MBTI Likeability Index Series: ENTP

By Jack Speer | September 17, 2014

This article is the latest in the MBTI Likeability Index series, which explores who naturally likes whom, and why. To find out which types or more likely to like you and those whom you may conflict, click here: http://www.delta-associates.com/mbti-likeability-index-types-naturally-like-dont/

ENTP: The Renaissance Personality Type

When Steve Jobs walked out on the state at the Macworld Convention on January 9, 2007 and announced the introduction of the iPhone, he became one of the few people who have fundamentally changed the way that the human race operates.

Steve Jobs, an ENTP, was a renaissance man who changed the world. ENTP’s are into more interests, and innovations, and industries than any other personality type. Their talents and abilities span more professions than any other type. In my own life and career as a business owner, entrepreneur and non-profit leader, there has never been a moment in my life when I have not been surrounded by ENTP’s who are key players in making my world work.

The new iPhone handheld device Steve Jobs masterminded with his team made the majority of human knowledge available literally in the palm of your hand. It provided more calculation power that NASA had in early space launches. The iPhone changed the posture of the human from outwardly scanning his environment to drawing their primary view of life as it unfolds from a tiny screen. Newly-created apps brought you the news, kept track of the weather and your weight, and linked you with people across the globe who share your interests.

The ENTP – Observational Marvels

ENTP’s have powerful observational abilities due to their Extroverted iNtuition, which, like a guided laser beam that enables them to immediately explore and understand complex technical systems with ease. Simply by opening a technical device, they can often know how its components work and with their inwardly-directed thinking (Introverted Thinking) they can see ways to both improve or repair it. They often have a keen sense of design, as Steve Jobs did, and can make things easier to operate or use.

The ENTP and the Likeability Index

The ENTP stirs up a variety of strong reactions from people in different parts of their lives that:
  • Admire and like ENTP’s,
  • Viscerally dislike them, and
  • Those who both like and loathe the ENTP at the same time.
View the rest of the Likeability Index Series:
MBTI Likeability Index Overview

Who’s “Winning” this Conversation?

ENTP’s most often see conversation as a competitive sport, or in extreme cases, as a war to be won. At times, simple conversations with an ENTP colleague, friend, or love relationship can turn from pleasant to painful. For ENTP’s, a seemingly simple conversation that may have little consequence to the person they are talking to can be as competitive to them as a world championship – and sometimes as the next world war.
The ENTP often takes conversation as a zero sum game – you either lose or you win, and the ENTP is most often determined to win. They often give no quarter to the person with whom they are discussing a point, and will rarely verbally accede any point to the other person. What may seem to the ENTP to be a simple declaration of logic can seem to the person they are talking to as rude, condescending, and artless. The ENTP is often the most likely person to have someone to say about them, “I don’t discuss anything serious with him/her, because they can’t discuss a subject with civility.”

Extremely Versatile in a Wide Variety of Fields

ENTP’S show up in wildly different professions that require very dissimilar skill sets.
High Tech/Technical – ENTP’s have a disproportionate ability to excel as programmers, engineers, and scientists. They can effortlessly understand and explain complex interrelationships, how both hardware and software functions, and can be ingenious at applications.

  • The Law. ENTP’s are one of the most verbal types. They are quick to dissect complex issues and arguments and can be extremely verbal. They excel in law, especially in the field of litigation. They most often understand both sides of an argument and can make a good case for any point of view that can be successfully supported. They can, and do, change sides when the other seems more interesting.
  • The Media. Perhaps rising from the fact that ENTP’s are extremely verbal, television media is most often dominated by the ENTP, and a great many pundits and talk show hosts are ENTP’s. Although they can be competitive to the point of brutal as journalists, the ENTP can exude a charm that few others can.
  • Actors. ENTP’s, with powerful verbal skills, often excel at theater arts. Because of their ability to see people and circumstances from a wide range, they can successfully play many different roles.
  • Entrepreneurs. Cutting across many professions, the agility and risk-willingness of the ENTP can make them great entrepreneurs, willing to take on new ventures.

They May Lack the Inward Perspective of Seeing Themselves

ENTP’s are focused on systems and events outside of themselves that they understand very well because of their Extroverted iNtuition, but may be the least self-aware of all of the personality types. They are able to analyze themselves and those around them, but that keen ability to analyze may not reach a deep understanding of themselves and others. People close to the ENTP, who should be to whom they turn to and confide in, rarely get a true picture of what is actually happening inwardly to the ENTP, because of the ENTP’s inability to explain themselves to themselves. Because of this, the ENTP can feel isolated from others, are often subject to periodic personal depression.

Faith and Spirituality

ENTP’s may be the least inclined of all of the personality types to buy into collective or personal manifestations of faith. They are externally focused on a concrete reality that makes sense to them and that they understand. That which they do not understand or can’t see is, to a large extent, non-existent to the ENTP. Their guiding principle is: “If I can see it and describe it, I can believe and know it. What cannot be seen is unimportant or most probably an illusion.”

They are at most ambivalent to matters of faith and spirituality. Steve Jobs read many books on Buddhism, yet his primary interest were the mechanics of meditation. He remarked that sometimes he thought there was a Power and Mind behind it all – and sometimes he thought there was nothing at all.

Professional Dangers

Some of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time have been ENTP’s. Henry Ford, who was probably an ENTP, promoted his automobiles more through high-profile races than in his offices and manufacturing operations. Yet because the ENTP is a natural risk taker, he can fall from great heights. ENTP’s can be some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the type table, but because their iNtuition is constantly seeking new information, they can be invested in too many places. In implementation meetings for an advanced project, the ENTP can blow up the sense of direction with a barrage of ideas that seem to come out of nowhere. The ENTP’s belief in their ability to be right can squash the efforts of groups.

ENTP’s and Relationships

Relationships with ENTP’s can be a wild ride to the change-averse:

  • They can leave the ISTJ and ESTJ shaking their heads at the mad charge of the ENTP into uncharted waters, without experience to data to guide their direction.
  • They can be highly offensive to the INTJ and ENTJ for their lack of need to have a model or architecture to guide their actions.
  • They can offend the ENFJ, ENFP, and the other NF’s because their conversations seem to display a total lack of caring for the way their words (even when true) wound those around them.

ENTP’S are loving people who provide well for their families, and many times express their love through what they do for them in terms of keeping things working well and providing for a good future or those they love and are committed to. ENTP’s are most often loyal people to those who matter most to them. ENTP’s are also most often known for being fast-paced, change-oriented people with pivots in direction being the norm. ENTP’s will most often flourish in relationships with people who “get them,” who respect and understand their genius as well as their communication pattern.

Steve Jobs’ classification as an ENTP is based on the professional reading, observation, and analysis of personality type applications experts, Carol Kallendorf, PhD, and Jack Speer. We do not have a verified type code for Steve Jobs. In fact, based on our research we doubt that Steve Jobs would have ever taken this assessment (which makes us believe more strongly that he was in fact an ENTP).
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