When does an ESTP look like an ENTJ? When does an ENTJ look like an ESTP?


The Fine Art of Clarifying Type by Dr. Linda V. Berens


These two types can often look very much like each other.

Same Interaction Style. What makes them look so much alike is the In-Charge™ Interaction Style. Both of these types want to get things accomplished and get that achievable result as quickly as possible. They have a fundamental belief that it is worth the risk to go ahead and decide and trust they can take care of anything that comes up. They tend to make quick decisions. For them, there is no such thing as a wrong decision, just one that didn't work. Both tend to be very Directing in their communications and Initiating in the roles they take with others.

Different temperaments, but much in common. ESTP is a variation of the Improviser™ pattern and ENTJ is a variation of the Theorist™ pattern. Improvisers have a core need for having the freedom to choose the next thing they are going to do with a drive to action and to make an impact, whereas Theorist™ have a core need for mastery, self-control, knowledge and competence.

The Theorist™ need for competence also resonates with the ESTP. However, for the ENTJ, being competent ahead of doing something is crucial and they will want to understand something completely before they go ahead and act. The ESTP, on the other hand, will be more likely to quickly grasp the essence of something and then go ahead and take action, gaining competence as they go. When hearing descriptors, they may interpret competence in terms of their love of skillful performance.

Roles: Both temperaments have a preference for taking Pragmatic Roles so the freedom to choose the next action resonates to both types, as autonomy is the hallmark of pragmatic role taking. Pragmatism means doing what ever it takes to reach a goal, often ignoring rules or social norms. For the ENTJ, that freedom is around devising and getting others to follow a strategy. For the ESTP, that freedom is more often about the necessary tactical actions to get something accomplished.

Language: The temperament differences come in noticing their use of language, with the ESTP more likely to use language that describes things tangibly and the ENTJ language describes things conceptually.

Interest: Also note that ESTPs easily tune in to other's motives and ENTJs are much more interested in structure than motive.

Cognitive Dynamic Differences

The cognitive dynamic pattern for ENTJ is Te, Ni, Se, Fi, with extraverted Sensing as relief role (tertiary) process and they often engage in quickly reading the external environment and are drawn to act on and shape that environment. This can easily look Improviser™ as they respond and adapt to what is going on, especially enjoying some of the more exciting Se activities. The ESTP pattern is Se, Ti, Fe, Ni; with Ni as the aspirational role (inferior) process. This can make them quite tuned into future payoffs and quite optimistic about what will happen in the future. They often get a sense of what is just around the corner and then want to seize the opportunities.


Linda Berens Professional Bio

Linda V. Berens, Ph.D. is a human and organizational development practitioner who has spent over twenty-five years teaching professionals as well as helping individuals and teams recognize their strengths, transcend their weaknesses, and work together better. After founding Interstrength® Associates (formerly known as Temperament Research Institute), a corporate consulting and training organization, she has turned her attention to developing a more complete and integrated look at individual differences through Integral TypeWorks, LLC. Linda is recognized internationally for her theoretical contributions to the field of psychological type and for developing user-friendly training materials for practical application of understanding individual differences.She is the author or co-author of multiple books and training materials.

In Detail-Coach, Organizational Consultant, Educator, Author

I founded Temperament Research Institute or TRI in 1988 to provide a source for solid information about individual differences. In 2005, TRI was renamed to Interstrength Associates and it was the premier source for research, education, applications and training support for the understanding of individual differences and change facilitation using applications of Temperament Theory, Jung's theory of psychological types and the Berens Interaction Styles Model. Interstrength Associates became internationally recognized as a provider of exceptional Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® Qualifying Programs as well as training in advanced applications of the works of Carl Jung, Isabel Myers, and David Keirsey.

As President of Interstrength Associates, I made it my goal to attract training, coaching, and organizational development professionals who are experts in their own fields such as leadership, teams, communication, training, coaching, counseling, and creativity to become faculty for Interstrength Associates and to develop applications of the study of individual differences to those fields.

Licensed in California as a Marriage, Family and Child Therapist (currently inactive status) and an Educational Psychologist I have worked with the theory of personality types since 1975. Over the last 15 years, I conducted extensive qualitative research into the characteristics of the sixteen personality types and the four temperaments. As a result of this research, I integrated the work of Carl Jung, David Keirsey and a theory of living systems into a methodology for helping people understand themselves and others, placing myself and my associates on the leading edge of work in this field. In my most recent work I refined the popular social styles theory to see patterns of interaction styles. This recent addition places me as a leading contributor to the study of individual differences.

I have conducted thousands of training programs in this theory and its applications to counseling, education, career development and organizational development. I qualified (now called Certified) over 2500 people to purchase the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® assessment and am frequently called upon to be the consultant's consultant. I have trained and consulted with professionals in a wide range of companies.

I am the author or co-author of multiple books and training materials, including the groundbreaking, web-based self-discovery workshop-Interstrength® Explorer Series and several books.


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