal and business. The ESTJ likes to take charge but enjoys playfulness, and their traditionalism often displays a caring side to them.
They’re usually tough people, but they strive to be loyal and help their friends and family. One of the biggest challenges of the ESTJ personality type is their desire to only deal with people in their social status and may display a lack of empathy for those outside their social circle.
The ENTJ type may seem overly business-minded even to have any friends. Of course, that’s true for some, as they can sometimes be pretty intimidating and strict. However, unlike ESTJs, they are less rigid about socializing outside their social status.
In fact, their intellectual curiosity will have them reach many different people. Therefore, they welcome meaningful conversations, even though they might heavily criticize your point of view.
The ENTJs are blunt, which doesn’t make them everyone’s favorite. But once they consider you their friend, ENTJs are one of the most loyal types to have in your life.
5. Expressing Emotions
We touched on emotions when going over interpersonal skills, but this area deserves its category. It’s impossible to tackle the ESTJ vs. ENTJ discussion without examining how they deal with emotions.
While ESTJs are direct and pretty open, they don’t get into the nitty-gritty parts of emotional life. Instead, they’ll “speak” feelings through data and facts and offer sensible and logical solutions to problems that demand listening and presence.
They may display impatience towards people who are overly emotional and even irrational. Of course, one could interpret this as a lack of emotional intelligence, but it mainly stems from their inability to understand that not everyone thinks like them.
The ENTJs take the lack of understanding of other people’s emotions to another level. As a result, they can appear overbearing, rude, and inconsiderate of other people’s emotions.
While ESTJs might try to bring you towards their point of view, ENTJs won’t even bother. That’s why an ENTJ who wants a leadership position or more profound relationships with other people needs to put extensive work into developing empathy.
6. Conflict Resolution
Both ESTJ and ENTJ types accept conflict as part of life, another dissimilarity from most introverted types. The ESTJ type view conflict as a means to an end.
They can relentlessly argue their point of view, especially about making concrete plans and finding the fastest way to move things forward. However, typically, their focus is on closure, regardless of what it takes them to get there.
Also, it’s not uncommon for them to avoid being rude and keep to the facts, but their directness may upset others. Usually, unless someone points it out to them, ESTJs won’t even know the other person is offended by their actions.
Again, the ENTJ type goes further and might enjoy conflict. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to find a resolution, but that they love a good argument. But ENTJs don’t bring personal matters into a work-related conflict, nor will they rely on fallacies to “win a fight.”
Still, an argument with them can lead to hurt feelings. But an ENTJ Is likely utterly impervious to this. Fortunately, that also means they don’t stay angry at a person and tend to move on from it.
Final Thoughts on the ESTJ and ENTJ Personalities
The ESTJ vs. ENTJ comparison is not about choosing a “winner.” Every personality type has its unique qualities and feels vulnerable in different ways. For the ESTJs, keeping their life in order and their emotions composed is fundamental.
They enjoy leading and connecting with their community, but they’re not the person you call during a breakup.
The ENTJs are fearless and fantastic to have in an emergency. But their authoritarian attitude can be a real hindrance in personal relationships.
If you want to learn more about 16 personality types, read this article. The article will direct you to a reliable online testing tool if you don’t know your type.
Finally, if you want to identify YOUR personality type, then take one of these 11 personality tests to better understand what makes you tick.